Spring Football Preview: FB

The LSU fullback position lacked a consistent performer in 2009, a fallout thanks in large part to the graduation of senior Quinn Johnson the year prior. Will the 2010 season bring better fortune?

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When it came to the fullback rotation, LSU head coach Les Miles had hinted prior to the season that the position would see as many names as it took to find a rhythm.

By the end of the 13-game stretch, over five different Tigers tried their hands at the spot.

This spring, sophomores Dominique Allen should lead the battle. With new faces arriving in the summer, the coming months of spring practice will be paramount for the returning fullbacks to prove their rank amongst the group.

Here is TigerSportsDigest.com’s look at each player in the race:

Dominique Allen

5’11”, 255, Sophomore

Paris, Tenn.

Last Season: One game started.

Outlook: Allen had the chance to step into the starting lineup during his freshman season, but showing up to campus at over 270 pounds put the nation’s No. 12 ranked fullback prospect behind the eight ball from the start.

When it appeared he was headed for a redshirt, Miles started Allen against Auburn. After the bye week, Miles said that Allen had stepped up his knowledge of the playbook and slimmed down in the weight room – the combination that led to the freshman seeing the field early.

Yet, walk on options in Richard Dugas and James Stampley were used for the early part of the season. By year’s end, it was converted lineman Thomas Parsons taking a majority of the snaps.

Allen is a big body, but his athleticism should lend him an advantage over the field. By the end of his senior season at Henry County High, he had piled up 4,700 yards and 80 touchdowns.

Can that sort of production translate into offensive coordinator Gary Crowton’s attack in 2010? For Allen, the battle has been on since the day he stepped onto campus, so expect the sophomore to look at the fullback spot as his to lose.

Thomas Parsons

6’5”, 295, Sophomore

Canyon Lake, Texas

Last Season: Six games played, one start.

Outlook: No. 48 certainly didn’t go missed when he was brought into the game. Parsons plays with a mean streak, and a 6-foot-5, 295-pound frame coming through the line certainly caught the eye of LSU’s opponents every time he was on the field.

After Allen started against Auburn, Parsons made his first appearance of the season in the following game. Parsons then appeared in each of the final five games, highlighted by the first start of his career, which came against Louisiana Tech.

Unlike Allen, Parsons will never pose a threat to run the ball in the LSU offense. If Allen wins the starting job this spring, it is likely a reflection of a well-polished game. If that’s the case, look for Parsons to move back to the offensive line.

James Stampley

5’10”, 240, Junior

Baker, La.

Last Season: Nine games played, one start.

Outlook: Stampley, a walk on, made big noise during his sophomore season. Thanks to the fact that no scholarship fullback was ready to take to the challenges the position presented, Miles went looking elsewhere for help. While two Tigers were converted from the line to the backfield, Stampley – who served as a squad team fullback – was a natural fit.

Over the spring and summer workouts, Miles sang Stampley’s praises – mainly the hard-hitting nature the local product brought to the field.

Turned out, Miles’ confident chatter wasn’t just talk. Stampley played in nine games last fall, including a start in the win at Georgia.

With a matured Allen and a mix of young talent coming in, the future for Stampley remains unknown. Of course, Miles was never hesitant to call No. 35 when the grinding got tough. If no fullback emerges out of the spring, Stampley might have to pick up next August where he left off last November.

Richard Dugas

6’1”, 271, Senior

Lincoln, Neb.

Last Season: Eight games played, one start.

Outlook: Dugas’ future – much like that of Parsons – is a bit cloudy. Last spring, Dugas went down with a knee injury that kept him out for all of camp. He returned for preseason preparations in the fall, where Miles raved about the converted lineman’s abilities.

Much like Stampley, Dugas got his shot right away, making appearances in the first seven games of the year. While he never notched a start, Dugas certainly tossed his name into the grab-bag approach that the staff took to the fullback spot in 2009. With the talent lining up, we aren’t certain Dugas will ever get to see action again like he did last fall.

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