Ridley on Running Backs, Offensive Line

Go inside for an interview with LSU running back Stevan Ridley.

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Carrying the load at running back…

“I’m ready to go. It’s an opportunity that I have been waiting for. I have to go in there and do my job, and my job is to go in and get the hard yardage, the three and four yards a pop. People see that and see a small run, but that’s what matters, moving the chains. That is half way to first down.

“That is my role I have to take. I have to get that tough yardage and get this running game ready to roll. At any time you could break one. This offensive line has worked hard this whole summer … I’m just excited to go out there and be able to play. It’s been a long wait for me. I’m a redshirt junior and they are finally calling on me to play.”

His role as the team’s short-yardage back…

“That’s my job. When you are on a team you have to know your role, and that’s my role. If I go in there on third and short and I’m less than 50-percent on converting third downs, then I’m pretty upset with myself. I have high goals. When they call and need that third-and-two or third-and-three, I want to be able to get that no doubt. They shouldn’t have to doubt throwing me in that game.

“I can’t say that I am going to be perfect, but I know I’ve been working hard and this offensive line has been working hard. I’m just going out there and giving it all I can, and when you do that then the outcome is going to be great.”

Who will start at running back against UNC…

“I am ready to find out myself. I’m preparing as if I was the starter, that’s the only thing I can do. I really don’t know. I wish I could tell you. It’s almost like Christmas Day for me.”

How players find out they are starting…

“Seeing this will be my first time in the situation, I can’t tell you. They are going to throw us out there. 34 or 18, whoever they call will go out there and get the start. I hope it’s me, but if it’s not it’s no big deal. I am going to do my job on this team, and that’s part of knowing your role.”

The strength of the 2010 offensive line…

“Everybody across this line is 300 and 320-plus, and not only are they big but they can move. They run well and have great feet. We have a very athletic line … and we have a smart line. When you look at Josh (Dworaczyk), Joe Barksdale and Will, they are all pretty smart people; pretty good students academically. It’s kind of like we have the total package. We have a line that is big, strong and smart. The sky is the limit this year.”

The running back tandem of he and Richard Murphy…

“We can do it all, I will say that with confidence … The only thing that separates me from Richard is the weight. Richard is a little bit smaller than me. Richard runs hard … he’s a downhill runner. Early in his career he was trying to make the most out of each opportunity that he got, and that’s what got him in trouble. Knowing that he is going to come in and see a significant amount of carries, I think he has settled down as a runner a lot and he’s going to be able to go out there and be himself and let that athletic ability take over.”

“They are going to depend on me between the tackles, but at the same time I can run the options and the speed (routes). The chances of breaking a speed run to the outside, you have a better chance with Russell (Shepard) or (Jakhari) Gore than me, because I’m trying to turn over 230 (pounds) and get it down the field.”

The coaching staff’s increased focus on running the football…

“We know what we have in the stable. I don’t even know if we have a back that is going to redshirt … We are rolling four and five backs in there, and we can run it more than 50-percent (of the game). We can pound it out because we have fresh legs going in there.”

Michael Ford’s status as the third man off the bench…

“He just has to get confident in his playmaking ability and comfortable in the playbook, and that’s a big thing. You all asked a question about being a veteran and being in the system, and that’s the difference. That is the clear-cut that you need to see. Mike is a great running back, but until he gets comfortable in there you probably won’t see as much of Michael Ford as you want to. Will he be in the games? Of course he is, because he is a playmaker and he can run the ball, and he is rolling in there just like we are. It’s a 1-2-3-4 and then we roll it back to the top. We are just in and out, but that would be the biggest difference between Michael Ford, Richard Murphy and I.”

Why the unit can have success while splitting carries…

“We are hungry, and as a whole that’s how this running backs group is. We are really not about the individual or who is starting. I left off the year starting and I would love to start, but if I don’t my feelings aren’t going to be hurt. It’s a hunger in the room. We want to make the best out of each opportunity given, and when you can do that, that’s when you become a team.”


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