Now perhaps some won’t entirely appreciate what this Bulldog back just said. Or what it says about the maturity from this redshirt freshman runner. Remember that not all that long ago Dontavian Lee could just take a pitch and, impatiently, make his own hole and his own way around the field.
Now? Patience is Lee’s password to success.
“We all have different running styles and I guess I’m just a patient runner.”
Guess so. Of course the patience he preaches means taking the specific angles and timing his exact steps as practiced. If Lee does his part right, and the blocking has done its heavy duty ahead of him, ground is there for the gaining. Sound simple?
Well, easier schemed than executed. Especially for an athlete of Lee’s caliber. He has the strength, the speed, the skills to make some things happen on his own. Yet here the 19-year-old is staying within a college system.
“Because if you try to do too much you’re going to mess up. Then you’re going to have to come out and you’re going to be sad the rest of the game!”
More performances such as last Saturday and many a fan will be sad not to see Lee on the field. Given his turns, and five carries, Lee ripped off a fast 57 yards against Northwestern State and was game-high rusher.
“I did good,” Lee agreed. “I graded Champion, so I’m excited about that.” It was obviously the stats that scored his grade right? Not exactly. “I liked the patience in my running, and setting up my blocks.”
Lee has a point, as post-game review showed him taking out Demon defenders for teammates to advance. This certainly makes his coaches happy, and should earn Lee more snaps over 2015 course. But, patience is required. In everything right now.
“So it’s a mindset. You have a job to do. You’re not out there like high school. It’s a business. They’re paying for your education, they expect you to do what they tell you, how they tell you to do it.”
Lee isn’t alone in this be-patient approach. Classmate Aeris Williams shares the backup snaps, and on seven Saturday rushes netted 36 yards. And, got the first touchdown of these two talented freshmen. But they still take turns following the first rotation of juniors Ashton Shumpert and Brandon Holloway whose longer experience keeps them atop the depth chart.
This demands the other part of patience. To his credit Lee isn’t trying to jump-line on his elders. Or does he see the need now for a ‘feature’ back getting most touches.
“Because if you do we’re no longer a team. As individuals we’re not as strong as we are as a team. So we put people back there who can make plays at different times, become a team and go win a championship.”
Mississippi State is behind the championship curve after the LSU loss. Now they visit an Auburn team which also dropped its SEC opener to those Tigers. A 0-2 September would just about doom hopes for November, so two impatient teams will collide Saturday evening.
Lee has no idea how often he might get called on. Nor is he fretting about it. “I’m still waiting my time right now,” he said.
“The more they call my number the more times I get to shine. I just have to wait my time if they don’t.”