Notebook: LSU deep at tailback

LSU running back Jeremy Hill is second in the SEC in rushing with 594 yards and nine touchdowns. (Photo by The Associated Press)

Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:15 p.m.

Much is being made this week about how talented and deep LSU is at wide receiver. Well, the Tigers may be even deeper and more talented at tailback, where they are four deep, led by Jeremy Hill, who is second only to South Carolina's Mike Davis in rushing in the SEC.

Hill has been sharing carries with Alfred Blue, Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee.

Hill is averaging almost 120 yards a game and has rushed for 594 yards and nine touchdowns. The other three have combined to pretty much equal Hill's production: 593 yards and nine touchdowns.

It all adds up to 1,187 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns from one position.

“The challenge is they're all talented. All those guys do a great job,” UF defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. “When you watch cut-ups from the tape, it's not like the offense is changing much when they're in there. They're running their offense because all those guys can do it.

“They can put a foot in the ground, break tackles, hit the big ones. They've all had big plays. And they can catch out of the backfield. The challenge is you've got a fresh guy in there running the ball (all the time).”

Chucky still lurking

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley may be out for the season, but his Chucky doll is not. It's been given life by sophomore defensive end/outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., who has unofficially taken custody of the doll.

Fowler took Chucky on the Kentucky road trip two weeks ago and he's planning to do the same this weekend when the Gators head to Baton Rouge.

“I'm not aware of what the formal handoff ceremony was, but (Fowler's) somehow got that,” Durkin said. “I noticed it the first game when Easley was not there. Chucky was, and he was with Dante.

“Chucky's welcome in all our meetings and he's learning the defense.”

At least one player apparently finds the doll a little bit creepy. Middle linebacker Michael Taylor said earlier this week that he thought Chucky was going to get up and walk on the team flight back from Kentucky.

“Mike's a unique guy,” Durkin said. “I can see him saying that.”

Easley around, recovering

Even though Easley is out for the season after undergoing ACL surgery, the senior is still spending lots of time with the team (and Chucky, of course).

“Dominique is a big part of our team even though he's not playing,” Durkin said. “His personality and energy are contagious to all those around him. He's got great respect from the coaches and his teammates. He's a guy we want around. He's a part of the team no matter what.”

Durkin said Easley is rebounding from the devastating injury.

“As good as we'd expect,” he said. “He's got his spirits back. He's all smiles like normal. That guy will go rehab like crazy and get back to 100 percent as soon as anyone could.

“He's still got a great career ahead of him (in the NFL). I think we saw that in the snaps we were able to get out of him. He's a difference maker, a great football player and he'll have a great future.”

Fowler's other side

In interviews, Fowler comes across as a big, happy kid. He even said that he's pretty much a big teddy bear off the field. But he's been a monster on the field with his strong play so far this season.

“He's a classic example of a nice guy, unassuming off the field,” Durkin said. “But when he's out there playing, he plays pretty nasty.

“He's a very likeable guy. He always has a smile on his face, great guy to coach. You couldn't have a better guy around the locker room, around the field to coach. He's playing really well. We couldn't be happier for him.”

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