BATON ROUGE, La. — Derrius Guice has an injured ankle and won’t be practicing until further notice. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t the center of attention in LSU spring practice.
He’s the SEC’s returning rushing leader. He’s a Heisman Trophy front-runner. He’ll be the focal point of every defensive game plan of teams LSU will face and he’ll probably be worth a good chunk of LSU’s offensive game plan as well.
There’ll be no avoiding it. Players who rush for 15 touchdowns and average 7.6 yards per carry don’t fade into obscurity. But that doesn’t mean Guice is excited about all the hype he’s getting. In fact, he seems like he’s already over it.
“Everything will fall into place,” Guice said. “That’ll all come with the new offense. I’m pretty sure you can ask the same question to my coach. Everybody’s got the hype around him coming in as one of the best coordinators. We’ve just got to all perfect it and be on the same page. The rest will all come with itself.”
Most of Guice’s focus right now seems to be on learning the new offense that coordinator Matt Canada brought with him from Pittsburgh to Baton Rouge. He said the offense is basically installed at this point, so right now it’s all about taking as many reps as he can to perfect his role.
The Tigers are in Week 2 of spring footballpractice. Thursday workouts will be followed by a Saturday scrimmage.
The same old Derrius Guice?
Everyone on the LSU offense is learning and adjusting to Canada’s system. But for Guice, things are a bit easier.
Unlike the wide receivers, who seem to have entered a new universe of schemes and plays, the running backs’ jobs aren’t all that different in Canada’s offense than what they were under Cam Cameron and Steve Ensminger. The tempo is a little faster and there’s a little more involvement in the passing game. But most of the differences for the running backs have to do with terminology.
“A lot of things are similar, just different names,” Guice said. “With the running backs, we’re not doing as much as the receivers. The receivers have to do most of the adjustments and different things from last year. The running backs, it’s just kind of the same. We don’t really have that much of a change. But it’s going to be fine.”
Things will change around Guice. For example, he won’t be able to rely on a fullback as a lead blocker as often this fall as he did last season. Canada’s offense shies away from the I-formation in favor of more exotic sets, meaning Guice will have to create for himself more than he did in 2016.
In losing his fullback, Guice gains a bit of versatility. He revealed Thursday that he was lining up at wide receiver this spring, and that figures to be a significant part of the LSU offense. Guice caught 9 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown last season, and he is confident that was only a sampling of what’s to come.
“I will be at receiver a lot now and those linebackers are in for a treat,” Guice said. “That’s all I’ve got to say.”
That’s Derrius Guice for you. For a guy who isn’t focused on the attention he’s getting, he sure knows how to pile more onto himself. And as we get closer to the beginning of the season there’s only one thing you can guarantee:
The list of people paying attention to him will get longer and longer.