BATON ROUGE, La. — The list of football players who have been compared to Warren Sapp and Reggie Bush in the same paragraph is probably very short.
In fact, it may only consist of Derrius Guice.
Frequently forgotten in the public eye due to the extra-large shadow cast by teammate Leonard Fournette, Guice proved to be an understudy capable of leading man status against Missouri last week. Guice electrified the home crowd with 163 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries, a feat good enough to earn him SEC Offensive Player of the Week status.
“He’s tough as nails,” said LSU coach Ed Orgeron. “He runs the ball like Warren Sapp played defense, and he has an energy about him, and he has an attitude when he strikes you that he’s wanting to go through you.”
That knack was evident on Guice’s second touchdown run of the night, a 4-yarder in which he ran through some poor sap as if he was Sapp.
But, as any infomercial pitchman worth his salt would tell you, that’s not all.
“I watched the film last night. His ability to jump cut, run to the left and jump cut to the right is about the — one of the best I’ve seen,” Orgeron gushed. “He has some Reggie Bush-like cuts. He’s bigger and stronger than Reggie was in college, maybe not quite as fast, but he has cuts like Reggie had.”
Those jump cuts were on display for Guice’s first score of the night, a sublime 42-yard beauty.
Guice, a sophomore from Baton Rouge, does not know much about Sapp, a Hall of Fame defensive tackle whom Orgeron coached at Miami, other than his size.
“He is huge! I’m not that big,” Guice laughed.
But there is a very good reason he wears No. 5, and that is why the comparison to Bush makes him break out in a smile.
“I like that comparison,” Guice said. “My god-dad gave me that number when I played Little League football, and I wore it for about seven years. In high school I couldn’t choose my number. I would have had 5 then, too. I got it back when I got here.
“That was one of the guys I looked up to besides my god-dad. Reggie Bush.”
Bush, who starred at USC while Orgeron was an assistant coach, became a Louisiana star when played for the Saints from 2006-10.
When Fournette finally does return from his nagging ankle injury, whether this week or some point beyond, Orgeron says that Guice will not disappear from the backfield.
“Hopefully, when Leonard comes in, he’s in a rotation, and we could keep those guys fresh,” Orgeron said.
And there is the ever-intriguing possibility of finding a way to fit Fournette and Guice into the backfield at the same time.
“I would love to, love to,” Orgeron said. “I believe in putting the best players on the field and putting the ball in their hands, if that’s something that can be a possibility in the near future, and it’s something that we have done in the past.”
Thanks to the world’s only Warren Sapp/Reggie Bush mashup — and a whole host of other factors — an offense that one of the nation’s dullest this season won’t much feel that way moving forward.