BATON ROUGE, La. — To LSU coach Ed Orgeron, freshman running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the biggest revelation through the first week of training camp. But in the eyes of Derrius Guice, Edwards-Helaire merely was meeting expectations.
“He better come in doing what I know he can do — and that’s what he’s done,” Guice said. “It’s no surprise to me. I expect him to do that.”
Guice’s bar for Edwards-Helaire is higher than anyone else’s for a reason. Edwards-Helaire played behind Guice for two years at Baton Rouge Catholic High before becoming a star in his own right. And the two have known each other for much longer.
The first thing teammates notice about Edwards-Helaire is his confidence. Quarterback Danny Etling finds it a little amusing that Edwards-Helaire introduced himself as “Clyde the Glide,” assuming the freshman already had given himself a nickname.
But to Guice, that’s just Edwards-Helaire’s identity, not a self-appointed nickname.
“At Catholic, we started that nickname for him,” Guice said. “It’s kind of carried over because he’s the same Clyde from Catholic.”
On the field, being the same Clyde from Catholic means being difficult to tackle.
“The whole team hates him right now — defensively,” Guice said. “Because they can’t find a way to stop him right now.”
‘Built like a tree stump’
The knock on Edwards-Helaire in recruiting was his height. Some murmured that the Tigers offered him only because he was local and they whiffed on higher-rated recruits at the position. But Guice knows the 5-foot-8 back uses his size to his advantage.
“All the defensive players are over 6-foot, and he’s over here like 5-5 and built like a tree stump,” Guice said. “He’s thick. He’s shifty. He always blends in with the offensive line. And he always keeps his legs turning. It’s just hard to stop a guy like that.”
Guice sees a lot of himself in Edwards-Helaire.
“We complement each other really well,” Guice said. “We kind of run the same. We’ve been behind each other all the way from little league football to high school to now.
“Clyde will show y’all that he belongs here. Now it’s my job to make sure he’s prepared. He was behind me at Catholic. I got here first, and he’s following along in the shadow right behind me. When I first got here, I was impressing everybody. Now he’s going out on the same limb.”