BATON ROUGE, La. — New LSU running backs coach Jabbar Juluke was hired on Feb. 13, but he could have sworn it was Christmas.
Juluke, who was hired away from Texas Tech, is charged with filling in where former LSU assistant Frank Wilson left off.
That responsibility not only includes recruiting, but keeping the Tigers’ running game in line.
It also means mentoring Leonard Fournette. However, the Heisman Trophy hopeful is not the only member of the LSU backfield that intrigues Juluke.
“He’s a talented player that will make everyone in the room better,” Juluke said of Fournette. “He doesn’t have time to take off because (the other running backs) are on his heels. They want to play, too. I’m blessed to have the young men in that room. It’s like Christmas; there’s a bunch of toys that you want to open up all together, and I’m excited for the opportunity to put them in positions to compete in the classroom, on the football field, in the community and compete to be the best service people.”
There’s no question that Fournette headlines LSU’s talent-laden backfield, but Juluke refused to play favorites when being introduced by coach Les Miles on Wednesday, when he offered praise for Derrius Guice and Nick Brossette, who he envisions will have equally-important roles for next season.
“They’re going to want to block for each other, and that goes a long way,” Juluke explained. “We’re going to have the best camaraderie we can have as unit. We’re going to play together, cheer for one another. I asked them ‘How can you impact the team with the ball not in your hand?’
“As a unit, we want to be the best in the country. It’s not about one good player. The running backs at LSU — the only difference between them is going to be the jersey number on their backs because they’re all going to step the same way, compete the same way, play hard for each other and cheer when one of us does well.”
Equally as important to their on-field success, Juluke believes he can be a difference-maker in the running backs’ personal lives.
It’s something Juluke has aimed to do from his time in the high school ranks to Louisiana Tech and even during his short stint at Texas Tech.
“We want to build on the success they’ve had and continue to be the best they can be, to be better young men, better husbands and fathers than they had,” Juluke said. “The best room we can have — from the top to bottom — is making them the best they can be.”