Position battles to watch as fall camp begins

LSU tailback: The Tigers struggled mightily on the ground last season, ranking 11th in the SEC and 90th nationally at 122.8 yards per game. The mediocre rushing attack put way too much pressure on quarterback Jordan Jefferson, and he wasn’t up to the task. Improving the running game has to be priority No. 1 for the Tigers. Senior Richard Murphy is returning from an ACL injury to his right knee; he had reconstructive surgery on his left knee in high school. He seems the likely starter. Junior Stevan Ridley ran for 180 yards last season, and while he’s a tough runner, he’s not a breakaway threat. Redshirt freshman Michael Ford does have good speed and might be the best all-around back of the trio. Look for wide receiver Russell Shepard to factor heavily in the running game. He had 45 carries last season and should easily double that this season. LSU coaches must get the ball in his hands at least 10 times per game in some fashion.

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