BATON ROUGE — Keiland Williams is on the 2007 national championship highlight films as much as Jacob Hester. Just this week, he was the cover story in the local paper under the headline, “Will He Be The Man?”
At the moment, however, the junior from Lafayette is not expected to be the starting tailback when No. 7 LSU opens the season a week from today against Appalachian State. When talking tailbacks recently, LSU coach Les Miles mentions Charles Scott and Richard Murphy more than Williams. When Miles has singled out Williams, it has been for his fumbling problem.
With just a week of practice before the 4 p.m. opener Saturday in Tiger Stadium, it is looking like tailback will be manned by Scott, the Tigers’ most powerful runner who is similar to Alley Broussard before the knee injury.
A junior from Saline who went to Jonseboro-Hodge High, Scott gained 324 yards last season on 45 carries for a 7.2-yard average and scored five touchdowns. Williams was second to only Hester in rushing with 478 yards on 70 carries, but he led all ball carriers except for quarterbacks in lost yardage with 35 yards. Murphy, a sophomore from Rayville, gained 230 yards on 35 carries and drew closer to Scott and Williams with one of the best springs on the team.
“I think coach wants somebody to emerge as the one guy, but even if one of us does, coach is not going to completely turn his shoulder to what Keiland and Richard bring to the table,” Scott said. “Even if one guy steps up and becomes that guy like Jacob, you’ll still see the others a lot.”
Defensive end Tyson Jackson likes them all.
“Charles Scott is a big pounder. He’s going to bruise your defense up. He’s about 235 pounds, and he’s going to run forward and through you. Keiland Williams is more of a finesse guy. He’s going to dance around the field and make plays. Richard Murphy — that guy’s a speedster. He reminds a lot of people of Reggie Bush, and he’s going to make plays all over the field.”
Murphy cannot wait for that.
“I’m still being patient,” Murphy said. “If they put me in there, I’m going to show them what I can do.”
Miles usually starts with Scott as well.
“It’s still very much running back by committee,” Miles, who usually does not name starters until game day, said. “But it will be interesting. I think Charles Scott may have a great year, maybe Richard Murphy. And Keiland Williams is unmentioned but certainly very talented.”
Williams was supposed to be “the man” last season, too, but Hester proved many media members and fans wrong by having a legendary, 1,000-yard season. Williams was clearly the biggest recruit of the bunch as he chose LSU over USC late in the recruiting process in 2006 after playing at Hargrave Military Academy and in Chatham, Va., after Northside High in Lafayette.
“Keiland has a tremendous upside, and hopefully it will be brought out this year, or in more plays this year, you’ll see it,” Miles said. “I think there is a lot of competition going on out there, and I think it’s a position that will bring out the best in that group. Certainly Keiland has as much talent or more as any.”