Blue, Magee validate Miles' confidence in RB depth
Les Miles already liked LSU's running game, which has averaged more than 170 yards this season.
Now that the Tigers coach has had a chance to see his backup running backs in action, he's even more confident in what top-ranked LSU can do with its ground attack.
With Spencer Ware hobbled and Michael Ford getting limited work after a first-half fumble against Kentucky, Miles turned loose his next two tailbacks and watched as they helped LSU take a 35-7 victory on Saturday.
Sophomore Alfred Blue had a career-best 72 yards on 16 attempts, while true freshman Terrence Magee accounted for 38 yards on 12 rushes in his first appearance of the year.
Both Blue and Magee ran for a touchdown, and their outings bode well for the Tigers (5-0, 2-0 SEC) as they try to maintain their grip on the No. 1 ranking when Florida (4-1, 2-1) visits Death Valley on Saturday.
''We take Ware out of the game and held him even though he could have played,'' Miles said Monday. ''We rely on our recruiting base and bring those young guys in. They play that position. To be a tailback at LSU, you need to be a great player.''
Both Ware and Ford had run for more than 300 yards entering the game against Wildcats. The two tailbacks had combined for nine rushing touchdowns - six by Ford. But, neither back was a factor against Kentucky.
Ware had four carries for five yards before leaving the game with a hamstring injury. Ford fumbled the ball in the first quarter and saw his carries restricted the remainder of the day. Ford rushed for 22 yards on nine attempts - his worst game of the season.
Blue had carried the ball 18 times in the previous four games with all but three attempts coming in the victory against FCS member Northwestern State.
''That was Blue's best game so far,'' Miles said. ''He was finishing his runs. Blue continues to mature.''
Magee, a high school quarterback, was apparently on his way to a redshirt season, but Miles changed that plan in the first half last Saturday.
''Magee had some small spaces and he was able to get through there,'' Miles said. ''I like our running backs. They all will have the opportunity to run the ball.''
The Tigers finished with 179 yards rushing against the Wildcats. The four tailbacks were responsible for 137 yards on 41 attempts.
LSU will attempt to run its winning streak to six games against 17th-ranked Florida. Miles is hopeful that Ware will be healthy enough to return to the running back rotation.
''I expect (Ware) to practice fully this week,'' Miles said.
Notes: Miles continued to bemoan the smattering of boos that rained down from the Tiger stadium crowd last Saturday when he sent Jordan Jefferson on the field for what turned out to be a successful fourth-and-goal quarterback keeper.
It was Jefferson's first play since being reinstated from a suspension that ended last week, when a grand jury reduced a felony charge against him to a misdemeanor for his alleged role in an Aug. 19 bar fight.
''It doesn't do any good to boo,'' Miles said. ''Jordan Jefferson had no choice. I sent him into the game. He had already served a four-game suspension. He went through an awful lot.
''Jordan had a misdemeanor, which was not different from some of the people in the stands who had similar bouts with the law. Jordan went in the game. I wanted to ease him in after what he went through. I like Jordan. A mistake was made. That mistake is something he is not going to repeat.''