BATON ROUGE - By now, everyone knows Derrius Guice’s name.
They know the talented tailback is going to be charged with replacing presumed top 10 pick Leonard Fournette, and they know he’s going to probably do a pretty good job of doing it as he did late last season.
But in the last five seasons there has always been someone behind the presumed starter who received their fair share of carries to lighten the load on the starting running back. And while there is a new sheriff in town in first-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada, Pittsburgh ran the ball 542 times last season. There is no way one man can shoulder that load, no matter how talented he might be.
That’s where Nick Brossette, who will be a junior next season, steps in. Brossette and Darrel Williams, who will be a senior, are the only backs returning for the Tigers who have any actual game experience outside of Guice, who will be a junior.
"I'm ready. I feel like it's going to be a big year for me if everything falls into place," Brossette said on Thursday as the Tigers continued spring practice. "It feels good to be out there with the guys and the coaches. Everyone is having fun with each other. I’m working on my pad level, just trying to get better every day and enjoying the time out there. I just want to work on my game and learn the offensive better. Whatever the coaches want me to do, that’s what I’m going to do to the best of my ability.”
Brossette not only has a new offensive coordinator, but a new position coach in Tommie Robinson from USC. The two have a previous relationship, though. When Robinson was an assistant at Texas in 2014 and '15, he recruited Brossette out of University High in Baton Rouge.
“I like coach Robinson, and I’ve had a relationship with him for a while now so it is an honor for him to coach us,” Brossette said. “He was always joking with me, saying, 'Why didn't you come to Texas?' Coach Robinson is more of an old school guy because he’s been coaching for a long time. It’s a good thing because we can take all of his knowledge and put it in our game.”
Brossette averaged 9.7 yards per carry on 15 attempts last season, mostly in mop up duty late in games.
PARIS MOVED TO SAFETY: LSU has plenty to replace on the back end of their defense after losing safety Jamal Adams, cornerback Tre'Davious White and defensive back Dwayne Thomas. Cornerbacks Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver II and safeties John Battle and Ed Paris are the likely starters with Xavier Lewis as the fifth defensive back.
Paris, who will be a senior next season, was moved to safety from corner for spring practice by Coach Ed Orgeron, who said he should have already been there.
“There’s nothing with change. At the end of the day it’s going to make me better,” Paris said. “I think it’s the best move for me.”