ATLANTA — Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU’s leading rusher who injured a hamstring last week, “has a chance to play” Saturday against Oklahoma, coach Ed Orgeron said Monday afternoon.
“He’s off the crutches. Off the scooter. We’re going to see what he can do (Tuesday),” Orgeron said, adding that running backs Chris Curry, John Emery and Ty Davis-Price are all getting reps in practice.
“It’s going to be a day-to-day deal,” Orgeron said. “But I promise you this: it’s a little bit better than what I thought last week. He has a chance to play. I don’t know if he’s going to play. It’ll be day-by-day.”
The No. 1 Tigers (13-0) face the No. 4 Sooners (12-1) in the College Football Playoff national semifinals in the Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Edwards-Helaire’s non-contact injury occurred during a team drill in last Tuesday’s practice, sources told The Advocate.
It’s the first significant injury of the postseason for LSU, and the loss of the team’s leading running back would be substantial as it prepares for the program’s first appearance in the College Football Playoff against Oklahoma.
Edwards-Helaire, a 5-foot-8, 209-pound junior, is a key piece in LSU’s record-breaking offense, which ranks third nationally with 47.8 points per game and first nationally with 554.3 yards of total offense per game.
ATLANTA — The siren of the police escort wailed on the bitter gusts of wind. The bus hissed to a stop, and off stepped LSU’s head football co…
Edwards-Helaire has rushed for 1,290 yards in 2019, and he leads the Southeastern Conference with 16 rushing touchdowns.
None of the three backs have started in a game this season, and Davis-Price and Emery are both true freshmen.
Davis-Price has rushed for 270 yards and six touchdowns, Emery has rushed for 182 yards and three touchdowns and Curry has rushed for 99 yards.
Orgeron said Davis-Price and Emery are “two different running backs, like thunder and lightning.”
“I think Tyrion’s been the most consistent back,” Orgeron said. “He can run the football in the middle. He can get to the outside. John has the ability to break the long one.”
Ewards-Helaire, a Baton Rouge native and Catholic High graduate, has been effective in LSU’s most crucial games. He rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns in LSU’s 46-41 win over then-No. 3 Alabama on Nov. 11, when he also caught nine passes for 77 yards and another touchdown.
Edwards-Helaire is LSU’s third-leading receiver, and he has recorded 50 catches for 399 yards and a touchdown — tied for the most receptions ever by a running back in school history (Gary James, 1985).
Davis-Price, Emery and Curry have combined for 18 catches for 148 yards.
“Clyde, he did everything well,” Orgeron said. “He ran inside, ran outside and caught the football. We’re going to have to adjust if Clyde doesn’t play. Rotate those backs to do what they can do best.”
Does LSU run into the danger of being more predictable with less versatile backs?
“I don’t think so,” Orgeron said. “I don’t think (Oklahoma) knows our backs. I don’t think they know our backs like we do. Obviously, we’re not going to do the same thing and put the same back in every time. We’re going to switch things up.”
Staff writer Brooks Kubena contributed to this report from Atlanta.