LSU running back Jakhari Gore has gotten rave reviews for his impersonation of Oregon All-America runner LaMichael James on the scout team. Gore hopes he gets similar reviews when he gets to play himself.
Gore, a redshirt freshman from Miami, matches James’ 5-foot-9 height and has similar speed, though at 175 pounds he’s about 20 pounds lighter than James. But LSU coach Les Miles and several defenders said Gore has simulated James’ skills expertly throughout preseason practice.
“It’s a lot of fun playing LaMichael James,” Gore said after practice Tuesday. “I compare myself to him a little bit: a small guy, a tough guy with real good speed and vision.”
Gore has been dressed in a quasi-Oregon uniform, but, “It’s just gray and black,” Gore said, “not fancy like they’ve got.”
“We watched a pretty good amount of film every day on how he runs and cuts,” Gore said. “I try to give (the defense) the best read, the cutback, the speed to the outside.”
Gore added that he has busted “a few runs” but overall, “It’s been working real well for the defense.” He said defensive backs Tyrann Mathieu, Brandon Taylor and Tharold Simon “have been hustling to the ball pretty well.”
Gore, who isn’t among the top three running backs on the Tigers depth chart, said he hopes there’s a bonus to the job he has done preparing his teammates.
“A big motivation for me going against the No. 1 defense is to prove to the coaches that I can do it against our defense,” he said.
Gore said he hopes to get to play himself for at least a few plays Saturday night.
“(James’) moves are pretty good,” he said with a smile. “But I’ve got something better coming.”
Oregon coach Chip Kelly said during a teleconference Tuesday said he’s not sure what to expect from his younger players when the game kicks off inside Cowboys Stadium, which features a 160-foot-by-72-foot television screen. “Some might get caught staring at it for a few plays,” he said.
LSU played in Cowboys Stadium just eight months ago when the Tigers beat Texas A&M 41-24 in the Cotton Bowl.
“I think it’s an advantage because we know what it’s like,” LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers said. “That screen is very distracting, so when they get in there and see that screen, they might be looking up and forget some stuff. “
But Tigers cornerback Morris Claiborne isn’t buying that.
“The advantage we have is watching film,” Claiborne said, “learning what they’re doing, the plays they’re putting in, and focusing on that. That’s the only advantage we have in this game. It isn’t about the facility you’re playing in and the screen and all that.”
Guard Will Blackwell, who suffered a broken ankle on the first offensive play of LSU’s opener last season, said he won’t be holding his breath on their first snap this season.
“But,” he added, “I imagine I’ll be a little bit nervous. I figure once I get past the first play, it will all be over with.”
Blackwell said the first play will also be a milestone for La’El Collins, who figures to get in for at least a few plays as a true freshman.
“Once you get hit that first time, it kind of goes back to every other game you’ve played,” Blackwell said. “He’s got the skill set and he’s got the size (6-5, 320), but he still hasn’t played a game yet. I think after the first game or two we’ll be able to determine how long it will take for him to be Division I ready.”
Lee among game captains
Newly anointed starting quarterback Jarrett Lee is one of four game captains that LSU has named for the opener. Lee, who was named the starter last Friday after Jordan Jefferson was charged with second-degree battery, will be joined by two defensive captains - safety Brandon Taylor and linebacker Ryan Baker - and one special teams captain: snapper Joey Crappell.
“I have a lot of family there,” said Lee, who’s from Brenham, Texas. “So I’m looking forward to playing there. That’s home.”
Advocate in Big D
Approximately 1,500 complimentary copies of the Saturday Advocate will be delivered to hotels near Cowboy Stadium.ￊ The hotels that will receive the papers are the Omni Fort Worth (team hotel), Worthington Renaissance (Fort Worth), Gaylord Texan, Hilton Anatole, Renaissance Dallas, Warwick Melrose, Marriott DFW, and the Hyatt Regency DFW. Papers will also be delivered to the RV Lot at Cowboys Stadium.