Ridley stepping into leadership role with LSU

Published 12:42 am Wednesday, May 19, 2010

BATON ROUGE — The longer you’re with a team, the more you’re expected to step up as a leader.

For LSU tailback and former Trinity Episcopal standout Stevan Ridley, that time is now. With spring training over and his junior season ahead of him, Ridley said he plans to take his years as an upperclassman very seriously.

“Spring training was good for me. I think I stepped into a leadership role, and that’s something I wanted to do,” Ridley said.

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And that feeling was confirmed by a post-spring training visit with LSU head coach Les Miles.

“Coach Miles calls each of his players up to sit down with him at the end of each spring, and give us our overall grades,” Ridley said.

“He told me he likes how I’ve come around and matured as a player. After that, I felt good about my chances of being the starting running back this fall. At the same time, that’s not set in stone. I have to continuing working hard to accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself.”

As a leader, Ridley said it’s easier for him to lead by example.

“Everyone wants to be a vocal leader, but I feel like I’m one of those guys that can step up and lead by example. When you lead by example, that’s when people buy into you,” Ridley said.

If leading by example is the goal, Ridley got off to a good start in LSU’s spring game, where he led in rushing with 104 yards and a touchdown.

“I felt good about (the game), but I’m never really satisfied, and I think that’s what’s gotten me to where I am today,” Ridley said.

“Having 104 yards on the ground was a strong outing, but I want to have that every game. If this line can gel together and do what we want to do, I feel like that’s possible every game. We’ve got some big guys — we average about 310 up front — and it all starts up there. We can’t do anything without our offensive linemen.”

The question on every LSU fan’s mind these days seems to be who will start at quarterback in the fall, Jordan Jefferson or Jarrett Lee. Ridley said that question has yet to be answered.

“I don’t think either one has distanced themselves from the other. We just need one to, and we don’t care which one it is,” Ridley said.

“Jordan is one of those guys who’s just very cool. You never see him angry or upset. That’s a good thing and a ad thing, because you want your quarterback to be vocal, but at the same time, you want him to keep his cool under pressure.

“Jarrett Lee is a vocal guy, and he’s struggled some in his career, but you have to respect him. He’s been through a lot, and could have transferred, but he chose to stick it out and finish what he started, in his words.”

And Ridley himself is seeing a lot of competition at the tailback spot, he said.

“We have Richard Murphy, a redshirt senior who was behind Charles Scott most of his career who’s trying to make it his time to shine,” Ridley said.

“We also have a young guy in Michael Ford who’s just a freak. That’s really the only way to put it. He runs a high 4.4 to low 4.5 in the 40, and is just a natural athlete.”

When it comes to having an edge in the competition, Ridley said it comes down to experience in the system that LSU runs.

“Having the mental part down and being able to pick up blitzes, those are the small things that put you ahead of the competition,” Ridley said.

“A lot of that depends on prayer. When you’re on the field, there’s a lot going on in your mind, and you just have to ask the Lord to settle things. When you’re settled, that’s when you play your best.”