LSU's Leonard Fournette 'confused' by Dave Aranda’s new defense, embracing leadership role and more _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU junior running back Leonard Fournette (7) anticipates the catch on a pass as LSU junior linebacker Devin Voorhies (35) defends him in a drill during practice, Thursday, April 7, 2016, at LSU's practice facility in Baton Rouge, La.

Leonard Fournette attempts to figure out LSU’s new 3-4 defense each day at spring practice.

It’s not going well.

“Sometimes,” he said, “I get confused. “That’s probably their main goal.”

Fournette spoke to local reporters for the first time since Dec. 29, when he talked after LSU’s win over Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl. Fournette admitted that he’s having trouble against new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s scheme.

“It’s different,” the LSU running back said. “They throw a lot of things at you. A lot of moving. And then Jamal (Adams) and them, they’re saying a lot of things. Every day I’m trying to catch on what they’re saying and what it means.”

Fournette’s main focus this spring has been on improving his leadership. He owes Adams a steak, too, for a bet he made during the first week of spring practice.

You can read more about that here.

Below are some of Fournette’s best answers in his 10-minute chat with the media.


Q: How’s spring going?

Fournette: Overall, not just me but everybody on the team, we’re all perfecting our craft, helping out the young guys, early enrollees, helping them out developing their game, them getting a better understanding of the game.

You’re not getting a lot of carries during scrimmages. Do you like that?

Anything to help the team out. Like during practice, not just during the scrimmage, the running backs, we go 100 percent, go so hard. Every time we get the ball, we sprint at least 20 yards down the field. I guess that’s just (Coach Les Miles) helping me out.

Leonard Fournette says he's focusing on leadership this spring. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Leonard Fournette says he’s focusing on leadership this spring. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

How’s new running backs coach Jabbar Juluke been?

Coach Juluke has done a wonderful job with us, some of the things Coach Frank (Wilson) had taught us in the past. He’s added some new routines. I’ve enjoyed them each and every down at practice. He’s doing an excellent job as a coach and also as a mentor.

Where do you need improve?

It’s being a leader. That’s the biggest thing I’ve been working on right now during the off-season, helping guys out on and off the field with personal problems and by me being an example in practice, having the energy for them to get through it.

Some days we might be tired as a whole. School, tutoring may be wearing us out. At the end of the day, my job is to boost the energy, give them hope (that) you still can get better even when you’re tired.

Did you know former Saints players Will Smith?

Will Smith was fatally shot in New Orleans over the weekend.

Nah, I never met him. I know he was a Saints player. I really don’t want to talk about it.

Have you seen the stuff Tyrann Mathieu has said about the violence in New Orleans?

That’s just the city. It’s always violent. I’d rather not talk about it.

Leonard Fournette carries in practice. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Leonard Fournette carries in practice. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

You juked linebacker Devin White in practice recently. How much did you like that?

It’s pretty much about competition. I love Devin. He came up to me earlier that day and said, ‘I just want to get better, make me better.’

He just wants to compete with me. I just love giving him a move that he’s really going to get in a game. I just want to perfect his craft. He says he wants to be an All-American. That’s why I work out with him in the weight room, to better him.

What have you seen from Devin?

As spring went on, he caught onto the system and you can tell his attributes … what he’s capable of doing, like, during high school, was showing on the field.

Has Brandon Harris gotten better with the shorter passes?

Brandon, he’s still developing. One thing about him, it starts off with him and his attitude. He’s always coming into the huddle and encouraging us, even when somebody drops the ball. He’s always clapping his hands and (saying), ‘Pick it up. We can do better.’

When did you know you’d be such a good running back?

Last year. Just looking back, you know, after the season was over, looking at the highlights. I didn’t really recognize it until the season was over. God gave me the ability and talent to do what I have to do and also put these great guys around me to block for me, protect me.

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