LSU running backs coach Jabbar Juluke: Young players stepping up; what I've learned about Fournette _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- New running backs coach Jabbar Juluke shouts instructions at LSU's second practice of spring football drills, Tuesday, March 8, 2016.

When he arrived at LSU last month, Jabbar Juluke’s knowledge of Leonard Fournette went beyond the normal person.

Juluke, the Tigers’ first-year running backs coach, spent the first decade of his career as a New Orleans high school coach. He grew up near Fournette’s father in the Crescent City, first met a 5-year-old Fournette and, even, tried to get Fournette to join his Edna Karr squad a few years ago.

A month on the job and a week into spring practice, Juluke has learned something else about the Heisman Trophy hopeful.

“How smart he is,” Juluke said. “His knowledge of the game.”

In a brief Q&A with The Advocate, Juluke discusses LSU’s star player. Fournette missed Tuesday’s practice with a minor soft tissue injury around his calf, Juluke said, but he could have played if he needed to.

Jabbar Juluke enjoys a good bucket hat. (Travis Spardling)

Jabbar Juluke enjoys a good bucket hat. (Travis Spardling)

Coach Les Miles expects Fournette to miss Thursday’s sixth practice of spring drills, but he should return after spring break for a March 29 practice.

Also in the short Q&A, Juluke says David Ducre is receiving some reps at running back, and he and Bry’Kiethon Mouton have shined without John David Moore.

Who’s surprisined you most or stuck out the most so far?

I was familiar with all of them, and they’ve all met expectations, man.

Kid I’m very pleased with is David Ducre. He’s stepping up, embracing his opportunities he has. Bry’Kiethon Mouton, with John David Moore not there, and him are doing a really good job of stepping in and really trying to make an impact on the team. Very excited about those two young men.

I know you weren’t here last year, but what have you heard about how David Ducre has developed since the fall? He entered as the No. 1-ranked fullback in the nation, enrolling early last year, but playing in just three games – including the final two.

I don’t know what the difference is in now and then, but he’s very understanding of what he has to do. He knows the plays. He’s going out there and playing faster, so that may have helped him with a year of experience, a year of knowledge of the system, it’s helped him out a lot. He’s doing a really good job opening up holes and he’s also been spending time at the running back position as well, getting a few carries. I’m excited about him.

How is J.D. Moore’s recovery from knee surgery?

I have not asked the trainers, but we definitely hope to have him for fall camp. That’s more important than spring ball right now. He’s headed in the right direction. He’s at the meetings. He believes he’s going to be 100 percent healthy.

A manager hits Leonard Fournette during a spring practice drill. (Travis Spradling)

A manager hits Leonard Fournette during a spring practice drill. (Travis Spradling)

You knew a lot about Fournette coming here, but what have you learned in a month here about him that you did not know?

How smart he is. His knowledge of the game. He’s a very good leader. He’s taking those things and passing them down to Derrius Guice, his little brother, Lanard. Those guys are doing a really good job of really understanding the offense and what’s going on.

I think Coach (Frank) Wilson has done a really good job with the guys and getting them prepared with the system and understanding it and making it an easy transition for myself.

What have you seen from Derrius Guice?

Explosive, very talented kid. Very eager to learn, doing all of the little things that you ask him to do. Right now, his grades are even outstanding. He’s just happy to be doing some good things and being able to play football and doing all of those great things.

I think that the future is very bright for him.

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