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Ridley for Heisman?

Preconceived notions.

I hate them. I hate them. I hate them.

I fell victim to "PN" a few weeks ago when I wrote my West Virginia Prediction piece. I underestimated LSU running back Stevan Ridley's ability to run the football.

Ridley deserves to be in the Heisman discussion. He's not going to win it. In fact, he isn't even the leading contender on his own team.'s weekly Top 25 shows Ridley is no where to be found amongst the Top 25 in the country for the award. The poll was done by 65 actual Heisman trophy voters from 36 states.

But just because he's not getting any recognition, that doesn't mean he shouldn't be amongst the chatter now.

Is there one person who, before the season, believed that Ridley would be the leading rusher in the SEC after five games?

Not Mark Ingram, not Trent Richardson, not Marcus Lattimore, not Jeff Demps. All four of these backs have appeared at least once in the Top 25.

It's no mystery that LSU's passing game has been abysmal. Ridley has been grinding out yardage against defenses who are packing the box and running run blitzes.

A big help has been the offensive line of LSU. Joseph Barksdale told me that "It is night and day" when you compare LSU's offensive line from last year to this year.

One of the most impressive things about Ridley is how he talks about his offensive line. He treats them as family. When starting guard Will Blackwell suffered a broken leg injury, Ridley took that to heart.

"I'm running for Will," Ridley told me earlier this year the week after Blackwell's injury.

But when LSU needed him most, Ridley got little help from his offensive line on the final play versus Tennessee.

Miles made the decision to run a toss play to the left, the first time LSU ran that play for the entire game.

"I knew Coach Miles wanted to run the ball,"said Ridley. "I'm just thankful for a good offensive line."

The problem is the offensive line really didn't do a great job of blocking on that play. Watch the replay of the final run, and the left side of the offensive line did a poor job of firing off. He had to avoid penetrating linebacker Nick Reveiz at the beginning of the play, and then had to have the power to punch in it.

Because of all of the fanfare and controversy surrounding the play, I never fully appreciated the difficulty of the run on the "clutchest" play LSU has had all season.

I spoke with Barksdale Monday before practice, and he admitted that the line didn't fire off the football at full speed. He cited crowd noise has one of the problems for the line on that final play. Listen below to hear Barksdale talk about next week's game versus Florida and the final play versus Tennessee.

Ridley has been the only consistent offense for LSU. If he puts up another 100 yard performance versus Florida in a victory this weekend and he gets no real national recognition, that would be highway robbery.

"I think that he can have one of those years that is pretty special around here," said Miles at the "Lunch with Les" press luncheon earlier this week.

No. 34 for the LSU Tigers has been through adversity this year. After nearly coughing up the game against North Carolina in the first game of the season, he took the challenge head on from all fans and critics.

Well, at least one fellow Heisman contender is giving him some credit for the league's most prestigious award.

"Ridley is definitely doing things to help his team win ball games," said Patrick Peterson. "If he gets Heisman consideration, I'm happy for him."

When a reporter asked if Ridley should strike a Heisman pose when he scores, Peterson chuckled and said, "I don't think he should do it."


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