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Enemy Dossier: Fullbacks

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Leonard Fournette is very good, but unless he gets some space in between the tackles, he can't do much.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The fullback is a dying position in College Football. There's no way around it. It started with the move to West Coast offenses in the early 2000's, and is becoming nearly total with the switch to Spread offenses in the modern game. Fullbacks have been substituted for staggered tight ends and wide receivers spreading the field. The LSU Tigers are one of the last teams in the nation to have a fullback that plays consistently. For us, this presents a problem, as LSU's fullbacks are pretty good, even though we don't know which one we'll see.

One of my favorite stories is the walk-on-defeats-five-star-recruit story, and no one has a claim to that like JD Moore (FB, LSU) has this season. The difference between most of these stories and JD Moore's is that the narrative is that hard work beats out talent, even when the talent could potentially help the team more. JD Moore is the best fullback on LSU's roster, full stop. A significant part of the Tiger's late-season slide is due to Moore sustaining a knee injury against South Carolina. True freshman Bry'Keithon Mouton has stepped into that role admirably, but he isn't Moore.

A huge "X Factor" in this game that is relatively not talked about is the health of LSU's fullbacks. If JD Moore is not playing, LSU is simply a different team running the ball. LSU's game against Alabama showed this disparity perfectly, as Tide defenders were constantly in the backfield as a young, talented Mouton struggled at times against Alabama's vaunted 3-4 look.

If JD Moore is in the backfield, watch out. A huge part of LSU's I-Formation attack is getting good blocks from the fullback. By the same token, Bry'Keithon Mouton was an ESPN 4-star prospect and a Rivals 3-star, which is very high for a fullback. If Mouton has figured out the speed of D-1 College Football, he can devastate our front 7. We'll know a lot more (Moore) about how this game is going to go if we see #44 trotting out with the starters on the 29th.