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Story Archives: Ridley's back
Stevan Ridley enjoyed the 2010 LSU spring game a whole lot more than the 2009 spring edition.
Ridley missed last year's spring game after tearing an ACL that had him out until the start of the football season.
"That was an eye-opener for me," Ridley said. "But I realize whatever is meant to be is meant to be. A lot of things are out of your control. I just want to go out, work hard and have fun. I remember exactly how I felt when I tore my ACL and what I went through to come back. It puts everything into perspective."
Ridley was far from a spectator in this year's game, rushing for 104 yards and a touchdown as the White team defeated the Purple team, 24-9.
Ridley finished with 13 carries and set the tone for the Purple team with seven carries for 70 yards on the game's first drive. He broke open a 25-yard run before scoring from four yards out to culminate a 10-play, 80-yard drive in the first five minutes. Ridley tallied 11 rushes for 94 yards in the first quarter alone.
"It was really good," the Natchez junior said of the spring. We worked hard and I believe we have improved a lot. I can see a lot of improvement in our offensive line. We're coming off two down years and a lot of teams are not going to respect us. I kind of like where we are. We've got a lot of guys wanting to prove a lot. Everyone is coming together and everybody is bonding. That's very important to how successful a team can be."
Redshirt freshman running back Michael Ford led all rushers with 139 yards on 19 carries for the Purple team. Sophomore wide receiver Russell Shepard tallied 58 yards on seven rushes while grabbing three passes for 29 yards. The Purple team finished with 207 yards on the ground and the White team ran for 133 yards.
Ridley finished with 180 yards last season and scored three touchdowns. He also had six catches for 33 yards.
He had 10 tackles on special teams.
"I had a few spurts last year where I showed what I can do," Ridley said. "I think I showed that I can be depended on if they let me run the football."
While Ridley and Ford have been talked about the most, Ridley said don't rule out senior Richard Murphy of Rayville who sat out last season with an injury.
"Michael has really come along and I think Richard is going to have a good year," Ridley said. "We've got three guys who want to carry the football. The good thing about that is that you don't get as tired. We're going to have three backs with fresh legs that are going to be hard to stop. And that's the biggest difference with this team. Nobody is really greedy. It's all about the team and what each player can do to help us be successful."
LSU opens it's season against North Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Sept. 4 in the Georgia Dome. The season-opener will be televised nationally by ABC and kickoff at 7 p.m. CT. "North Carolina has three first-round prospects on their defense, so we're looking forward to the challenge," Ridley said. "We're not taking anything for granted this season."
Quarterback Jordan Jefferson commanded the White team for most of the game, finishing with 94 yards on 8-of-23 attempts with one interception. Jarrett Lee completed 10-of-20 passes for 114 yards with one pick and one touchdown.
Jefferson has been the target of a lot of discontent among LSU fans.
"Jordan is only human and I don't know what people expect of him," Ridley said. "If it was up to him, he would be perfect every time he stepped on the field. We've got some competition at quarterback. Of course, everyone was screaming for Jordan when Jarrett (Lee) was struggling, but that's just the nature of the fans. Jordan is going to be all right.
He just has to stay confident and keep his spirits up."
Ridley said former Florida coach Billy Gonzales is bringing a whole lot new to the team.
"He wants to run a lot of spread," Ridley said. "I think you will see him using more athletes and not having us as being too predictable. He's going to bring people in motion. Of course, we will still be a power football team because that's what Coach Miles likes. But we'll have a few different kinks that I believe will work for us."