BCS Special

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 7, 2012



An injury in his freshman season at LSU put former Hahnville tailback Alfred Blue behind the eight ball, and he began his sophomore campaign having to deal with a personal tragedy.

But in spite of it all, Blue has persevered to become a productive fan favorite for the Tigers — and a feared weapon throughout the SEC.

After getting just 20 carries on the season as a true freshman, Blue had a breakout performance in the Tigers’ fifth game, rushing 16 times for 72 yards and scoring in a 35-7 win over Kentucky at Death Valley.

He immediately followed that up with a 14-for-70 and another score against Florida on the same field.

Blue had a quiet stretch over the next month but finished the regular season with a boom.

He tallied his first 100-yard day on just nine carries, dominating Western Kentucky with 119 yards and two scores. It took just four attempts to gain 74 yards against Ole Miss a week later.

Blue missed the Arkansas game due to injury but made up for it in the SEC Championship as he tallied 94 yards and a score on the ground against Georgia in a 42-10 victory.

Blue did not carry the ball in LSU’s Nov. 5 victory over Alabama. But given his late-season performance, one would be hard pressed to think he will suffer for chances again on Monday night.

“This is the biggest game in college football,” said Blue. “Being number one puts a lot of pressure on you to come out and perform to that level. I’ve got to come out and give my all like it’s my last ever game. You don’t get another chance if you lose.”

Blue had to play most of the season with a heavy heart. Fire destroyed his home in Boutte in September, the same home that he grew up in with his mother, grandmother and three siblings. Along with the house went the family’s possessions.

He has gone back and forth from LSU to his hometown all year to be with his family, which remains in the area living in an apartment.

Football has been his escape.

In fact, that breakout game against Kentucky came just days after the fire.

“Football really releases me from it,” he said. “I take out my anger and frustration on the football field.”

Blue’s success at LSU is no surprise to Hahnville coach Lou Valdin, who believes the sophomore completely sets himself apart because, well, he is so complete.

“He ran with his opportunity,” said Valdin. “He’s a strong pass blocker, and I thought that was something that would get him on the field early. He played as a freshman but got hurt. He can pretty much do everything.”

Valdin said one of the most impressive things about Blue is his “body lean.”

At 6-foot-2, Blue is tall as far as rushers go, but Valdin pointed out he maintains the balance of a more compact player because of how he runs.

“He gives himself a low center of gravity, and it allows him to generate yards after contact,” said Valdin. “For how tall he is, he runs like a smaller guy, and in a good way.”

The coach will surely be watching Monday night.

“Coaches talk about their players like sons,” said Valdin. “I’ve got this one at LSU and that one playing in Mississippi. Things like that. I’m proud of Alfred not just because of what he does on the field but what he’s done in school.”

Blue plans to entertain Valdin and all others who watch, acknowledging that the chance to play and win a national title in New Orleans is a special thing.

“Playing so close to home means a lot. I plan on putting on a show,” said Blue. “Like they say, put on for my city.”