BATON ROUGE, La. -- Leading up to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, we'll take a daily look at a key LSU player. We'll examine how he has done and what his challenges are for the Clemson game.
J.C. Copeland, FB, Junior
Accomplishments: An old-school battering ram of a fullback, Copeland's vicious lead blocking is a key reason why LSU piled up 2,159 rushing yards and was able to carry the offense for more than half the season while the passing game went through growing pains. A converted high school defensive tackle, Copeland improved his ball skills enough to carry 21 times this season, gaining 67 yards and four touchdowns. In the age of the spread offense, he'll stay on the field far more than one would expect from a fullback.
Shortcomings: While Copeland was a reliable ball carrier, attempts to get him involved in the passing game went mostly for naught as he only caught three passes, though one was a 42-yard catch-and-run against Alabama. Copeland had a habit of picking up bad personal fouls, sometimes killing drives with hits well after the whistle. It's aggressiveness LSU accepted because it's a product of the mean streak that makes him an effective blocker, but it would sometimes cost the Tigers dearly.
Against Clemson: Unless they fall behind, expect the Tigers to perhaps try to use their running game to keep Clemson's high-powered offense off the field. Copeland's lead blocking, plus his ability to convert on short-yardage situations as a runner, can play a huge part in that kind of game plan.