IOWA CITY — At first glance, LSU running back Jeremy Hill looks familiar to the Iowa linebackers who will be dealing with him in the Outback Bowl.
“He looks a lot like Carlos Hyde, from his size to the way he runs with the ball,’’ senior Christian Kirksey said. “He’s another good back in a long line of them that we’ve seen this season. The guy can run.’’
The Hawkeyes are currently in the middle of finals week and limited practices the past two weekends have focused mostly on Iowa and little on LSU.
The team will turn its attention in earnest to its New Year’s Day opponent once workouts resume during the upcoming weekend.
However, Iowa players have taken a few peeks at tape of the Tigers on their own and most have come away impressed with the quality of LSU’s skill players.
Hill, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound sophomore, has rushed for 1,185 yards on 175 carries this season for LSU, an average of 6.8 yards per carry.
By comparison, the workhorse of the Hawkeye backfield, Mark Weisman, has averaged 4.5 yards every time he has touched the ball on his way to 937 rushing yards for Iowa this season.
Senior Anthony Hitchens said Hill shows both the strength to run inside and the quickness to have success on the edge.
“From what I’ve seen, and I know I’ll see more later when we get into preparing for the game in the next week or so, but he’s a good all-around back,’’ Hitchens said. “He’s big, he’s physical, but he also has some quickness. He jumps off the tape.’’
Kirksey said Hill presents only part of the challenge that Iowa will face.
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“They have guys around him and other backs have been pretty effective from what I’ve seen,’’ Kirksey said. “I haven’t spent a lot of time on tape yet, but just looking a bit at them you can see why they’ve won nine games this season. They’re a talented football team with good backs and receivers.’’
LSU receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham have each topped 1,000 receiving yards this season, combining to catch 132 passes, while Hill has been the team’s third most-productive receiver with 18 catches for 181 yards.
On the ground, Terrence Magee and Alfred Blue have complemented Hill’s abilities. The pair has combined for 931 rushing yards on 143 carries.
“They are a good football team, but that is what you would expect,’’ Hitchens said. “They have plenty of talent and we’ll have plenty to work on when we start to focus on them (later this) week.’’