After a career-high
102 yards on 10 carries, freshman running back Spencer Ware earned a nice break
following LSU’s 41-24 win in the Cotton Bowl.
He didn’t get it.
native traded his helmet, shoulder pads and place in the Tiger backfield for a
bat, glove and spot in the outfield of Alex Box Stadium.
Ware, a highly
touted dual-sport athlete at Princeton High School, expressed an interest in
playing baseball in college during his recruitment. Les Miles promised Ware
that he could do both in Baton Rouge, which was good enough to get the Ohio standout
After the January
7th Cotton Bowl, Ware immediately turned his attention to the diamond.
“Baseball is in
my heart. I love it,” Ware said. “I love to compete every chance that I get. I
love it just as much as football, and I can’t put one in front of the other.”
LSU is no
stranger to multi-sport athletes. Recent Tigers Chris Jackson, Jared Mitchell
and Chad Jones have all contributed to both squads during their time in Baton
stopped guys from pursuing a second sport in any way,” said Miles.
participate in baseball activities up until spring football practice begins on
March 11. At that point he will participate fully in football activities, set
to attend every practice and meeting with the football team until the spring
game on April 9. At the completion of spring football, Ware will rejoin the
“What I’m hoping is
that (Ware) shows something in the next three weeks that will encourage me to
want to play him in the games prior to him leaving for spring practice,” said
Paul Mainieri. “When he comes back to us on April 10th, he may be the spark
that we’re looking for.”
Ware is competing
for a spot in the Tiger outfield that returns starters Trey Watkins and Mikie Mahtook. The right field job appears to be a race between sophomore Mason Katz
and junior college transfer Raph Rhymes.
Ware hasn’t swung
a bat in a competitive environment since May. Regaining the timing and comfort
on the field after seven months is no small task.
“Every day I just
try to get more and more reps because that’s the only way you can get better at
this game is repetition,” Ware said. “I’m going to try to contribute to the
team as much as possible. Everybody plays a role. Whatever role I have, I’m
going to take ownership of that and try as hard as I can.”
Ware last week after just a few individual workouts.
really impressed me,” he said. “Obviously we knew he was a great athlete. I
guess I didn’t realize he had as good of skills as he does. He knows how to
track a ball and throw. He can run the bases. He’s got very good hitting
“The problem is
he hasn’t faced live pitching since last May, and he certainly hasn’t faced the
caliber of pitching that he does against our guys.”
One tool that
Ware won’t have to recover is speed.
With the new
limitations of the collegiate bats, runs will be at a premium. Ware’s speed
gives him the potential to make a major impact player off of the bench late in
He swiped a base
with ease in last Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage.
As for running
with the football, Miles is expecting big things following the early departure
of 1,000 yard rusher Stevan Ridley.
“He’s going to do
some things that are really significant,” Miles said. “ I think some of these
young guys that we are looking at that are coming into the program will have
different skill sets that will step to the front. But I think Spencer Ware is a
For now Ware will
enjoy his time away from the grueling toll football season takes on the body.
“I can pump my
arms faster out here,” Ware joked. “And I don’t have to worry about people
tugging on the ball.”