STARKVILLE – Christian Ducre’ is starting over again. This time, he’s hoping for better results.
Ducre’ was just starting his freshman year at Tulane in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina decimated the Gulf Coast. He wound up getting redshirted, and when his major was eliminated due to the hurricane’s after effects, Ducre’ transferred to Mississippi State and had a waiver request for immediate eligibility granted by the NCAA early in the 2006 season.
It wasn’t the only reason he left. His father, Brad, who had played running back at Tulane from 1991-94, wasn’t fond of then-coach Chris Scelfo.
Ducre’ has no regrets.
“It wasn’t that bad to leave; it really wasn’t a stable situation over there,” he said. “I just got out of it.”
The former all-state running back from Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville, La., hasn’t really found his place in Starkville since arriving. He’s had one notable performance – a 119-yard outing against Kentucky in 2007.
Last season, backing up feature back Anthony Dixon, Ducre’ got quite a few carries early. Over the last four games of the year, though, he had only two carries, none in either of the final two games.
He finished the season with 222 yards and two touchdowns on 56 carries.
“I think that was my fault, because I made a lot of mental mistakes, like with assignments and stuff,” he said. “I guess I kind of lost the (coaches’) trust in me with coming through for them. I just want to rebound this season.”
Ducre’ seems to be finding his place now.
Doing it all
With Dixon under team discipline due to his July 18 DUI arrest – he pleaded guilty and was fined $500 – Ducre’ has gotten a lot of first-team snaps this preseason. The two are splitting those reps now, but Ducre’ seized the opportunity to show MSU’s new coaches all he can do.
He said he’s made a greater effort to know the playbook.
“This is a new offense, new coaching staff, so I just had to impress them in a different kind of way,” Ducre’ said.
The coaches have noticed.
“Ducre’s doing an unbelievable job,” first-year coach Dan Mullen said. “Everything you ask Christian to do, he seems to be right on it. You watch him on special teams, that’s where I see him, he does a tremendous job. Catches the ball, blocks, runs, he does all those things.”
Ducre’s versatility makes him a perfect fit in Mullen’s spread option offense. He can line up at fullback, or in the slot, or next to Dixon in two-tailback sets.
Though he wouldn’t say it, a review of the 2008 film would show Ducre’ being under-utilized.
“Christian is going to have a huge role because of the multi-faceted abilities that he has,” Mullen said.
Will his role be so big that he’ll supplant Dixon as the starter? Probably not, because Dixon’s just too good. There should be plenty of room for both, though.
They’re an interesting contrast. Dixon is effusive, outgoing, a bit goofy. Ducre is more reserved but has a quiet confidence.
They’re similar in that like Ducre’, Dixon is multidimensional.
And they seem to like each other.
“We’re good on and off the field,” Ducre’ said. “We’re just, like, backing each other up, and whenever somebody needs something, we just ask each other for it.”
The season opener is 13 days away. There’s the possibility Dixon could be benched as part of his punishment, which would give Ducre’ a chance to shine.
“I’ve got to get used to it really, because I’m trying to get in shape and get a little rhythm,” Ducre’ said of the first-string reps. “But we’re both first-string really. I guess we’re just preparing for the first game, and whatever happens, happens.”
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal