I am humbled that my LSU team studies film of me. LSU football shaped me into the player I am today and I stand behind them all the way. Best of luck this season Tigers, I'll be watching y'all!
LSU sophomore wide receiver Malachi Dupre sits in the film room and prepares to break down film from a game he didn’t even participate in.
When the first play pops up on the screen, two familiar figures catch his eye — former Tiger wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
As the play develops, Dupre’s eyes track everything from their precise route running to their ability to find holes in soft zone coverage, searching for another way to improve his own game.
During the last year, Dupre spent hours scouring his friends’ film to bring some of their success back to Baton Rouge.
“In the film room, we do a lot of things that they did when they were here as far as play calling,” Dupre said. “Definitely, I watch a lot of film on them and see the things that they do. I’m still watching film on the offenses they are in the NFL.”
Despite different skill sets from Beckham and Landry’s repertoire, Dupre and junior wideout Travin Dural continue the pair’s legacy as the Tigers’ next playmakers on the perimeter, developing into physical, well-rounded receivers in a run-first offense.
“They got way more physical,” said junior safety Rickey Jefferson. “They are trying to become more dominant players, not too much of finesse guys. When they get the opportunity to get the ball, I know it hasn’t been a lot lately, but they will. They are going to do big things.”
Landry and Beckham’s collective success as Tigers was unprecedented, highlighted by Landry’s unforgettable catches against Arkansas and Beckham’s talent to make a key play to keep a drive going.
After combining for 518 receiving yards and two touchdowns during their freshmen season in 2011, the pair emerged as former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger’s top targets in 2012, collecting more than 47 percent of the Tigers’ total receptions.
In 2013, Beckham and Landry became the first LSU wide receivers to record 1,000-yards receiving in the same season and only the sixth and seventh wideouts in program history to accomplish the feat.
Beckham won the Paul Hornung Award the same year for the nation’s most versatile player after breaking the LSU single-season record all-purpose yards with 2,315.
During his 2014 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign with the New York Giants, Beckham set franchise rookie records with 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in only 12 games, gaining national fame with his iconic one-handed grab against the Dallas Cowboys.
As quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s top target, Landry tallied 758 receiving yards and five touchdowns on a team-leading 84 receptions during his rookie season with the Miami Dolphins in 2014. Through two games this season, Landry leads the Dolphins with 16 catches for 163 yards.
“To see the things they’ve accomplished in the NFL and in college, I’ve seen them work for it, so it just gives something to work forward to,” Dupre said. “And to see the things they worked on day in and day out, it just shows me how hard work can pay off.”
Although Beckham and Landry left behind a legacy of acrobatic catches in a pass-heavy offense, Dupre and Dural adapted their strengths to thrive in an offense dominated by sophomore running back Leonard Fournette.
Dural and Dupre’s offseason focus on improving their downfield blocking shined through the Tigers’ first two games with LSU racking up an average of 338.5 rushing yards per game, including 411 yards on the ground against Auburn.
“The blocking that they have been doing is second to none,” said junior cornerback Tre’Davious White. “The attitude they bring toward blocking is a big deal. It has been paying off for them on the field with the way our offense has been doing.”
Along with opening up the run-game with blocking, Dural and Dupre’s physical presence allows them to get off the line faster against press coverage and complete more one-on-one plays downfield.
Although he notes the differences between his style and Landry’s, Dupre said the physicality he developed this season reflects Landry’s approach to the game.
Through the Tigers’ first two games in 2015, Dural and Dupre combined for only 11 catches for 72 yards.
Despite Dural and Dupre’s limited opportunities in 2015, their teammates expect the duo’s development during the past year to translate into dynamic plays that suit their own style.
“[Dupre and Dural] are the best at what they do,” White said. “They can do it all just like [Beckham and Landry] can. But they are just different players. You can’t compare those guys to [Beckham and Landry].”
Morgan Prewitt | www.lsureveille.com | Sep 23, 2015