BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It’s another exciting weekend for LSU Tiger fans, as the undefeated team is on the road to take on Ole Miss but before the big game in Oxford, the crew caught up with the parents of running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to talk about his pivotal role in the win over Alabama.
“First time he touched the football in a varsity game was our opening game with Parkview and he went 60 with the punt for a touchdown," said Dale Weiner, his high school coach. "First time he laid his hands on the ball. He’s compact, very powerful. Powerful built. It’s hard to get your hands on him, control him. His balance is terrific. He’s hard to knock off his feet.”
Edwards-Helaire was the first freshman to play varsity football in Weiner’s 29 seasons at Catholic High. In his senior season, he had 58 carries for 496 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“That was amazing, even though my heart was in my chest," added his mother, Tonge’ Helaire. "I was like, ‘Oh, my God. You not about to pick that ball up’ and he did. Haha. I was like, ‘Run, just run.’ Afterwards, he said, ‘I wasn’t supposed to pick the ball up.’ He said, ‘But it’s like my body picked it, I just couldn’t.’ He said, ‘It was like a reaction’ and he picked it up.”
“My initial thought was, ‘They’re going to be mad at you,’ because I didn’t foresee it finishing the way it did," explained his stepfather, Shannon Helaire. "Because I know he probably shouldn’t have done it but he did it and he ran back, so he got to feel the sweet feel of success on that first game.”
Edwards-Helaire toted the rock 20 times for 103 yards and three touchdowns in the 46-41 win against Alabama. He also caught nine passes for 77 yards and another score. He currently leads the SEC in touchdowns with 12. Edwards-Helaire had 11 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown in the 45-16 win over Ole Miss in 2018.
“We’re very structured. I wouldn’t say that we were extremely strict. But it was a very structured upbringing for all of them. Both working drill instructors for the Department of Corrections. So, I find out she was in the Army. I was in the Marines. So, we knew that we didn’t was to be too strict. We wanted them to be kids and have fun and what not but also raised them with some morals and values that we get from our own upbringing and from our military backgrounds. But it was a lot of structure there,” his stepfather added.
“And we just tried to motivate them. If they participated in something, they were going to finish out. If we buy pads, you’re going to play for the season. Yeah. Can’t get frustrated and quit in the middle. We don’t do the quitting in the middle. And we don’t do the just jumping around, changing teams because you’re upset. We didn’t do that either. That’s been since he started playing. The doubt has been his hype. It’s never his ability. It’s always his hype ‘til he would always ask me, ‘Mom, what else do I have to do? What do I have to do to keep proving myself?’ I told him, ‘Just keep enjoying the game and keep playing.’ Like last year, like I told him. I said, ‘You guys were defeated before you even played, before you even stepped on the field. You know? You let them get in your head. Talk to your teammates. Make sure everybody’s on the right page. You know? Y’all focus. And this is y’all game.’ And I think everybody came with the same mindset. Because that’s a talented group of young men,” his mother noted.
“That was special, that was special. And especially after last season. And to come back in Alabama and have a performance like that overall, and more specifically, him, it was great,” his stepfather also said.
Kickoff between LSU and Ole Miss is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday.