|LM Otero / Associated Press|
|Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk is confident that he will be in the mix for the Heisman Trophy.|
DALLAS -- Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk is making up for lost time, showing off both his trademark speed and confidence in abundance.
Seastrunk also declared an end to the 2013 Heisman Trophy race, guaranteeing he will win college football's most prestigious award in an interview with The Sporting News last December.
It is a far cry from Seastrunk's star-crossed time at Oregon, where he was buried on the depth chart behind LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas and became a main figure in the NCAA investigation of the Ducks' recruiting practices.
Seastrunk also struggled in Oregon's demanding zone running scheme, with one observer describing his first season in Eugene as "running around like a chicken without its head." It shouldn't have been a surprise, as Seastrunk played in a Wing-T offense in high school that didn't exactly require him to be a disciplined runner between the tackles.
"It just takes time," Seastrunk said at Big 12 media days earlier this week. "I came from an offense that ran side to side, wasn't used to doing it."
But Seastrunk proved to be a fine inside runner during that late-season surge, which he credits to added instruction from Baylor head coach Art Briles and running backs coach Jeff Lebby.
"They took the time to walk me through it. I had all the right tools," Seastrunk said. "I proved that I could run inside the tackles. You seen it during K-State, you see it during Oklahoma State, you seen it during Kansas."
The biggest difference, however, is that Briles gave Seastrunk the license to be himself, as exemplified by his Heisman pronouncement.
Asked for Briles' reaction to the interview, Seastrunk said: "He said, 'If you believe that, I believe that, too. Let's go.'"
Teammates have also embraced Seastrunk's naturally self-assured disposition.
"We love to hear confidence," guard Cyril Richardson. "We love to hear our guys be confident in what they can do because when we have a guy like that behind us it fires us up, gets us ready to go."
Summing up his Heisman candidacy and Baylor's Big 12 title hopes, Seastrunk said, "Why not? Why not us?"
Quick and bold, summing up Seastrunk perfectly.
Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.