Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
Freshman Austin Deculus is poised to start for the first time, with Toby Weathersby (66) and K.J. Malone both questionable for Auburn.

LSU likely to start three freshmen on offensive line against Auburn

Alex Hickey

BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU’s offensive line looks like it will be thin on both bodies and experience against an Auburn defense that ranks third in the SEC in sacks.

Tigers coach Ed Orgeron confirmed that starting right tackle Toby Weathersby and starting left tackle K.J. Malone are “questionable” against Auburn on Saturday. Their spots in the starting lineup will likely be taken by freshmen Saahdiq Charles and Austin Deculus, both of whom played significant time against Florida.

The Florida game marked Deculus’ first time on the field since facing Chattanooga in cleanup time. Just a week earlier in Florida, Orgeron said that Deculus wasn’t quite ready yet, but injuries forced the freshman into the mix.

“I’ve said it all along — these guys can handle the physicality of the game,” Orgeron said. “Obviously, [Austin] made some freshman mistakes, but I’m sure [offensive line coach] Jeff [Grimes] will do a good job of correcting them this week. He’s going to make mistakes. But we’ve got to live with them.”

With right guard Ed Ingram already thrown into that mix, LSU faces the possibility of playing three freshmen on the offensive line. But Orgeron said the LSU offense isn’t going to hold anything back to protect its two inexperienced tackles.

“We have to run our offense,” Orgeron said. “We have to do what we need to do, and they have to execute. We’re going in there full-speed running our offense and doing the things we need to do to be successful.”

Sophomore Adrian Magee has also seen practice reps with the No. 1 offensive line at a variety of positions.

“He’s been swinging a lot of places for us, both guard and tackle,” Orgeron said. “He hasn’t started for us yet, but he can do a good job if we need him. He has played a lot of snaps for us with the 1s this week.”

Fellow sophomore Lloyd Cushenberry also practiced with the first unit at center this week. Starter Will Clapp briefly left the Florida game with what he termed a “stinger” in his left leg before returning to play the rest of the game.