SEC Country is examining each LSU position group following the Tigers’ spring as we await the start of fall camp.
Tuesday’s breakdown features LSU’s 2016 collection of offensive linemen.
You should already know: Maea Teuhema, Ethan Pocic, William Clapp
Analysis: Perhaps no position group on the LSU roster was ravaged by more change than the offensive line.
The Tigers will be forced to replace both starting tackles from last season, as Vadal Alexander and Jerald Hawkins were both selected in the 2016 NFL Draft.
But instead of reloading, LSU appears to be reshuffling.
This spring, the coaches shifted Maea Teuhema outside to replace Hawkins at left tackle, and inserted Toby Weathersby on the other side. The line’s most experienced contributor, center Ethan Pocic, and freshman starter William Clapp were both sidelined this spring, leaving Garrett Brumfield and Josh Boutte to see reps inside at guard.
When fall camp rolls and the offensive linemen are back at full strength, expect the following starting lineup: LT Teuhema, LG Clapp, C Pocic, RG Boutte, RT Weathersby. That leaves Brumfield as the backup guard for the right and left spots, and K.J. Malone as a swing tackle.
Key question: Can LSU’s new tackles make a seamless transition? Between Hawkins and Alexander, the Tigers’ tackles boasted seven years of starting experience in college. Fast forward to this season, and LSU has its starting left guard now outside at tackle and another lineman with one career start opposite of him. Of course, this concern could be negated by an effective short-passing attack and a solid run game. Pocic and Clapp are veterans on the inside, and Boutte has seen a fair share of action in the past two years.
Bottom line: The new-look Tigers offensive line may have its work cut out for them, but it’s ultimately the best five players the team can use up front. Depth is not a luxury for the unit this season. Aside from Malone and Brumfield, coach Jeff Grimes has a lot of unproven, inexperienced talent remaining on the roster. Health will be key for LSU up front, particularly for a unit that features only two seniors.