LSU’s highly-anticipated football season gets underway March 7 with the start of spring practices.
Each day, SEC Country will take a look at one key position group on the LSU roster and analyze the talent returning, the departures and the new additions while providing expert analysis on the most prominent storylines to keep an eye on.
The spring football preview series will continue weekdays through March 4.
Offensive line coach: Jeff Grimes
Key returners: Ethan Pocic, Maea Teuhema, William Clapp
Other returners: Toby Weathersby, K.J. Malone, Andy Dodd, Josh Boutte, George Brown, Garrett Brumfield, Adrian Magee, Chidi Okeke, Jevonte Domond
Newcomers: Willie Allen, Jakori Savage, Lloyd Cushenberry III, Donavaughn Campbell
Departures: Vadal Alexander, Jerald Hawkins
Outlook: For a team that’s expected to contend for a national championship, LSU must first figure out who will be starting along the offensive line.
The entire interior part of the line returns, headlined by center Ethan Pocic as well as guards Maea Teuhema and William Clapp.
Pocic opted to return to LSU for his senior season, making him the elder statesman and de-facto leader of the group.
Teuhema started the final 10 games of the season at left guard and was named a freshman All-American by ESPN. Likewise, Clapp started 11 games, mostly at right guard, and received the same honor by Sporting News and USA Today, and was named to the SEC Coaches’ All-Freshman squad.
While the interior portion up front is rock solid, the Tigers will have to find a way to fill both tackle spots.
Vadal Alexander and Jerald Hawkins are both preparing for the 2016 NFL Draft, leaving major holes for some of the young members of the team and newcomers to compete for.
George Brown, Toby Weathersby and Jevonte Domond are among the incumbents considered the top contenders to nab a starting job — or least make a push in that direction — this spring.
Weathersby saw time in all 11 games in 2015, including a start at right tackle against Ole Miss late in the season. He is the most experienced of the bunch, as both Brown and Domond have been used solely in reserve roles.
While Weathersby may have an already edge for one of the tackle positions, competition is on the way.
Four-star New Orleans tackle Willie Allen should be considered a strong contender to start as a true freshman. The 6-foot-7, 310-pound product from John Curtis Christian School was one of the key gets in LSU’s 2016 recruiting class.
After proving his pass-blocking ability at the Under Armour All-American Game, Allen will need a strong summer camp to assure himself of a spot. He’s already a known run-blocker with superb athleticism and an elite frame, but he does have some catching up to do to prepare for the speed of the SEC.
Here’s a look at our past and upcoming previews:
- Quarterback an area of stability entering 2016
- Heisman Trophy hopeful headlines talented backfield
- Newcomers aim to make instant impact at wide receiver
- Last year’s surprise the clear-cut tight end
- Feb. 29: Defensive front boasts strength in numbers