BATON ROUGE, La. — With projected starting right guard Maea Teuhema exiting the program, the LSU offensive line does not have much cushioning for injuries.
It does, however, have a Cushenberry.
Redshirt freshman Lloyd Cushenberry, who entered camp as LSU’s backup center, will now compete for Teuehma’s vacated starting role along with sophomore Donovaughn Campbell.
“It’s a great opportunity for me right now,” Cushenberry said on Wednesday afternoon. “I have to take it one at a time and get better every day. I have to learn as much as I can and be prepared for the first game.”
With Will Clapp sitting out this spring as he recovered from shoulder surgery and Andy Dodd transferring to McNeese State, Cushenberry was temporarily thrust into a role as the Tigers’ No. 1 center. He was prepared.
“I knew I had to step up when Andy transferred. Even if he was there, I knew I was going to have to step up,” Cushenberry said. “I just felt like it’s my opportunity I’ve been waiting for and it’s my time.”
Cushenberry drew rave reviews from Ed Orgeron throughout the spring, though ultimately nothing he did was going to be enough to supplant an all-conference pick like Clapp.
“I come every day with the same focus,” Cushenberry said. “Even in the spring, though I knew I would be a backup, being a starter was just one play away. I’ve still got to step up every day and come with the mindset that I am starting.”
Now there’s a chance he might be living out that mindset. Perhaps more than anything, it’s his diligent approach that has gotten him to this opportunity.
“In my free time, I take time to look at the playbook on my iPad,” he said. “That’s all I do. I don’t like to go out or anything. I’ve always been a huge football fan and a student of the game. I love watching film.”
Though the Dutchtown (La.) graduate practiced exclusively at center this spring, he entered August camp knowing how to handle himself one spot over on the line.
“(Spring) helped a lot. Center, you have to know everything. Even the tight end’s job,” Cushenberry noted. “So that’s a big help for me being at guard.”
If Cushenberry does end up starting the year at right guard, the question then revolves around who will back up Clapp in case of emergency. It could still be Cushenberry, of course, with another player taking over at guard. He noted that left tackle KJ Malone and left guard Garrett Brumfield are also taking snaps at center just in case.
Teuhema, who was suspended indefinitely at the beginning of camp, was granted a transfer by LSU coach Ed Orgeron on Wednesday.