Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
Injuries had LSU counting on freshmen offensive linemen like Austin Deculus during its Saturday scrimmage.

Thin LSU offensive line gets even thinner during Tigers’ first fall scrimmage

Alex Hickey

BATON ROUGE, La. — They say it always gets darkest before dawn, so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that the already-thin LSU offensive line got even more barren for the Tigers’ first fall scrimmage.

With veterans Will Clapp, Toby Weathersby and KJ Malone held out of practice and Maea Teuhema leaving the program earlier this week, LSU’s offensive line was downright unfamiliar on Saturday afternoon.

Malone was shelved with a “minor” injury, while Clapp and Weathersby are being monitored carefully this August as they rehab from surgeries that kept them on the shelf for spring practices.

“Obviously that’s a concern,” said coach Ed Orgeron. “KJ’s been in and out of the lineup with some injuries. We feel like he’ll be back Monday. Will Clapp’s been in and out. We’ve been watching the reps we take with him. And the same with Toby.”

The No. 1 offensive line on Saturday consisted of true freshman Saahdiq Charles (left tackle), junior Garrett Brumfield (left guard), redshirt freshman Lloyd Cushenberry (center), true freshman Ed Ingram (right guard) and true freshman Austin Deculus (right tackle). That quintet has combined for one college start.

“The guys I’m really impressed with are the freshmen on the offensive line,” Orgeron said. “They’re getting a lot of reps. I look at Austin Deculus as a veteran already even though he’s only been here since spring. Those guys are getting a lot of repetition and I think they did a very good job today.”

With the unit low on numbers, Orgeron isn’t pushing the O-line as much as he normally might.

“There’s a little being hesitant of going too hard,” Orgeron said. “But we are practicing fast. It’s not like we’re scrimmaging every day. We’re only scrimmaging on Saturdays. We are being physical, but we are staying up and trying to be smart.”

Orgeron made it clear that the absence of the veterans should be viewed as temporary, and sees it as a plus that the inexperienced group behind them is getting reps against the No. 1 defense.

“Those guys have stepped up,” he said. “None of these injuries are injuries that are going to last a long time. They’re just regular camp injuries.”

Orgeron is also confident enough in LSU’s overall depth with walk-ons on the lower rungs of the offensive line that it won’t be necessary to convert a defensive lineman or tight end.

“There were some thoughts of (moving) some guys, but it just didn’t pan out,” Orgeron said.

LSU scrimmage stats — August 5, 2017

Passing

Danny Etling: 5-for-11, 86 yards, 2 TDs

Myles Brennan: 1-for-4

Justin McMillan: 1-for-2

Lowell Narcisse: 1-for-2

Lindsay Scott Jr.: 1-for-2

Receiving

JaCoby Stevens: 2 catches

Darrel Williams: 1 catch, 32 yards, TD

Drake Davis: 1 catch, 15 yards

Russell Gage: 1 catch, 28 yards, TD

Rushing

Derrius Guice: 7 carries, 23 yards

Darrel Williams: 8 carries, 40 yards

Clyde Helarie-Edwards: 6 carries, 19 yards

Defense

K’Lavon Chaisson: 3 tackles (3 TFL), 1 sack, 4 quarterback hurries

Stats were provided by Ed Orgeron and are not complete. Each unit ran approximately 30 plays.