Trial by fire strengthened once-weakening LSU offensive line because backups had to play
BATON ROUGE — Suddenly, LSU coach Ed Orgeron and offensive line coach James Cregg have some fun personnel decisions to make on the offensive line.
As in, who are the best players at the positions, as opposed to, do we have enough to play all the positions?
Who will be at right tackle when the No. 5 Tigers (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) play at No. 22 Florida (4-1, 2-1 SEC) at 2:30 p.m. central time Saturday? Will it be original starter Adrian Magee, a junior who also started there last week after missing three games with an injury?
Or will it be sophomore Austin Deculus, who started two games there before moving to left tackle last week for the Ole Miss game because original starter Saahdiq Charles was hurt? Charles is back this week and expected to start at his usual left tackle slot.
Who will start at left guard? Will it be true freshman Chasen Hines, who replaced the injured Garrett Brumfield in both the Auburn and Louisiana Tech games over the last two weeks? Or will it be sophomore Donavaughn Campbell, who started there against Ole Miss?
Brumfield is LSU's only missing offensive lineman from the group that opened the season against Miami. LSU starting sophomore center Lloyd Cushenberry, who left the Ole Miss game with an injury in the fourth quarter and was called "very, very questionable" by Orgeron on Monday, is now expected to start.
Cushenberry and junior transfer right guard Damien Lewis are LSU's only offensive linemen to start every game. LSU will start its sixth different offensive line combination at Florida.
"Yeah, I think we're about as healthy as we've been on the offensive line," Orgeron said Wednesday on the SEC teleconference. "Having Saahdiq back, having Adrian back — Donavaughn Campbell played well. He can go in there. Lloyd is going to be OK."
Orgeron wouldn't say who would start out of Hines and Campbell at left guard, but both will likely play. So will junior Badara Traore, who has started one game each at right tackle and left tackle.
"We think those guys are going to do a good job there," Orgeron said of left guard. "We can also play Adrian Magee at left guard. He can help us out there."
And true freshman Cole Smith could back up at center as he did last week when Cushenberry was injured.
"Florida has a tremendous defense," Orgeron said. "We have to do a great job with our offensive line. We're getting Saahdiq Charles back this week, so I hope that's going to help us."
"I thought the offensive line did a very good job in the Ole Miss game," Orgeron said. "Coach Cregg deserves the credit for patching up that offensive line. Campbell played very well. Magee played well. "
Florida is tied for second in the SEC with 15 sacks for a SEC-high minus-107 yards.
Pass Rush Help
Orgeron has continued to say his defensive line pressure on the quarterback needs to improve. Of LSU's 13 sacks, only 3.5 have come from defensive linemen — 1.5 from nose tackle Breiden Fehoko, 1.5 from defensive end Neil Farrell Jr. and 0.5 from Justin Thomas.
Orgeron said Wednesday that junior college transfer Travez Moore will play. Moore, who went to Copiah Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Mississippi, after Bastrop High, has played only in the Southeastern Louisiana game this season and has recorded no statistics.
"You're going to see a little bit of Travez this week," Orgeron said. "We're going to continue to build up the line of scrimmage. That's where the game is won."
LSU has corrected a mistake in its media guide that came into play over the weekend.
According to the media guide, the third-best total yards game by an LSU player in history was quarterback Jesse Daigle's 400 yards (394 passing, 6 rushing) in a 28-19 loss to Mississippi State in 1991. In fact, No. 3 on the list should be quarterback Rohan Davey with 427 (444 passing, minus-17 rushing) in a 47-34 win over Illinois in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2002. Daigle, thus, should have been listed at No. 4 behind the omitted Davey.
So when LSU quarterback Joe Burrow totaled 388 yards in the win over Ole Miss Saturday (292 passing and 96 rushing), he was incorrectly written in several outlets as having the fourth-best total offense game in LSU history. He is actually No. 5 on the list.
Davey has the No. 1 total yards game in LSU history with 540 (528 passing, 12 rushing) in a 35-21 win at Alabama in 2001. Quarterback Tommy Hodson is No. 2 with 433 (438 passing, minus-5 rushing) in a 45-39 loss to Tennessee in 1989.
Quote Of The Day
"It's going to be 91 degrees. We know the elements. We have to survive in it and thrive in it."
— LSU coach Ed Orgeron on playing at Florida Saturday.