Posted at 6:17 pm on March 16, 2017

With his recovery ahead of schedule, Will Clapp is taking in a “big picture” view of playing center in Matt Canada’s offense

Terrill Weil
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By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor

Spending spring practice recovering from offseason surgery isn’t preventing Will Clapp from preparing to take over as LSU’s starting center in 2017.

Clapp said Thursday that his rehabilitation process is ahead of schedule and he expects to be ready physically or summer workouts. He underwent surgery 10 weeks ago.

“I’m probably four weeks ahead of what I’d normally be doing,” Clapp said. “So the doctors said keep doing what you’re doing and stay on top of it … I’m almost there, I’ve just got to keep working with it.”

Once healthy, the veteran is slated to slide over to center in place on NFL-bound Ethan Pocic after spending the past two seasons as a starting guard. Lloyd Cushenberry is taking first-team reps at center this spring with Clapp out and backup Andy Dodd announcing he’ll transfer.

Clapp worked at center behind Pocic during his true freshman season and has taken reps there in practice since. He helped Pocic make the offensive line calls last season and doesn’t feel the communication aspect of the job will require much of an adjustment.

As far as learning new coordinator Matt Canada’s offense goes, with all its pre-snap shifts and wrinkles, Clapp says his relegation to mental reps on the sidelines has afforded him to take a more wide-angle vision of the new schemes.

“It brings a different point of view because I’m out there and pretty much looking from where the coaches are at,” Clapp said. “I’m seeing things I wouldn’t normally see as a player, and I’m seeing more big picture things. So I think this is actually helping me.

“I’m learning more of the big picture of the offense. I’m learning what everybody is doing and how it affects the defense. As a center, you have to know how the linebackers and safeties are rotating with the amount of shifts we do. And that’s going to help me out.”

The biggest adjustment to Canada’s offense will be the pace, Clapp said. All that shifting and pre-snap adjusting requires the offensive line to get out of the huddle quickly and get set in their stances.

At Pittsburgh, Canada would even shift his offensive tackles prior to the snap. So far, Clapp said, he hasn’t mentioned any potential pre-snap motions for the interior linemen at center or guard.

“But you never know,” Clapp said with a smile. “Canada has been throwing curveballs all offseason.”

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James Moran has been the associate editor of Tiger Rag Magazine since 2014. He covers LSU football and baseball and is a graduate of the LSU Manship School of Journalism.

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