By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Toby Weathersby has dealt with so many injuries in his two-plus seasons at LSU that he can’t rattle the list of ailments off the top of his head.
Well, he probably could if he thought about it enough, but at this point, the Tigers’ junior offensive tackle would rather flush all of that negativity from his mind.
“I really can’t run through it,” he laughed. “I’ve just had my injuries and I’m putting them in the past. I don’t really want to think about them right now.”
A brief refresher: Weathersby started LSU’s first three games at right tackle last season before suffering an ankle injury that’d cause him to miss the next four games.
Maea Teuhema took over the starting job and Weathersby spent the rest of the season working as an extra tackle. He then missed all of spring practice due to an unspecified offseason surgery.
“It was pretty frustrating,” Weathersby said, “but I always looked on the brighter side that my day was going to come around.”
That day has come.
Though he still views it as a competition, Weathersby once again begins training camp as LSU’s starting right tackle. He weighs 305 pounds, which is right where his coaches want him, and though still striving to improve his hand placement and footwork, LSU coach Ed Orgeron has repeatedly referred to him as one of the starting five up front.
And with Teuhema, LSU’s projected at right guard, presently absent from practice due to an academic issue, he and left tackle K.J. Malone are the only tackles in camp with game experience.
Perhaps most importantly, the big Texan — one of the few true tackles recruited under Les Miles and the old regime — is feeling as healthy as he has since stepping foot on campus.
“I feel pretty good,” Weathersby said before taking a pause. “I feel great actually.”
That’s going to need to continue at a position Orgeron described as a serious concern of his — not the quality of his two starters, but in terms of depth.
It’s not a concern shared by Weathersby or Malone. Both veteran tackles rebuffed the idea that LSU is short of quality depth behind them.
Redshirt-freshman Jakori Savage spent the entire spring taking first-team reps in Weathersby’s stead at right tackle and continues to work behind him there in camp. Adrian Magee is also in the mix.
True freshman Austin Deculus, a mid-year enrollee, continues to work behind Malone at left tackle. He’s “losing the baby fat” he had coming in, according to Weathersby, and appears lightyears ahead of where he was in the spring.
“The young guys behind us, all of them are ready,” Weathersby said. “They’ve been practicing. They’ve been here during the summer time. They know their steps their plays and what steps to take. They have their technique. They are ready.”
“They’ve been doing great,” Malone echoed. “Me and Toby have just been talking to them and keeping them up. So far they’ve accepted the challenge of it.”
Perhaps one of those younger linemen are ready to step in and play at a high level in the Southeastern Conference.
Maybe Orgeron is mistaken and LSU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes is way ahead of schedule in replenishing the talent at tackle.
However, for the time being, LSU is crossing its fingers Weathersby and Malone will stay healthy enough that they don’t have to find out.