Les Miles: Missing starters allows LSU to cultivate depth along the offensive line

Offensive linemen

Maea Teuhema could return “late this week”

By JAMES MORAN
Tiger Rag Associate Editor

Les Miles isn’t in any hurry to settle on his five starters across the offensive line.

The coach has a date in his head when he’d like to have a “best five” in mind — not that he’d share it with the media — ahead of LSU’s season-opener against Wisconsin at Lambeau Field, but for now, Miles and Jeff Grimes are simply trying to cultivate as many capable pieces up front as possible.

“The advantage of not having that is you build depth,” Miles said Monday after his Tigers went through the first full-squad practice of fall camp. “And when you get the five back, now you have a few more guys that can step back in there and play for you.”

For instance, the continued absence of left tackle Maea Teuhema has allowed K.J. Malone to take first-team reps at the position. Miles said Teuhema is progressing and could be back on the practice field later this week.

Malone also figures into the competition at left guard, thought Miles suggested Monday that he could remain at tackle moving forward.

“K.J. has a number of spots he can play,” Miles said, “and it’ll be interesting to see if maybe Maea returns to the guard spot.”

Will Clapp, a presumed starter at guard, returned to practice Monday after sitting out Saturday. Miles reiterated Monday that LSU is bringing the sophomore along slowly as he recovers from offseason hip surgery.

“We’re trying to temper his exposure,” Miles said. “We’re building depth on the offensive line. When you take a guy like Clapp out, you put a Garrett Brumfield in or a number of guys that are in position to play significant football.”

NEWS + NOTES

– As of now, Miles said “it appears to him” the plan is for both Cam Cameron and Dave Aranda to coach from the sidelines instead of the press box on game days. That could change, of course, but Miles mentioned it’d be the first time in his career all three of his coordinators — Cameron, Aranda and special teams coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto — coach from the sidelines.

– Outside linebacker Tashawn Bower participated in individual drills Monday and should be a full participant moving forward, Miles said.

– While Monday was the first practice in full pads, Miles said LSU didn’t go “live,” meaning there wasn’t any tackling nor scrimmaging yet. He estimated LSU would go live for roughly 20 snaps this week prior to Saturday’s first scrimmage.

– Miles began the press conference with praise for freshman center Lloyd Cushenberry, who he said “could come in and take snaps and play a significant role.”

About James Moran 1313 Articles
James Moran was named Editor of Tiger Rag in August 2018. He previously served as the associate editor since 2014. He covers LSU football and baseball and is a graduate of the LSU Manship School of Journalism.

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