By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
It’s getting to the point LSU may need to keep its remaining healthy offensive linemen secured in bubble wrap until the end of training camp.
Left tackle K.J. Malone has missed time this week “with some slight injuries,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron announced Saturday, but is expected to return Monday.
Center Will Clapp and right tackle Toby Weathersby have also been “in and out” of practice due to minor injuries and didn’t scrimmage Saturday.
“Those guys have been in and out, so we’ve needed some young guys to step up,” Orgeron said.
LSU scrimmaged for the first time Saturday — preseason game No. 1 — with a makeshift offensive line that featured three true freshmen.
True freshman Saahdiq Charles worked at left tackle in Malone’s place. Left guard Garrett Brumfield was in his normal spot while Lloyd Cushenberry moved back over to center in place of Clapp. True freshmen Edward Ingram and Austin Deculus were the right side of the line. Of the five, only Brumfield has ever appeared in an official game.
Orgeron said he’s considered moving Cushenberry back to center full time — he’s presently considered the backup to Clapp — but at this point LSU would rather have the more veteran player at center.
“They could always switch,” Orgeron said.
LSU has had to dial back some of its offensive calls due to the relative experience of its makeshift offensive line, the coach said. He did credit Cushenberry for taking on a greater leadership role while filling in at center.
The “regular camp injuries,” as Orgeron called them, are just the latest test for an already thin offensive line. Starting right guard Maea Teuhema left the program earlier this week, leaving the Tigers with just 11 scholarship linemen on the roster.
“There’s a little being hesitant of going too hard,” Orgeron ceded about his offensive line. “But we are practicing fast and we’re only scrimmaging on Saturday, anyway … We are being physical, but we’re trying to be smart.”
Orgeron also addressed the departure of the two-year starter for the first time since news Wednesday that Teuhema had been suspended indefinitely and subsequently decided to transfer to another school.
“I wish things would’ve turned out different, on LSU’s part, my part especially and the player’s part,” he said. “We tried everything we could to keep him here.”