Wednesday, October 17, 2012
LSU's offensive line clicking at right time
By Edward Aschoff
What was supposed to be a major strength for LSU has turned into more of a ragtag unit.
LSU's offensive line had the makings to challenge Alabama's as being the nation's best, but injuries have forced Les Miles and his staff to mix and match up front. It hasn't always been pretty, but with three underclassmen starting in the win over South Carolina this past weekend, you could see some obvious growth from LSU's linemen.
Star left tackle Chris Faulk had already been lost for the season, while fellow starting tackle Alex Hurst, who moved from right tackle to left, has been away from the team dealing with personal issues. That left the Tigers with youngsters La'el Collins, Trai Turner and Vadal Alexander to pick up the slack.
And boy did they.
The Tigers beat up South Carolina's talented defensive front and gashed the Gamecocks for 258 rushing yards.
On Wednesday, Miles said that there wasn't a change in game plan when it came to the offensive line; it was just player improvement.
"We've tried to do some things that help us in protection," Miles said. "It really has not changed game plan.
"The shuffling certainly has been an issue, but we really think we're really getting quality play from some of our young players. I don't think it's affected game plan significantly and certainly not play call."
Miles said that he's unsure if Hurst will return to the team this year.
"I do not know the chances of him returning here to this point," he said.
That only opens the door for more playing time for LSU's younger linemen, which, if Saturday was any indication, might not be such a bad thing.
"To this point, we're running the stuff that we would plan to run," Miles said. "We may be a little different with the names and the numbers on the jerseys that are in there playing … but the productivity is something that we'll continue to expect to be at the level of LSU."
Anthony Johnson update
In a Sports Illustrated story discussing possible NCAA violations by former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, current defensive tackle Anthony Johnson was named as a player whose picture was used on fliers promoting a party, which could be considered an NCAA violation if he was aware his likeness was being used to promote something.
Miles said he has spoken to Johnson about the matter and Johnson assured him that he paid to get into a club, but that his likeness used to promote was done so without his permission. Johnson also told Miles that he asked for his picture to be taken off the fliers.
"What I'm told is our guys did the right things and did not participate in a planning stage or a promotional piece," Miles said.