Updated: Mar 7
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by Lonn Phillips Sullivan
Yes, offensive line appears in both our excited and worried lists regarding LSU's 2021 season: there's too many developments we're waiting on at this point.
More than anything, we're placing the O-Line in both places due to the high stakes riding on OL Coach James Cregg's unit.
Cregg has been on the hot seat (sitting both slightly and firmly), even after a strong start to 2022 recruiting or his 2019 Joe Moore Award / National Championship-winning wall that once gave Joe Burrow 11 seconds to throw a pass against Georgia's #1 defense....
Following 2019 and early 2020's glory with a horrifying abyss of 7 sacks vs Miss State, the injury to Myles Brennan after two consecutive vicious hits vs Mizzou or the outlandish performance vs Auburn (5 QB Hits & 4 sacks on T.J Finley, 1 FF from pressure) what happened along the offensive line last year cannot be allowed to occur again.
But remember this: OFFENSIVE LINE SUCCESS IS ALL ABOUT CHEMISTRY...if you have all 5 starting linemen returning, the chemistry should be at an all-time-high, right? Especially considering guys like Ingram, Deculus, Rosenthal and Hines will now enjoy their third season together in the O-Line room under the same O-Line coach....the opportunity for success is at its highest this year...
Frankly, there are no excuses for bad offensive line play this year.
Do I expect center Liam Shanahan to emulate legendary 2019 anchor Lloyd Cushenberry?
He doesn't have to, however, if Shanahan develops even half of the leadership, hunger and vision of Cushenberry, the Tigers will have a world class center on their hands.....interestingly enough, Cush has been working out / hanging out with the O-line and from what I'm hearing, Cush's mentality is rubbing off.
Will Chasen Hines raise his game, delivering on his pre-2020 expectations?
He has more experience than many recognize, just watch him stepping in vs Auburn & Utah State among others in 2019, but could his spot at right guard be under challenge due to a position change from Austin Declulus?
Will inconsistent LT Dare Rosenthal be able to stave off a challenge from Cam Wire? Disregard Rosenthal's NFL pedigree or measurables or talent, Wire looked more impressive overall last year.
Can RT Austin "Re-"Deculus arrive back to his 2019 pinnacle?
Could this be achieved by moving him to right guard?
What about young untested wunderkind Marcus Dumervil or his St. Thomas Aquinas bro Marlon Martinez, two highly skilled members of the 2020 class who saw little time throughout last season's 5-5 abyss, although each Florida-native trenchman have what it takes to develop into top tier professional linemen soon enough.
Is 2020 too soon for those two?
Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but it sure as hell isn't for Kardell Thomas...this is his ultimate chance as an LSU Tiger to prove his critics wrong, yanking the right guard spot out from under Chasen Hines...and he's already off to a flying start through off-season workouts.
Louisiana legacy lineman Thomas Perry looks to follow in his father's Tiger footsteps, though the sophomore will have a large amount of competition in his path, Orgeron is really high on the young man. So are we!
There's also Anthony Bradford, the towering RG skyscraper as well as his fellow Michigan pal, freshman RT/LT Garrett Dellinger, each on the outside looking in right now, but who could very easily sneak in ahead of the competition if injuries, suspensions or transfers occur amongst LSU's starting five (highly unlikely). Still, these two will compete and improve the entire unit across the board, however don't sleep on any Tiger for any position this off-season...
We'll be discussing the offensive line in far more depth on lsuodyssey.com, join us, there are many offensive line fetishist pieces already!
As for our 2021 unit, there will be no room for excuses....and they know it. But I back them to deliver...they want to improve their chemistry, they're aware of what went wrong last year and it seems from the arrival of Jake Peetz & D.J Mangas, the influence of Tiger Legend Lloyd Cushenberry, as well as the return of key offensive analyst "QB whisperer" Jorge Munoz, the offensive line will be under no illusions as to what's expected of each and every one of 'em.
LSU ODYSSEY PROJECTED STARTING 5:
LT Rosenthal or Wire 50/50
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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