Which Backup Offensive Linemen Have Best Chance to Earn Starting Spot For LSU Football?

Freshman Dellinger, veteran Bradford among the likeliest candidates to earn time under fresh eyes from new coach Brad Davis
Author:
Updated:
Original:

New offensive line coach Brad Davis has made a name for himself not just in the recruiting world over the last handful of years but also as a coach who gets the most out of the group that he leads. 

Because LSU is littered with inexperience behind the presumed starting lineup this season was one of the reasons Ed Orgeron made the change from James Cregg and to bring in Davis. Orgeron went as far as to call Davis a "game changer" for the offense this next season because of his ability to develop and recognize young talent.

"All of us in the profession knew about Davis," Orgeron said on Off the Bench the week after the hire news broke. "Up and coming coach, I know several schools were after him but he wanted to come to one school. I always wanted to be back in Baton Rouge, always wanted to coach for the Tigers and represent the state."

Since the start of spring it's been assumed that LSU would roll out the same unit it primarily went with during the 2020 season. Dare Rosenthal and Austin Deculus as the tackles, Ed Ingram and Chasen Hines at the two guard spots and Liam Shanahan anchoring the middle at center. 

But with a pair of fresh eyes now with Davis aboard, there will likely be a new sense of rejuvenation within this group and there are a few players that come to mind who could push the starters come fall camp at the end of July. Maybe Davis can finally be the coach who can get the most out of Anthony Bradford, a player who talent wise, Orgeron says is near the top on the offensive line. 

The problem with unlocking Bradford's immense promise has been trying to keep his weight under control and trying to get through to him in terms of consistency and approach on a daily basis. If there's a weak link with the starting lineup it was on the inside with Hines and with Bradford being a guard there could be an opening. 

It was a small sample size and nothing really to make any sweeping judgments on the offensive line with no running attack, but the defensive line was able to apply pressure on the quarterbacks during the spring game. By bringing Davis aboard, the hope is for there to not be a significant dropoff between the starters and backups, allowing for possibly more substitutions throughout the course of a game.

Freshman tackle Garrett Dellinger has a ton of promise as one of the higher ranked offensive line recruits from the 2021 recruiting cycle. He enrolled early and has a chance to develop quickly under Davis and maybe find his way to the field early. The same can be said for veteran Charles Turner, who appeared in eight games on the interior of the line in 2020. 

There is talent to work with as high profile recruits like Kardell Thomas and Marcus Dumervil have yet to make any sort of impact with the program after being relatively high recruits in their respective classes. Dumervil redshirted as a true freshman while Thomas has battled through numerous injuries but is entering this offseason with a clean bill of health.

All of these players who aren't considered starters at the moment, should enter this training camp with a ton to prove, mainly because of Davis and the openness he'll likely have to coaching the group. While drastic changes to the starting lineup aren't likely because of all the veteran leadership that exists, closing that gap which Orgeron called wide in the spring, will be a primary point to address for LSU's offensive line.