With the entire offensive line returning for the Tigers, there is newfound energy within this lineman group as each player is looking to make their mark in the rotation.
Veteran leadership will play a key role in the development of the younger guys as returning starters Austin Deculus and Chasen Hines look to mentor and lead this offensive line to another Joe Moore award.
“We’re all just really improving as a group,” said Deculus. “With the offensive line, you just feed off the person next to you. You’re only as good as the person next to you.”
With a handful of the younger linemen stepping up so far in spring, Anthony Bradford and Garrett Dellinger are two names to keep an eye on with the potential to fly up the depth chart. Bradford has been with the program for a few years now and should be ready to make that next leap with the program.
Dellinger, the highly recruited offensive tackle out of Michigan, figures to be a big part of this unit's future but has certainly gathered the attention of some of the veteran's on the roster. As an early enrollee himself a few years back, Deculus can relate to the difficulty of coming in at such a young age against grown men.
“Anthony Bradford has really stepped up his game,” Deculus said. “He can literally move anyone off the ball. Garrett Dellinger, freshman that came in, has been doing extremely well actually, for a freshman that should still be in high school. I feel the pain, I know how I was going through all of that since I came in at 17 (years old).”
With all starters from last year’s lineman group back for this season, there is a focus on the depth and improvement of the backups to help provide key minutes for the Tigers.
Developing continuity is something this linemen core has been hitting on throughout the offseason, meeting every Saturday for extra work, something that has been ongoing for a few years now.
"On Saturday’s, usually every O-linemen is doing drills, we’re working or doing something in our off time to bond," Hines said.
With a year under their belt as a group, the offensive line has taken tremendous strides in the right direction within the entire offense as a whole. Stability throughout the offense and allowing time for the quarterbacks to develop plays is one thing this group has been keying in on.
“It gives the entire offense time for our playmakers to make plays in space, and that’s the best thing about this offense. Whenever you’re doing that, you’re starting to have fun and the camaraderie (builds),” said Deculus.
As inconsistency up front halted the Tigers on a multitude of occasions last season, the development of both the starters and backups has been on full display throughout these first few weeks of spring.
An offseason to develop and build chemistry with Deculus, Hines and many of the young returning players on the roster gives the program every opportunity to improve as a unit in 2021.
“This team and this chemistry is the most unselfish team out there,” said Hines. “When things get tough, we evolve around each other.”
The leadership of returning players will play a major role in the growth of this Tigers group from last year to now. As new faces begin getting a taste of what it feels like to be an LSU Tiger, this group's camaraderie will only continue growing.