Arkansas Native Returns To State As LSU Cente

FAYETTEVILLE — Brett Helms is looking forward to playing in War Memorial Stadium again on Friday. His last visit in 2002 was more than productive as he and his Stuttgart High teammates won the state championship.

A championship is not on the line this time, but the 6-foot-2, 290-pound LSU sophomore center knows there is a lot at stake when No. 9 LSU meets No. 5 Arkansas at 1:30 p.m. Friday on CBS. Helms, however, won't be the center of attention. That honor goes to Tigers quarterback JaMarcus Russell. "He's an amazing guy to play with," Helms told the Baton Rouge Advocate earlier this month. "He's one of the best athletes I've ever seen. He makes mistakes, but so what? "He knows how to keep his head on." Helms, not knowing things would come down to this at the end of the regular season, projected ahead. An almost back-to-the-future thought that can still hold true. "There are some big things out there for us," said Helms in a New Orleans Times-Picayune story earlier this season. "It's in our minds not to lose another game, but then we never expect to do that." And if LSU expects to do that Friday, Helms, a converted guard, probably will play a major role. Or, at least that's what Tigers coach Les Miles might think. "I don't know if Brett Helms is not the best center," Miles told Gannett newspapers and online services. "He's adjusted well to center. He's built well for it. "I like Helms at center." Helms admitted he wasn't sure about the move since he's been groomed as a guard for most of his playing career. Remember, Helms opened last year as the starter at left guard. He played in five games with two starts. Helms saw limited action against Florida and Auburn before suffering a season-ending ankle injury against North Texas. For the record, he played a total of 105 snaps from scrimmage and had 3 pancakes and 22 knockdowns. Also, he allowed only one sack and one quarterback pressure and was whistled for one penalty. "Now that I'm getting used to center, I really don't know," Helms said. "I'm more comfortable at center now that I've been playing it. Because I'm a little shorter, a little lighter, I think I have a good body for a center. "So, I don't know. It may be my natural position." FRIDAY'S TICKET NO. 9 LSU AT NO. 5 ARKANSAS WHEN: 1:30 p.m. WHERE: War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock TV: CBS (Cox Cable, channel 5) RADIO: KXIO-FM 106.9; KEZA-FM 107.9; KKEG-FM 92.1; KFPW-AM 1230; KQBK-FM 104.7; KHGG-AM 1580; KHGG-FM 103.1; KDYN-AM 1540; KDYN-FM 96.7; KTTG-FM 96.3 RECORDS: LSU (9-2 overall, 5-2 in Southeastern Conference), Arkansas (10-1, 7-0) LAST MEETING: LSU defeated Arkansas 19-17 in Baton Rouge, Nov. 25, 2005 LATEST LINE: Even Did You Know? LSU center Brett Helms was born in Pine Bluff and played his high school football in Stuttgart. In 2002, Stuttart went 14-0 and won the Class AAAA state championship. His father, Ronnie, graduated from LSU with a Ph.D. in agronomy and his mother, Margaret, is a native of Baton Rouge. Hobbies include hunting and fishing. Favorite movie is "The Sandlot" and his favorite subject is math.

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