Arkansas offensive lineman DeMarcus Love passed his first test in the Razorbacks' 45-31 win at Mississippi State last Saturday.
Now, the redshirt freshman faces an even bigger task when Arkansas (7-4, 3-4 in Southeastern Conference) plays top-ranked LSU (10-1, 6-1) in Tiger Stadium — blocking LSU All-American defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey.
"He has no weaknesses, really," Love said. "He's a really good player."
Love, who earned his first start against the Bulldogs, will stay in the lineup for Arkansas' regular-season finale. Last week, the 6-foot-5, 307-pound Love filled for senior Robert Felton, who moved out to left tackle to replace injured starter Jose Valdez last Saturday. Felton said he'll do a good job again.
"When you have a new guy come in, especially that young, you think there's going to be a dropoff," Felton said. "Something's going to go wrong. We're going to have to do extra work. But he ran extra after practice to get in shape because he's never been in a game situation. He took extra sets. He was working with (offensive line) coach (Mike) Markuson, meeting with him early. He did an excellent job of stepping up. He's going to do an excellent job against LSU."
Love credited the experienced players alongside him — center Jonathan Luigs and right tackle Nate Garner — with helping him adjust throughout the Mississippi State game. The Razorbacks put together a 429-yard effort against the Bulldogs and the offensive line bounced back from its poor outing at Tennessee.
Coach Houston Nutt said Love deserves credit for the success.
Love was happy to help after spending most of the season on the sidelines.
"It made me just be able to pick up the speed of the game and how it really goes when you're out there on the field and everything," Love said. "I was able to just get used to the strength of the players and all of that."
Arkansas is hoping it was an important tune-up for the Tigers, who are ranked second in the nation in total defense (257.6 yards a game) and ninth in points allowed (17.4). Markuson, who called Love a "hard-hitting" player that has waited patiently for his opportunity to play, is confident he won't disappoint Friday.
Love said he isn't planning on it.
"It feels good to play the No. 1 team in the country," Love said. "Any time you can show you're able to compete with the No. 1 team, it's real good."
HI.com Feature: DeMarcus Love
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