Lonergan, Hebert on Open Guard Spot

The LSU football team has four days to decide who their new starter at right guard will be.

Good thing LSU head coach Les Miles is a former offensive lineman, because any bit of experience and expertise

Just one week into the season the Tigers have to solve problems up front, namely who will step into the empty right guard spot. The position opened when starting guard Will Blackwell went down with a broken ankle on the team’s first offensive snap against North Carolina.

During Wednesday’s SEC teleconference Miles said that Josh Williford and Matt Branch have seen reps at guard over the last two days. Williford backed up Blackwell throughout the fall, while Branch served as the second man behind starter Josh Dworaczyk at left guard.

“I don’t think there’s any question that it’ll be a little by committee,” said Miles. “We want to keep T-Bob [Hebert] in the center spot so that he’s comfortable there, but he came in and played very well in that game, and the idea that we would return him to that spot is certainly possible.”

The worry with Hebert becomes size. At 6-foot-3, 280-pounds, the junior would serve as one of the smallest guards in the Southeastern Conference. Williford is 6-foot-7, 324-pounds and Branch is 6-foot-6, 287-pounds.

Another possible road would be to shuffle the current line and move a starter into the position.

A backup guard in 2009, Alex Hurst – currently the starting right tackle – could get worked inside. The next name to fill an open spot at tackle would be Chris Faulk. True freshman Evan Washington, who played tackle in high school, was the fifth name at guard this fall, and he worked with the first-team at left guard when both Dworaczyk and Branch were sidelined with illness.

P.J. Lonergan

His most comfortable position…

“I am more comfortable at center and would rather stay at center, but whatever we need to do to get things right is what will have to be done.”

His history at offensive guard…

“I played guard in high school as a sophomore, and some practices I would get in there last year. I am not that experienced. I know what to do, but I am not experienced with having to go through it … I am real comfortable being at the center position, more than anywhere else.”

“It’s one thing knowing what to do and another thing doing it. As a center you are so used to being evened up in your stance and having that ball in your hands, and when you take the ball out of your hands it feels a little more uncomfortable.”

On who steps in at right guard…

“I think coach is trying to work some guys in there … to see who really wants it. It comes down to whose doing the best job and who really wants to go out there and do it.”

Having a new face line up to his right…

“My calls are going to stay the same. It is definitely nice to have someone you have been there playing with. The little things he does in his game that you know are going to happen so you can adjust your block off of that. It’s going to take a little getting used to. Hopefully everything goes smoothly.”

How the offensive line graded out against UNC…

“I thought we had an alright game. I would say an average game. We don’t accept that. If we want to have a great season then we have to be better than average. The last couple of seasons we had down years and we were average.”

 

T-Bob Hebert

His preference on a position…

“I feel like the position I am still best at is center. Will (Blackwell) is a better guard than I am, obviously … I just want to help the team any way I can, to stay ready and be ready to fill in, and do whatever they need me to do.”

On becoming stronger at guard…

“Depending on what decision is made, if I stay out there I am going to put my all into learning that position and excelling at that position so teams aren’t able to point me out as a weak link or try to pick on me. I am going to work my hardest to make that my priority.”

On getting reps against UNC…

“The crazy part about football is that we work so long and so hard and there is only a few days where you really get to go out there and have fun and beat up on other people. I am just thankful I got the opportunity to be out there and play, even though it was under terrible circumstances.”

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