First Start for Faulk

The patchwork on the LSU offensive line continued Saturday afternoon, this time at right tackle. Go inside to hear Chris Faulk and the Tigers talk about the redshirt freshman's first career start.

After Alex Hurst went down in the Alabama game, junior Greg Shaw got the call to step in against Marcel Dareus and Co. Shaw then got his first career start a week later against UL-Monroe.

All the while, Les Miles hinted in the week prior to LSU's showdown with Ole Miss that some other players were “getting a look” on the right side.

Enter Chris Faulk.

The redshirt freshman made his first start in Tiger Stadium on the same day that many would get their last: Senior Day against Ole Miss. The coaching staff informed Faulk the Monday prior to Ole Miss week that he – not Shaw or Hurst – would get the start against the Rebels.

“It was crazy,” Faulk said. “I was anxious to play. I've been waiting for this for a long time. I haven't started since high school.”

A four-star prospect from Northshore High School in Slidell, Faulk had been used sparingly this season in short yardage sets. After Saturday night, Miles raved about the youngster's performance.

“My impressions are pretty good of the young Faulk-man playing ball, don't you think,” said Miles in a tone appropriate for conversation from a former offensive lineman to a budding one. “He stepped out there and ran like heck.

“I didn't go to grab him in between series either. The guys he was supposed to block, he blocked. My impression from the sideline was ‘way to go.’”

Prior to the Alabama game Faulk had been working exclusively at left tackle behind senior Joe Barksdale. Hurst's injury prompted the switch to the right side, a move Faulk welcomed.

“On the left side you got to go against a lighter, faster person,” he said. “The right side, usually he's more of a heavier person. The right side is more comfortable for me, but I can do the left.”

Barksdale, a defensive tackle coming out of high school, made the move from right tackle over to left tackle during the spring.

Needless to say, he can relate.

“It's difficult, but Chris has been working hard,” Barksdale said. “This is his second year here, and after your redshirt year, you're fair game for play. He knew that, and he was ready.”

The readiness should come as no surprise.

Five Tiger offensive lineman have made their first career start in 2010. Throw in T-Bob Hebert and Barksdale, who started games at new positions in 2010, and you've got a virtual recipe for disaster.

Yet through all of the bumps and bruises, or "nicks" as Miles would affectionately refer to them, the group has paved the way for one of the SEC's most potent rushing attacks.

The offensive line, to a man, would tell you that their chemistry off of the field contributes to their success between the lines.

“We're pretty close, and I just love being around those guys,” Faulk said. “Everybody is real close. We all have our own inside jokes.”

Hebert said of the group: “As an o-line, as a whole, we're real close. I think it's one of those things, when you like each other it just subconsciously transfers on to the football field. We've had a lot of guys go in there and everybody seems to go in there and do their job.”

The guy that benefits most: quarterback Jordan Jefferson.

“We always have to have guys prepared, and we knew injuries were probably going to occur, so those young guys took it upon themselves to prepare and to get in the game when the time comes.”

The time for Faulk came against Ole Miss, and with Hurst's status uncertain for LSU’s trip to Little Rock, the 6-foot-6, 315-pounder knows that he must be ready to go if his number is called again.

But as much as he enjoyed getting his first start since high school, Faulk still has a yearning for Hurst – the man he replaced - to get back to full strength.

“We need everybody,” he said. “Everybody has been dropping on the offensive line. We need everybody healthy.”

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