Collins readies for bigger role

Having the benefit of a bona fide blue chip offensive lineman grow up in your back yard is a nice luxury. La'el Collins grew up cheering for the hometown LSU Tigers, so the talented sled pusher relishes the chance to be one of the men in the middle when the Tigers take to the field this fall. Collins took his first snaps of the 2012 practice sessions at guard this morning.

"Right now I am just trying to play where my team needs me," said Collins. "I am playing guard right now.

"I know I am a guy who can play inside or out, but I want to do one thing at a time to the best of my ability.

"I want to learn to be a dominant inside player and a dominant outside player.

"I am determined to work hard this camp. I am focused and ready to do what ever I need to do to help the team be better."

Collins believes that his work during the summer conditioning sessions will pay off for him this fall.

"I feel like I am stronger and that I am going to have more explosiveness," said Collins. "Working with Coach Moffitt over the summer has definitely helped me.

"I can see a difference in myself.

"I worked with other lineman and other people to get better as an offensive lineman with the small things.

"I am focusing more on the details of being a better offensive lineman."

The Redemptorist alum reports that seeing himself on film was a very educational experience.

Having the benefit of some quality film study has helped Collins fine tune some of his skills.

"You can never stop getting better," said Collins. "Coach is always telling us that.

"There are so many things I have learned that I want to work on this year to be a better player.

"Everything I do is something I can do better."

Playing for a former offensive lineman like Les Miles allows Collins to gain some valuable insight into what his head coach wants from the O line.

"Coach Miles is real big on technique," said Collins. "He has really taught me how important your stance is and how important that first step is.

"He is always talking to us about getting our hat to the right side and different things that other people might think are just minor things."

The Tigers were voted #1 in the polls that came out today, but Collins is quick to caution that the only poll that counts is the final one.

"We are just out here working hard," said Collins. "We've always come out here and worked hard no matter what people said in the polls.

"I am glad that we've been able to accomplish what we have in the past.

"They say we're the #1 team, but it's up to us to work hard and uphold that at the end of the season."

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