Even if for a short period, manning a starting spot on the college level for the first time can do wonders for a player's confidence.
The LSU defense, under first-year coordinator Kevin Steele, is hoping that's the case for a pair of opportunistic Tigers - outside linebacker Duke Riley and defensive end Arden Key - this Fall Camp.
Riley, a junior, is getting run with the ones due to a strained pectoral muscle suffered by presumed starter Lamar Louis, returning for his senior season at the strongside linebacker position.
Key, who has lit TigerTown on fire since arriving a week ago from Georgia, is taking starters reps as a true freshman due to the recent absence of junior Tashawn Bower.
In Riley's case, Louis is still at practice in a green jersey, giving the distinct impression the latter will return before long to a position he more or less owned in 2014. Still, Steele is seeking a competent fourth 'backer to play this fall, and Riley is getting one heck of an audition period for more playing time in 2015 after spending much of his career on special teams.
As for Key, he seems a virtual lock to contribute on third downs and in obvious pass-rush situations. But what we've seen over the last two days, sans Bower, is that position coach Ed Orgeron thinks enough of him to throw him in their with the wolves in the starting unit.
When the dust settles it is entirely possible that Key and Isaiah Washington, another incoming freshman with great size, crash the top four in Coach O's playing rotation at defensive end.
So even if the absences of Louis and Bower are short, LSU's defense may benefit from this stretch of time in the long run.