Tiger Rag POSITION OVERVIEW: Offensive Line

Coming into the 2006 season, LSU had several questions about its offensive line.

Those questions were answered as a young group of big men stepped-up gelling into one of the best offensive fronts in the SEC.

 

The entire left side of the Tigers front line is back as well as their center. LSU did lose the starting right side with the departure of Peter Dyakowski and Brian Johnson, but will have veteran backups to serve as replacements.

 

A preseason all-American heading into the 2006 season, Will Arnold missed much of last year with ankle and knee injuries. He sat out most of spring drills as well as the LSU Spring Game. However, the 2005 second-team All-SEC selection is slated to take over the right guard spot this fall and not miss a beat from where he was heading into the 2006 campaign.

 

"He's had surgery, he's healthy and he's working hard," offensive coordinator Gary Crowton said. "He'll be back in the mix."

 

The Sporting News feels Arnold will be a lot more than just in the mix as they tabbed the Centerville, Mississippi native as the best offensive guard in the country for 2007.

 

Taking over for Dyakowski at right tackle will be converted defender, senior Carnell Stewart. Stewart, in his second-year on the O-line, joins Arnold as the only other senior offensive linemen.

 

The New Orleans native played defensive tackle for perennial powerhouse John Curtis Christian and followed suit his first three season as a Tiger. But he made the move to offense prior to last season and adds another big body to the right side of the line at 6-5, 311 pounds.

 

One of the Tigers biggest surprises – no pun intended – in 2006 came in the shape of the 6-5, 314-pound Ciron Black.

 

Black won the starting spot as a redshirt freshman and started every game in 2006 on his way to being named to the Sporting News' SEC All-Freshman Team as well as being a member of the 2006 SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll.

 

The only man who could make Black look small is the player who lines up next to him, junior Herman Johnson.

 

When Johnson signed with the Tigers he weighed close to 400 pounds. Now at a 6-7 and a slender 351 pounds, Johnson, who is the biggest player to ever play for the Tigers, will again be a force to be reckoned with at left guard.

 

The man in the middle of the line again will be junior Brett Helms.

 

Helms was listed as the starter at left guard going into the 2005 season, but nagging injuries kept him from finishing the season. In 2006, the Arkansas native beat-out fellow junior Ryan Miller for the starting center spot and has been there ever since.

 

Another linemen looking to see the field in 2007 is Baton Rouge native Lyle Hitt.

 

Hitt will be slated at the No. 2 guard spot this season and could see early action as Arnold tries to get back to 100 percent.

 

The 6-2, 284-pound Hitt played on the defensive line at Parkview Baptist High School, but moved to the offensive side of the ball this spring.

 

- Keith Claverie

 

 

2007 OFFENSIVE LINE

 

53  T-Bob Hebert OL 6-3 260 Fr. HS Norcross, Ga. (Greater Atlanta Christian HS)

 

55  Andrew Decker OL 6-3 284 Jr. 1L Holland, Ohio (St. John's HS/Toledo) 

 

57  Richard Dugas C 6-0 250 Fr. RS Lincoln, Neb. (Pius X HS)

 

59  Cole Louviere OL 6-5 286 Jr. SQ River Ridge, La. (Archbishop Rummel HS)

 

61  Trey Helms OL 6-4 265 Fr. HS Stuttgart, Ark. (Stuttgart HS)

 

62  Robert Smith OL 6-2 263 Jr. 1L Bossier City, La. (Airline HS) 

 

63  Ryan Miller C 6-6 318 Jr. 1L Lake Charles, La. (Barbe HS) 

 

64  Matt Allen OL 6-3 285 Fr. RS Spring, Texas (Collins HS) 

 

65  Lyle Hitt OG 6-2 284 So. SQ Baton Rouge, La. (Parkview Baptist HS) 

 

66  Max Holmes OL 6-4 281 So. SQ Baton Rouge, La. (Parkview Baptist HS) 

 

67  Mark Snyder OL 6-7 284 Fr. RS Kenner, La. (West Monroe HS) 

 

68  Josh Dworaczyk OL 6-6 275 Fr. HS New Iberia, La. (Catholic-New Iberia HS)

 

70  Ciron Black OT 6-5 314 So. 1L Tyler, Texas (Robert E. Lee HS) 

 

71  Carnell Stewart OL 6-5 311 Sr. 1L River Ridge, La. (John Curtis HS) 

 

73  Will Arnold OG 6-4 319 Sr. 3L Gloster, Miss. (Centreville Academy)

 

74  Brett Helms C 6-2 283 Jr. 2L Stuttgart, Ark. (Stuttgart HS) 

 

76  Jarvis Jones OL 6-6 265 Fr. HS Rosenburg, Texas (Lamar Consolidated HS)

 

77  Ernest McCoy OL 6-5 333 Fr. HS Belle Glade, Fla. (Glades Central HS) 

 

78  Joseph Barksdale OT 6-6 315 Fr. HS Detroit, Mich. (Cass Tech HS)

 

79  Herman Johnson OL 6-7 351 Jr. 2L Olla, La. (Denton HS)

 

 

INSIDE THE HUDDLE

OFFENSIVE LINE

 

Returning Starters: OG Herman Johnson, C Brett Helms, OG Will Arnold, OT Ciron Black

 

Departed Starters: OT Peter Dyakowski, OG Brian Johnson

 

Projected New Starters: OT Carnell Stewart

Best Player: Arnold is the one who gets all the attention being a preseason all-American last season. The Sporting News tabbed the senior the best offensive guard in the nation.

 

Wildcard: Stewart played his entire high school career on the defensive line and came to LSU as a D-end. However, a lack of playing time on the defensive front helped orchestrate a move to the offensive line. Stewart saw action on the offensive front last season, the question now is he ready to be a starter.

 

Rising Star: Black made quite a splash at left tackle last season and projects to be LSU's next heralded offensive lineman.

 

Most Improved: Lyle Hitt, like Stewart, made the move from defensive line to offense last season. He is slated as a No. 2 guard heading into August camp. Could Hitt crack the starting lineup come September?

 

Top Newcomer: Incoming freshman Ernest McCoy has the body (6-6, 333) to be a star for LSU. Can he contribute in his rookie season, offensive coordinator Gary Crowton thinks so.

 

Top NFL Prospect: Considering Arnold is being touted as the best guard in all of college football, one has to believe he could be a first round pick next spring in the NFL Draft.

 

Extra Points: Incoming freshman T-Bob Hebert is the son of former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert… Will Arnold has been named to the preseason Outland Trophy Watch List… Ciron Black was a former high school teammate with LSU quarterback Matt Flynn.

 

 

 

TIGER RAG LAGNIAPPE

Herman Johnson

 

Isn't it amazing how players seem to shrink once they arrive on campus? Herman Johnson was touted as the largest player ever to sign with LSU. When he was recruited out of Denton, Texas, Johnson measured 6-9, 410 pounds. Granted he has lost over 50 pounds and weighs now in the 350 range, how can one explain his current height of 6-7? One thing is for sure, no one is going to deny Johnson is a giant, especially his mother Karen, who gave birth to the largest baby (15 lbs., 14 ou.) in Louisiana history.

 

- Matt Deville


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