Controlling the line of scrimmage

When the LSU offense takes to the field for its first possession of the season against Appalachian State's Mountaineers on Saturday afternoon the unit will be taking a pop quiz that will be critically, graded by the watchful eyes of 93,000-plus arm-chair quarterbacks.

Facing that type of pressure may be a tough exam for a team whose players are poor test takers. Fortunately, the Tigers have the man needed to provide all the correct answers in Brett Helms.


The six-foot, two-inch, 270-pound senior center, whose favorite subject is math, graduated this past May with a degree in General Studies.


That, along with talent, hard work, endurance, and perseverance are the secrets to Helms winning formula that enabled the Tigers to achieve a final grade of 12-2 in winning the Southeastern Conference Title, and National Championship last season.


Helms started all 14 games as a junior, playing 986 snaps for a Tiger offense that finished second in the SEC and fifth in the country in rushing. He has started in 28 of the 33 games played in his career at LSU thus far and the Tigers are 22-4 with him playing center.


Helms, who is listed on the Rimington Award Watch List, is eagerly looking forward to providing the LSU offense and team with the answers needed to pass any test, regardless of its toughness, even in what will be one of the largest and most attended outdoor college classrooms.


“There are a lot of things going through my mind,” Helms said. “But we’ve got to take everything one game at a time. I can’t afford to get caught up in too much of all the award stuff.”


First thing is first for Helms and the Tigers and this is a Mountaineer team that is coming off a 13-2 season that ended with it capturing a third straight National Championship in what was formally NCAA Division I-AA.


Although Appalachian State must replace its entire secondary from last season the Mountaineers will bring a solid defense to Baton Rouge.


They have six starters coming back in their front seven and they will have the utmost respect of LSU’s offensive line.


“I think that you couldn’t tell them from other good teams if you throw their jerseys away,” Helms said. “They’re very fast and physical up front. We’ve got to control the line of scrimmage at the point of block to move them off the ball. We’ve got to be ready for them.”


Being ready for Appalachian State wont be a problem for Helms and his Tiger team after the disappointing overtime losses of 43-37 on the road at Kentucky and 50-48 in their final game at home last season.


The pain from those two losses was enough for him to know he doesn’t want to experience that again.


“We’ve been there before, gone through it, know what it feels like, and don’t want to experience it again,” Helms said. “We’re telling the players that in tough times we’ve got their backs. We want them to step up and try to hang with us because we’re going to do the right things to get us through anything.”



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