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Spring Football 2016 Five Things: Offensive line

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Two spots up for grabs and a whole lot of bodies to work with.

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Depth Chart

Name

Height/Weight

2015 Season

77 Ethan Pocic (Sr.)

6-7, 309

Started 12 games at center. Second-team All-SEC coaches selection.

76 Josh Boutte (Sr.)

6-5, 342

Appeared in 12 games at guard, started 1.

72 Andy Dodd (Jr.)

6-4, 319

Appeared in 4 games at center.

63 K.J. Malone (Jr.)

6-4, 298

Appeared in 12 games at tackle.

64 William Clapp (So.)

6-5, 303

Started all 12 games at right guard. Consensus Freshman All-America and Coaches All-SEC.

78 Garrett Brumfield (So.)

6-3, 294

Appeared in 11 games at guard.

67 Jevonte Domond (Sr.)

6-5, 298

Appeared in 3 game at tackle.

66 Toby Weathersby (So.)

6-5, 292

Appeared in 12 games and started 1 at tackle.

68 Chidi Valentine-Okeke (RS-Fr.)

6-6, 311

Redshirted.

70 George Brown Jr. (RS-Fr.)

6-7, 283

Redshirted.

73 Adrian Magee (RS-Fr.)

6-4, 324

Redshirted.

75 Maea Teuhema (So.)

6-5, 327

Appeared in 12 games and started 11 at left guard. Freshman All-American from ESPN.

What's Good?

LSU may have two openings on this offensive line but in terms of both the returning and rising talent, this is up there with some of the deepest, most talented groups in full. The interior of this unit returns completely intact, with sophomore guards Will Clapp and Maea Teuhema alongside senior-to-be center Ethan Pocic. On top of that, there's a pair of seniors in Josh Boutte and Jevonte Domond, plus last year's backup tackles, K.J. Malone and Toby Weathersby.

And yes, Pocic out recovering from hip surgery, but at this point Pocic is more or less a known commodity here. He doesn't really need to prove anything this spring, he just needs to regain the dominating form he showed through the first half of 2015.

Meanwhile, Jeff Grimes has the freedom to do what he loves during the spring -- experiment. He can move guys around to different spots and in different combinations and figure out just how he wants to put the best combination of five together. And younger players like Clapp, Teuhema and a bevy of talented freshmen have a chance to not only learn multiple positions, but how the line functions within the concepts of LSU's offense as a whole.

And he has former four- and five-star recruits like Garrett Brumfield, Chidi Okeke, and George Brown on hand to develop as well. More importantly, depth gives him the luxury of time. None of those players "have" to be ready to push for a starting job, yet.

What's Bad?

In terms of finding those two starting tackles, there aren't any real proven players here that fit the bill. Malone was originally recruited as an interior linemen before sliding outside last year. He played well in spot duty, but that experience was limited. Domond, while a senior, hasn't seen the field much. Weathersby was LSU's sixth offensive lineman by the end of last season and did pick up a start at right tackle, but it's not really known if that's his natural home, either.

Okeke and Brown certainly look the part of bookend tackles, but are coming off redshirt years. And the former has just two years of experience in organized football period.

Now, there's more than enough talent here that this is far from a concern, but it's definitely not the ideal situation where backups seem ready made to step into the lineup.

What's the goal this spring?

Tinker, tinker, tinker.

Grimes is a very plainspoken, matter-of-fact guy. If you pressed him on something like "if the opener were tomorrow who would you play?" he'd probably reply with "tomorrow isn't the opener."

He has the freedom to play around with guys at different positions and in different combinations and I fully expect him to take advantage. Pocic is locked in at center, and Clapp and Teuhema are certainly in the lineup after freshmen All-American seasons, but the where is anybody's guess, and likely depends on how the rest of the group pans out.

Example -- if the light comes on for Brumfield, a pure guard, Teuhema could easily slide out to right tackle, which he played in high school. Clapp working at center gives him a chance to learn every assignment, which increases his versatility. Is Weathersby a tackle, or more natural inside? Everybody knows Okeke has all the athleticism in the world -- is he ready to jump in on the left side?

All of that is for Grimes to figure out. And he has plenty of time to do it.

What am I watching for?

I would expect to hear multiple combinations in practice reports, and I would not read too much from them. Mix and match and see what happens. Brown and Okeke have received strong reports from the strength & conditioning staff over their redshirt years. Would be interesting to see if they can push for playing time. Ditto Weathersby, who was impressive in spot duty but, struggled when pressed into a starting spot.

Brumfield is another former star recruit who has been somewhat quiet through two years compared to his classmate Clapp. Personally, I loved his film, and if he can push for a spot he can only help an interior that already has the potential to be special.