Written by Ben Love, Editor Tiger Rag
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 08:35
Certain things you just can’t script.
When young buck La’el Collins beat out sixth-year senior Josh Dworaczyk for the starting gig at left guard this Fall Camp, neither could’ve guessed they’d go from competitors to partners less than two weeks into the 2012 campaign.
But that’s exactly what’s happened following an untimely injury to mainstay Chris Faulk, a second-team All-SEC performer at left tackle in 2011, the Tuesday following LSU’s opener versus North Texas.
Now Dworaczyk, who started 26 straight games at left guard for the Tigers from 2009-10, is being asked to slide out to left tackle and play next to Collins.
Good thing for LSU that these two, born almost four years apart, share a wavelength on how to move the offensive line forward.
Even better that they seem to be embracing their newfound partnership.
Early this week the left-side duo talked about working together and the transition since Faulk went down in practice a week ago.
“It’s just a flip-flop. He [Collins] has the ability to move out there. Certainly he played tackle during his high school career so he knows the position. I think he’s repped a lot at guard, and I think he’s really been so focused on solidifying that starting spot at guard that he’s becoming a great left guard. But if it happens I think we’ll be ready for it. That’s something that we do as an offensive line - Coach Stud always has us all prepared for being able to move from left side to right side or guard to tackle. You have to be able to do that as an offensive lineman, especially when you’re younger.”
- On the possibility of eventually moving Collins to left tackle
“Coach Stud and Coach Miles have an understanding that we need guys to be prepared throughout the practice week for whatever happens in the game, especially after you lose one guy. I was that sixth man, and now I’ve been thrust into a position where now we need another sixth guy. We’ll see throughout this practice week (who steps up) as guys are moving around, shifting around. The coaching staff’s going to be comfortable trying a lot of different guys at a lot of different positions, so we’ll see how it all plays out.”
- On finding that new sixth man for the offensive line
“It definitely helps that my starts, at least in the past, have come from that left guard position. So you get a feel for the way your feet are set up before the snap and the stance that you’re in. Then certainly there’s my ability to work combinations with La’el. Throughout camp and even during the springtime, we had such a great camaraderie as far as battling for that position. We had great competition, and we worked with each other all the time to get each other better. So now being next to him, and I definitely felt it out there in the (Washington) game and I’m sure La’el did too, we felt comfortable because we’ve already had such great communication throughout camp. Now, playing next to each other, we help each other out a lot.”
- On staying on the left side and working with Collins
“Chemistry is good. At one point in time in camp, he [Dworaczyk] was at left tackle, so chemistry has always been there. It’s like having a coach on the field. He’s a guy that you can sit there and ask questions about the plays. ‘Josh, what’s the play again? Or, Josh, what’s the count on?’ If a safety walks down, he’ll let you know it’s time to hurry up and go. It’s just communication and chemistry. As a unit that’s what you want to have up front.”
- On his chemistry with Dworaczyk
“A lot of times I felt like between me and him it wasn’t a competitive thing. It was just something that helped me as a player and helped him as a player. He’s an older guy. He knows what it takes. I’m a younger guy. I’m trying to see what it takes and get everything I can get out of Josh to help me be a more successful offensive lineman. He’s a guy that’s been in the program six years. He knows what it takes to be an offensive lineman in the SEC. He knows what I have to do to be successful. So everything that I’ve learned and am striving to do is everything I’ve questioned Josh about.”
- On whether his relationship with Dworaczyk has been a competitive one
“For me it’s nothing different from what I’m doing now playing guard. I’m a guy who can play guard and tackle. I know I can do that and the coaches know that … Right now I’m developing at offensive guard, and I like it. I know I can play tackle, though, and that’s the good thing about it - being able to play more than one position to help my team out.”
- On his versatility and ability to move out to left tackle if called upon
“Oh, I’m ready. It’s something natural to me. It’s something that (I feel) I can get out there and go one-on-one with any defensive end in the country … It doesn’t really matter honestly. I like playing in the inside because you’re on the inside with big guys and you’re pounding every play. I kinda like that. I’m a physical guy, so I like to be on the inside and control the line of scrimmage. That’s where the heartbeat’s at.”
- On if he’d be ready to play left tackle, then on if he’d prefer to be out there