Why one of LSU football’s strengths in 2019 should have been a weakness

LSU football OL Saahdiq Charles (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
LSU football OL Saahdiq Charles (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

LSU football’s offensive line was one of the team’s strengths in 2019.

LSU football‘s offensive line was a liability in 2018, but it turned into one of the team’s strengths in 2019.

Tigers fans can thank offensive line coach James Cregg for the turnaround.

Cregg joined Ed Orgeron’s staff in 2018. He immediately went to work changing the approach of the offensive line, focusing on the chemistry between the group.

In 2019, Cregg won the Joe Moore Award for the nation’s best offensive line coach after leading a unit that went from having the No. 101 sack rate in the nation to the No. 65 sack rate in the nation (that’s a huge jump in one season for an offensive line).

LSU’s offensive line had no business improving that much in one year. Not because they didn’t have the talent, but because they didn’t have the right personnel.

LSU football’s offensive line will be even better moving forward

Since arriving in Baton Rouge in 2018, Cregg’s had to make do with the personnel that was on the roster.

That meant playing guards at tackle.

2022 four-star offensive tackle Will Campbell, a Louisiana native, recently talked about his recruitment with Rivals.

Campbell specifically talked about his relationship with Cregg and dished out an interesting nugget.

Cregg told Campbell that LSU’s offensive line last season was basically all guards.

Here’s what Campbell had to say, via Rivals:

"Me and my family sat down with him in his office after the Auburn game and he was like, ‘Really and truly if you look at it, I’ve got straight guards across the board. Austin Deculus would be a big guard but he can still play guard. All the other ones are all guards and center in the NFL. I just have to make do with what I have.’ So for the guards to go in and perform like they do at tackle, it’s insane.”"

Austin Deculus started 10 games at tackle for the Tigers last season, while Saahdiq Charles started nine games at tackle.

Deculus is 6-foot-6/345 lbs, so he’s definitely better suited for the guard position.

Charles was drafted in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins as a tackle, but it’s certainly possible he could move to guard at the next level (Charles played some at guard at LSU).

If LSU’s offensive line was that good without the right personnel, imagine how good it’ll be once Cregg gets the guys he’s been recruiting in there.

LSU has the top two players in the SEC. dark. Next

The Tigers are coming off possibly the best season ever in college football history. It’s wild to think that LSU could still get even better.