Capable fill-ins always needed
Garrett Brumfield entered the LSU football program one year before Adrian Magee.
It took Brumfield until his fourth season to finally crack the Tigers starting lineup. Brumfield has been the starting left guard throughout the current season.
Magee saw virtually little playing time in his first two years at LSU. Brumfield offered Magee, also an offensive lineman, some advice after last season.
“Throughout the offseason, I talked to Adrian,” Brumfield said. “Guys transferred and then we lost (center) Andy Dodd. I told him to do the numbers game. We’re going to need you.
“I have never seen the whole offensive line start and go all the way through the year. I told him to just be ready when somebody goes down.”
The injuries have happened along the offensive line. With right tackle Toby Weathersby out against Auburn, Magee was given the nod as his replacement. Magee had worked as a guard during most of preseason practice. He replaced starting right guard Ed Ingram in the middle of the Syracuse game.
“Bruiser (Brumfield) stays on me,” Magee said. “He told me ‘I got passed up. Don’t let that happen to you.’ When I first got here, I believed my role was just to wait my turn to play. I didn’t practice well. I realize I have to take care of my actions.”
Magee was one of two backups pressed into action against Auburn – the other being safety Eric Monroe, who replaced the injured John Battle. Monroe performed fairly well in his first start with five tackles and two pass breakups.
“I did pretty good against Auburn,” said Monroe, a redshirt freshman. “There was some stuff I need to improve. When I played against Florida, my technique was not all there. Last week in practice, I was trying to make plays. John Battle was great. He’s my role model. He talks to me all the time.”
Monroe came to LSU with high credentials coming out of Houston (Tex.) North Shore High School. He led his team to the Class 6A title in his senior campaign. Monroe was rated the No. 6 safety in the country. Monroe redshirted in 2016.
“When I got here, there were more guys with more talent,” Monroe said. “It’s a job and the best man wins. During my redshirt year, I took care of my body. I stayed in the film room and I listened to the coaches. I was just taking it all in. Everybody is counting on you. I had to really step up.”
Monroe was down on the depth chart after spring practice. He found himself behind starters Ed Paris and Battle. Grant Delpit, a true freshman, was the top reserve. But, Paris went out with a season-ending knee injury. Then, Battle got a stinger in the Florida game. Monroe was next man up.
Magee found himself at a critical point in his LSU career at the start of this season. When Weathersby sat out spring drills, Magee beat out Jakori Savage and was the No. 1 right tackle. But, an arrest following spring practice resulted in Magee being suspended from the team.
The charges were dismissed right as preseason practice began. During August, it became apparent that offensive line coach Jeff Grimes felt more confident in true freshmen Saahdiq Charles and Ed Ingram. When Maea Teuhema left the team, Charles and Ingram divided time at right guard.
Magee, a four-star prospect coming out of Franklinton (La.) High School, was rated one of the top 30 guards in the country. But, it appeared he was getting passed up by younger players – just what he was warned about by Brumfield.
The worst sign for Magee came in the Florida game. Weathersby left the game in the first half due to an undisclosed injury. Austin Deculus, another true freshman, was inserted in the lineup.
“I was surprised,” said Magee, referring to Deculus entering the game ahead of him. “But, I knew I had a bad week of practice. My Tuesday practice was one of the worst I had. I had just taken a midterm (exam) and I thought I did poor.
“Not going into the game was a sign that I needed to practice harder. I had to show coach (Grimes) that I cared. Last week, I practiced much better. I thought I was physical trying to make gaps for Derrius (Guice). I could have gone off the ball harder.”
So, LSU was forced to use two inexperienced tackles against Auburn – Charles on the left side and Magee on the right side. Coach Ed Orgeron was satisfied with how that young tandem performed last Saturday.
“Both of them handled the physicality at the point of attack,” Orgeron said. “Their pass protection was good. They still made mistakes when the game gets too fast. The defense shifts and you have figure out where to go to get the linebacker. That is something a veteran lineman can do easily.”
Both Magee and Monroe may go back to their usual status as backups this week against Ole Miss. Weathersby practiced in a gold jersey (limited contact) Tuesday, while Battle was in full pads with no restrictions.