After Alex Hurst went down in the Alabama game, junior Greg Shaw got the call to step in against Marcel Dareus and Co. Shaw then got his
first career start a week later against UL-Monroe.
All the while, Les Miles hinted in the week prior to LSU's
showdown with Ole Miss that some other players were “getting a look” on the
Enter Chris Faulk.
The redshirt freshman made his first start in Tiger Stadium
on the same day that many would get their last: Senior Day against Ole Miss. The
coaching staff informed Faulk the Monday prior to Ole Miss week that he – not
Shaw or Hurst – would get the start against the Rebels.
“It was crazy,” Faulk said. “I was anxious to play. I've
been waiting for this for a long time. I haven't started since high school.”
A four-star prospect from Northshore High School in Slidell,
Faulk had been used sparingly this season in short yardage sets. After Saturday
night, Miles raved about the youngster's performance.
“My impressions are pretty good of the young Faulk-man
playing ball, don't you think,” said Miles in a tone appropriate for
conversation from a former offensive lineman to a budding one. “He stepped out
there and ran like heck.
“I didn't go to grab him in between series either. The guys
he was supposed to block, he blocked. My impression from the sideline was ‘way
Prior to the Alabama game Faulk had been working exclusively
at left tackle behind senior Joe Barksdale. Hurst's injury prompted the switch
to the right side, a move Faulk welcomed.
“On the left side you got to go against a lighter, faster
person,” he said. “The right side, usually he's more of a heavier person. The
right side is more comfortable for me, but I can do the left.”
Barksdale, a defensive tackle coming out of high school,
made the move from right tackle over to left tackle during the spring.
Needless to say, he can relate.
“It's difficult, but Chris has been working hard,” Barksdale
said. “This is his second year here, and after your redshirt year, you're fair
game for play. He knew that, and he was ready.”
The readiness should come as no surprise.
Five Tiger offensive lineman have made their first career
start in 2010. Throw in T-Bob Hebert and Barksdale, who started games at new
positions in 2010, and you've got a virtual recipe for disaster.
Yet through all of the bumps and bruises, or
"nicks" as Miles would affectionately refer to them, the group has
paved the way for one of the SEC's most potent rushing attacks.
The offensive line, to a man, would tell you that their
chemistry off of the field contributes to their success between the lines.
“We're pretty close, and I just love being around those guys,”
Faulk said. “Everybody is real close. We all have our own inside jokes.”
Hebert said of the group: “As an o-line, as a whole, we're
real close. I think it's one of those things, when you like each other it just
subconsciously transfers on to the football field. We've had a lot of guys go
in there and everybody seems to go in there and do their job.”
The guy that benefits most: quarterback Jordan Jefferson.
“We always have to have guys prepared, and we knew injuries
were probably going to occur, so those young guys took it upon themselves to
prepare and to get in the game when the time comes.”
The time for Faulk came against Ole Miss, and with Hurst's
status uncertain for LSU’s trip to Little Rock, the 6-foot-6, 315-pounder knows
that he must be ready to go if his number is called again.
But as much as he enjoyed getting his first start since high
school, Faulk still has a yearning for Hurst – the man he replaced - to get
back to full strength.
“We need everybody,” he said. “Everybody has been dropping
on the offensive line. We need everybody healthy.”