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Will Clapp is projected to start at center this year for LSU.

ADVOCATE STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

The relationship between a quarterback and his center has to be close.

As the only players guaranteed to touch the ball every down, the two have to have tight communication and often know what the other is thinking before he thinks it.

As expected, LSU quarterback Danny Etling is making sure to get close to his centers.

Maybe a little too close.

Etling may not know for sure who will be his center this season — LSU's offensive line is very much in flux — but he does know exactly what he's looking for in a derriere to set up behind.

When asked which of his center’s rear ends felt best — posed by none other than former LSU center T-Bob Hebert, now a radio personality for 104.5 ESPN — Etling didn’t hesitate to give a detailed response.

“I can just tell you what you look for in a center as far as that,” Etling said. “What you want is a nice, plump bottom, some surface area to put your hand on. You want them to feel you. As much as I love Will (Clapp) and as great of a football player as he is, he doesn’t have the plumpest bottom. But he and I have really worked toward it, so I’ve found a nice surface area to put my hands on. Lloyd (Cushenberry) and I are coming along. Lloyd and I didn’t get a ton of snaps together in the spring, but Lloyd and I are really coming along, especially the last couple of days.”

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LSU coach Ed Orgeron didn’t mention anything about “plump bottoms” when he discussed the center position this past weekend, but said his biggest priority for a starter would be experience. That means Clapp. 

For the last couple days, though, Cushenberry and Etling are getting work with Clapp resting because of what Orgeron called "regular camp injuries."

“Will has played more games but Lloyd has been really great about knowing what he’s supposed to do and making sure he can perform when we need him to step up and make plays,” Etling said. “He’s always done well. He always plays his game and has done a good job of that.”

Both Etling and running back Derrius Guice said the changes and uncertainties of the offensive line don’t bother them much as long as whoever steps up knows what they’re doing.

Beyond center, the Tigers have to fill Maea Teuhema’s spot at right guard.

Cushenberry is also one of the leading candidates to start there after Teuhema's departure from the program last week.

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Orgeron also said on Saturday that several starters, including Clapp, were out with minor injuries for the first team scrimmage of camp, leaving younger players and walk-ons to fill the gaps.

“Those guys got to come in with the mindset that they’re going to play early,” Guice said. “I’m proud of those young guys for stepping up. One guy goes down, next guy has to step up. They’ve done a great job replacing those guys.”

Follow Mike Gegenheimer on Twitter, @Mike_Gegs.