Don’t call Will Clapp inexperienced at center.
He has tons of experience at a position that coaches refer to as the quarterback of the offensive line.
Clapp is plenty experienced, he said, at a multitasking spot where the LSU football team must replace a two-year starting All-American. He knows he must read the defense, bark orders to the rest of the line — sometimes in a rocking road stadium — snap the ball and then block.
Oh, yes, tons of experience.
“I’ve played a lot of center,” Clapp said. “Just never done it in a game.”
Experience in practice is the extent for the fourth-year junior from New Orleans, the heir apparent to Ethan Pocic as LSU’s starting center. Oddly enough, Clapp can’t practice at his new position right now.
He is not expected to participate in spring drills while recovering from January shoulder surgery. Clapp, a starting guard the past two years, played with a torn labrum in his right shoulder for most of the 2016 season. In the season opener against Wisconsin, he tore the labrum, causing the ball-and-socket joint to rub against bone, dislocate at times and sometimes hang limp by his side.
Experience practicing at center, though, he has plenty of that. During his redshirt season of 2014, Clapp was the Tigers' backup center to starter Elliott Porter, swapping practice snaps with Andy Dodd.
He did a good enough job that coaches pegged Clapp as the starting center for the 2015 season, and he practiced there halfway through preseason camp.
“Going into my redshirt freshman year, about two weeks before the first game, I was playing center, Pocic playing guard,” Clapp said. “We flipped.”
He has returned to the spot where he spent much of his first 16 months at LSU, but he’s not yet cleared to practice. He’ll return by summer workouts, he said. He’s four weeks ahead in the rehabilitation process from a surgery that took place in early January, doctors told him earlier this week.
Missing spring isn’t too significant, Clapp said. For one, he has plenty of practice at center. Also, he’s learning in a different way.
“I’m seeing things I normally wouldn’t see as a player,” he said. “I’m seeing more big picture things. It’s kind of helping me. I’m learning big-picture offense, learning what everybody’s doing and how it affects the defense.”
They were all duped — all of them except Mom.
The hard purple cast running from J.D. Moore’s elbow and halfway around his hand looks like a normal cast.
Then he turns it on its side, exposing a white spout protruding from the hard surface. Similar to the top of a prescription pill bottle, the spout pops open to reveal Moore’s skin, near the wrist area. It allows doctors to maneuver a tool into the hole to help the injury heal quicker.
“This is a port for a bone stimulator,” Moore explained. “It’s an ultrasound that helps the bone heal.”
Moore, the Tigers’ senior starting fullback, is recovering from a broken wrist he suffered against Alabama last season. He recently had a second surgery and is not clear for contact during spring drills. He underwent the first surgery after the regular-season finale at Texas A&M.
He’s expected to be full strength by preseason camp, if not much sooner.
LSU scrimmaged Saturday at Tiger Stadium. It was closed to reporters.
The Tigers will take off Sunday and Monday before resuming drills Tuesday. Coach Ed Orgeron is slated to address reporters after Tuesday’s practice.