Garrett Brumfield and Saahdiq Charles made their first career starts Saturday as guards for LSU.
That’s how they’re the same. How they got there and how they play is a different story entirely.
On the left side is Brumfield, a fourth-year junior who patiently waited his turn the past few years behind more experienced teammates. When he finally made his starting debut against BYU, he did so with the best performance of all, earning Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week honors in the process.
Brumfield led the team with 11.5 knockdowns and played 70 of the offense’s 79 snaps in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. He graded out at 86 percent, the best among LSU linemen in Week 1.
“Overall, I really feel blessed. I feel grateful and thankful,” Brumfield said. “But I can’t say any individual achievement is bigger than the team. I feel like, overall, I owe everything to my team. If I’m getting better, the offensive line is getting better. If the offensive line is getting better, the offense is getting better. If the offense is getting better, the team is getting better.”
The situation at right guard played out a little differently.
Charles became the first true freshman to start a season opener for LSU since at least World War II. He then split time with fellow true freshman Ed Ingram, with Charles getting 51 snaps to Ingram's 28.
Between the two, they combined for only 5.5 knockdowns. (Charles had a slight edge with 3.5 but had more opportunities.) But that doesn’t mean confidence has dwindled in the young players.
Coach Ed Orgeron said, while Charles and Ingram made some expected freshman mistakes, he thought they played well and fit in.
“We knew the young guys were going to make mistakes,” Orgeron said. “I thought the young guys played fantastic for their first game. The older guys helped them out, helped them out on the sideline, helped them making their calls and stuff.”
Not seeing the video below? Click here.
Maybe their styles of play represent the biggest difference. Brumfield is reliably consistent and a known quantity on the line. Ingram is the silent assassin type, and Charles has been described as a loud, in-your-face player, right tackle Toby Weathersby said.
Charles has taken most of the first-team snaps in practice, but Orgeron continues to suggest both will rotate. That means, as the man between the guards, center Will Clapp has to be on his toes.
“It’s not really that hard,” he said. “There was sometimes I’d forget which one was in. We’ve done it before. My freshman year, I’d go from right guard to left guard, when Toby and Maea (Teuhema) were rotating. An offensive line gets used to it.
"That’s why it helps when we change lineups in camp. You get used to it.”
Saturday was supposed to be the big reveal of LSU’s new offense.