The scar is about 4 inches long and an inch or two wide.
It runs along Maea Teuhema’s right forearm, a permanent reminder of that day when he and a cousin were swinging from the monkey bars while, simultaneously, trying to knock each other off.
It didn’t end well for 8-year-old Maea. He took a hard fall to the ground and broke his arm. Maea was a big kid, and finding a playground partner wasn’t so easy.
“No one liked playing with me,” he muttered Tuesday in his first interview session since August.
“Now,” he said, “everyone’s my size.”
Not quite. Teuhema stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 325 pounds — two big reasons that LSU football coaches this spring are giving him a crack at left tackle.
Teuhema took his first reps at left tackle Tuesday during the Tigers’ second spring football practice. His move is part of much shuffling on a line missing three starters from last season. Tackles Jerald Hawkins and Vadal Alexander are gone, and center Ethan Pocic will miss the spring while recovering from hip surgery.
Teuhema, an 11-game starter at left guard last season, has played both left tackle and guard over the first two spring practices. He’s rotating at tackle with K.J. Malone. Will Clapp has moved from right guard to left guard, at least for now, Teuhema said.
Garrett Brumfield and Josh Boutte are at right guard, and Toby Weathersby and George Brown Jr. are manning right tackle.
None of these spots is set. After all, LSU’s season opener against Wisconsin is 179 days away.
“(Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes) is going to mix us around a lot during the spring,” Teuhema said, “and see where the best lineman fits for each spot.”
Teuhema was one of seven true freshmen last season who played in a significant role. Rookies under coach Les Miles are not allowed to speak to the media, so Teuhema — after Tuesday’s two-hour practice — slowly walked out of the locker room and smiled as he stood before a half-dozen reporters for just the second time as an LSU player.
What’s going on?
“Football and studying,” the soft-spoken Tongan uttered.
Teuhema didn’t expect to be in this position when he arrived at LSU in June. A true freshman starter in the Southeastern Conference? Come on.
“I was like, ‘There’s no way,’ ” he said, “but I worked my butt off and got some playing time.”
Some? Teuhema played in every game and started 11 of them, helping pave the way for running back Leonard Fournette’s breakout sophomore season.
The first action of his career came in the second quarter of the season opener at Mississippi State. He replaced a struggling Boutte for one series, entering against some stiff competition: Mississippi State’s 6-6, 310-pound All-America defensive end Chris Jones.
“I was like, ‘Damn, this guy’s pretty big,’ ” Teuhema said.
He did well enough against Jones to the start the second half in place of Boutte, and he started the next 11 games, pulling in front of the 230-pound Fournette and protecting quarterback Brandon Harris’ blind side alongside Hawkins.
Replacing Hawkins will be no easy task. Teuhema has never played left tackle in true game action. He played right tackle at his high school in Keller, Texas, protecting the blind side of a left-handed quarterback while his older brother gunned for that QB in practice.
Defensive end Sione Teuhema is a rising junior at LSU. The Teuhema brothers live together with offensive lineman Chidi Okeke. Sione is Maea’s confidence booster.
“I always tell him that he’s a better football player than I am,” Sione said during an interview in the fall. “I always tell him, ‘You’re good. You’re a five-star (recruit). Go ahead and do your thing.’ ”
The two are pool rivals. They battle often, playing your regular 8 ball while also having trick shot competitions.
“We do bank shots off the wall,” Sione said.
“It will be back and forth,” Sione said. “He’ll win one. I’ll win one.”
Maea wins in the hair department. His thick, black locks are often bunched in a ponytail atop his head.
They protrude from the underneath his helmet as well — and that’s not changing any time soon, he said.
“The only reason I’m growing it out right now,” he said, laughing, “is so I can get on a Head & Shoulders commercial.”
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.