Frank Herron felt it.
A tidal wave of exhaustion and fatigue hit the 6-foot-4, 305-pound junior early in the third quarter of LSU’s win over Arkansas.
“When we came out the second half and (the offense) went three-and-out, and (Arkansas) had got the fumble and we had to go right back out there,” he said, “I felt it a lot.”
How’d he handle it?
“You’ve got to tell your mind to shut up,” he responded, “and keep going, keep pushing.”
In starter Lewis Neal’s absence, Herron played what he estimated was the most snaps of his career in the 38-10 victory against the Razorbacks. He played in every series for about two straight quarters, beginning midway through the first quarter.
Neal, the Tigers’ starting senior, appeared to suffer a shoulder injury during the second series of the game. He was buried under a pile of players during a gang tackle.
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The injury doesn’t seem to be serious. Neal participated in practice on Tuesday during the portion open to reporters, though he donned a gold jersey. Gold jerseys signify limited contact for a player nursing an injury.
Herron is confident that Neal will play when No. 16 LSU (6-3, 4-2 Southeastern) hosts No. 21 Florida (7-2, 5-2) at noon Saturday at Tiger Stadium. That doesn’t mean Herron won’t see significant snaps.
“I expect him to play,” he said of Neal. “I will be ready because I know he’s still got work on that shoulder, but I think he’ll be ready.”
Herron played more than 40 snaps against Arkansas, he said, only getting spelled by freshman Rashard Lawrence late in a blowout.
“It felt good to play a lot,” Herron said. “Coach Pete (Jenkins) and Coach (Ed Orgeron) have been telling me that I’m going to play a lot. … Played pretty well. We watched film yesterday. They said, ‘You did pretty good.’ Still got some things to work on. Got to just keep grinding.”
Herron finished the game with 2 tackles and now has 17 during a season in which he's been used to spell Neal and Davon Godchaux for two to four series a game. He's forced a fumble, too, and has two tackles for loss, with a sack.
There's plenty of work to be done for this Memphis native. Coaches are stressing better "pad level" and "eye discipline," he said. They're preaching to him patience, too.
He's the heir apparent, possibly, in replacing Neal and/or Godchaux, a draft-eligible junior. That means more snaps, more exhaustion and fatigue.
"Got to keep working. Next man up. One man goes down, just got to be ready to play the role," Herron said. "When you get in, you don’t want to be a dropoff. You want to keep everything how it was."