Touchdowns are valuable for LSU’s line

By LUKE JOHNSON

LSU Manship News Service

BATON ROUGE, La. — Offensive linemen play thankless positions. For 60 minutes, they toil, push and grind against equally mammoth defensive players with little to no recognition for their efforts.

But if No. 8 LSU punches the ball into the endzone against Arkansas Friday, keep an eye on the celebration. This is the chance for the offensive linemen, specifically senior Josh Dworaczyk, to shine.

Dworaczyk has been a part of numerous post-touchdown celebrations this season, usually using his 6-foot, 6-inch frame to lift the ball carrier high in the air.

“He’s just trying to get in the shot,” joked sophomore wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who has been on the receiving end of a Dworaczyk lift this season.

Landry was laughing, but he nailed the gist of the celebration’s purpose. Dworaczyk and the other offensive linemen make a concerted effort to turn each score into an offensive line photo op.

Each time they spot an offensive lineman in the newspaper, or on ESPN’s Sportscenter, the player gets points as part of intraline competition.

“There’s obviously not going to be many action shots of an offensive lineman,” said junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger. “They’ve got to get in on the celebration.”

Mugging for the cameras is an art form, according to Dworaczyk, especially if the touchdown happens at the far end of the field — a long run for a 300-pound lineman.

“That’s all I try to do,” Dworaczyk said. “If Zach (Mettenberger) throws it, sometimes you’ll see me stop and pick him up to celebrate, hoping that maybe someone will take a picture of Zach instead of the guy that caught the ball.”

Dworaczyk, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility before the season, said the tradition started during his redshirt freshman season in 2008. Offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa, serving as the LSU offensive line coach at the time, didn’t appreciate the line’s lack of gusto after an LSU score.

“Somebody scored a touchdown and none of the offensive line ran down there,” Dworaczyk said. “So coach (Studrawa) was like, ‘Guys, you know how hard it is to score touchdowns. It’s one of those things where you have to celebrate your butt off.’”

Since then, the celebration took off among members of the offensive line, who appreciate the opportunity to party alongside the flashy playmakers. Sometimes the celebrations got a little carried away, particularly in the 2010 season when Dworaczyk said the celebrations were “refined.”

Dworaczyk recalled a play in LSU’s 41-24 win against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl when an LSU defender nearly took an interception to the endzone.

Dworaczyk and former LSU offensive linemen Will Blackwell and T-Bob Hebert pantomimed as photographers after the play with the LSU defender as their subject.

“That was five points,” Dworaczyk said, noting the potential for a penalty made them clean the celebrations up.

The points race is Dworaczyk’s to lose this season, especially after junior offensive lineman Josh Williford missed extensive time because of an injury.

“The only person that’s close to him is Williford, and he’s been hurt for a while,” Mettenberger said. “Josh is definitely taking the cake for offensive linemen in pictures this year.”

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