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In Focus: 'The Bomb Squad'
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Published: November 24, 2011, 03:00 PM (CT)
by Melani Johnson, SID Student Assistant

The "Bomb Squad" Combines Charisma with Swagger on the LSU O-Line

Life on the front line of the trenches is brutal.

It is pure guts with little glory.

Through blood, sweat and tears a bond that no army can break has been built between LSU senior offensive linemen Greg Shaw, T-Bob Hebert, Will Blackwell and Josh Dworaczyk.

"To be honest with you, being an offensive lineman is not fun; it's hard stuff," Blackwell said. "Whether it's T-Bob, Josh or Greg, having that guy next to you who is experiencing the ups and downs with you builds relationships beyond the football field."

Shaw, Hebert, Blackwell and Dworaczyk play each snap with one goal in mind. They are determined to capture and demolish the opponent in front of them.

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"Life in the trenches is about having your teammates beside you and playing hard," Shaw said. "The best feeling in the world is defeating the guy across from you."

Last year's O-line, led by current Oakland Raiders' offensive tackle Joe Barksdale, decided that it was time the men in the trenches made a name for themselves.

"Playing on the O-line is not a one-man thing. We're a whole unit from the top to the bottom," Dworaczyk said. "That's why we call ourselves the 'Bomb Squad.'"

Hebert looks to the "Bomb Squad" to help him find the motivation and strength he needs in order to persevere through the hard times that come with playing on the line.

"When you're worn out during training or in a game, all you have to do is look to your right and left and see those guys fighting with you," Hebert said. "Those are your true brothers."

Offensive coordinator and O-line coach Greg Studrawa, or Coach "Stud," makes sure the O-line is versatile and can play any position if needed.

"Coach Stud emphasizes that we need to learn every position," Shaw said. "I believe that's why I am able to switch from right to left tackle whenever duty calls."

"Coach Stud stresses that you can't get locked into one position. You have to know more than just your job because emergencies happen in games and someone's called to fill in," Hebert said. "I think that's why Greg Shaw does such a great job at answering that call."

Coach Stud's hard work is one of his many attributes that has rubbed off on the senior linemen.

"You have to work the hardest if you want to be the best," Blackwell said. "I think Stud lives by that motto and has passed it down to us."

Dworaczyk suffered a threatening knee injury in August that put an end to his 2011 season. Through adversity, Dworaczyk embarked on a new journey and found a way he could contribute to his team. 

"Throughout my years at LSU I have put a lot of time in with Coach Stud, and I know the way he coaches," Dworaczyk said. "After my injury I had to find another way to help my team, and that other way was being on the sideline and coaching up the O-line."

Nagging injuries have plagued the linemen this season; however, no injury seems to halt the O-line's dominance. 

"We have so much depth that you can easily pull a guy out and put a guy in and he will accomplish what needs to be done," Dworaczyk said. "That's something we pride ourselves in."

"We have a lot of experienced guys who have played in a lot of games," Hebert said. "I think our depth is the key to our success."

The old saying stands true - there is no "I" in team.

"I'm the type of player that puts my team first," Shaw said. "Of course one of my personal goals is to start, but I'm not the type of person that says, 'I'm either the starter, or I'm nothing.' I feel like everybody has a role on the team. Whether it's starting or just stepping in for a couple of snaps, everybody needs to play their role."

In order to be a member of the offensive line, one has to exemplify confidence when confronting his opponent.

"You have to have a certain attitude and swagger on the field," Dworaczyk said. "If you line up against someone with the thought that they are better than you, then you have already lost the battle."

On the field the "Bomb Squad" is all business, but off the field, don't be scared by their large stature. The senior members of the O-line are a charismatic, funny and compassionate group of men.

"We're all pretty crazy," Blackwell said. "We're big jokesters, and we always enjoy each other's company. Nothing brings us together more than playing football."

According to Dworaczyk, Hebert and Blackwell, Shaw is quite the dancer. After putting on a 30-second performance during the interview, the belief stands true. Shaw is a man of many moves.

"I like to dance. I mean I really like to dance," Shaw stressed. "Back in Miami we have this dance called the Wu-Tang, and I'm really good at it and everybody knows it."

"Greg's got some incredible dance moves," Hebert said. "If you're feeling down or not having a good day, Greg's going to make you feel better and really lift your spirits."

Blackwell laughed as he reminisced about the first time he met Hebert and Dworaczyk as incoming freshmen.

"T-Bob had long hair when we got here. I thought he was pretty goofy," Blackwell laughed. "I remember Josh being a wild and very outspoken kind of guy."

"I think Will just likes to wear the ugly, mean character on and off the field," Dworaczyk said. "Nah, I'm just messin'. I have had a wonderful experience with all the senior O-linemen."

With hard work comes reward, and as a reward Shaw, Hebert, Blackwell and Dworaczyk have built a legacy that will forever be remembered at LSU.

"I want my teammates and coaches to look back and say every year he got better, and whenever we needed him he was there," Shaw said. "I want them to remember me as the funny guy who always made them laugh."

"I hope that my teammates and coaches remember my work ethic and that I always tried my best," Hebert said.

"Throughout our careers at LSU, T-Bob, Josh, Greg and I have struggled with things like playing time, injuries and losing games," Blackwell said. "I want my teammates to look back at our careers and say, you know I'm hurt and our team has lost a couple games, but that's okay because Will and them went through the same thing and they persevered."

"The most important thing for me is that I have left behind something for the O-line," Dworaczyk said. "Hopefully people look back at our team as one of the elite teams that came through LSU. Whether it's playing or coaching on the sidelines, I'm just glad to be a part of this team."

 

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