LSU sophomore left tackle Dare Rosenthal looks for the positive from a 5-5 season that some called disappointing considering the Tigers were coming off a national championship season.
“I think this past season helped us figure out who we are,” Rosenthal said. “We had to face a lot of adversity. We had guys come in out of shape because they were in quarantine. Others went into quarantine for 14 days.
“We had some guys out of shape because they could not work out,” Rosenthal said. “We also had some injuries and guys opt out, which really messed with our timing.”
Rosenthal said opting out would not be an option for him unless it was something that affected him or his family.
“I think you should be there for your LSU family,” he said. “Opting out just to opt out ain’t me.”
Rosenthal missed two games because of suspension.
The left tackle or head coach Ed Orgeron would not comment on the suspension. Rosenthal didn't play or appear on the sideline when LSU faced South Carolina on Oct. 24 and missed the Auburn game.
Rosenthal returned for LSU’s 27-24 win over Arkansas.
“I just kept working,” Rosenthal said. “It was tough not being able to help out my teammates. I think I could have made a difference at times.”
When LSU played Alabama on December 5, it pitted two former Ferriday Trojans against each other as cornerback Ronald Williams is in his first season at Alabama as a junior college transfer.
“It was cool,” Rosenthal said. “It was something the whole town wanted to see. Any time we both get on the field we are going to compete.”
LSU finished the season with a 37-34 upset win over Florida and 53-48 win over Ole Miss.
“We finished strong which was big for the program,” Rosenthal said. “But those last two games were not any more important to me than any other game. When you cut the tape on you are going to see me giving my all.”
Rosenthal blocked for three different quarterbacks this season.
Myles Brennan started the year, but suffered a season-ending injury against Missouri on October 10.
T.J. Finley started the next game until Max Johnson earned the starting quarterback position in LSU’ s final two games.
“I block for all three guys the same way,” he said. “I am going to do my best to protect them.”
Which Rosenthal showed a few times by getting in the face of opposing players who seemed to rub it in a little extra on Tiger quarterbacks.
“I don’t want anybody hurting my quarterback,” Rosenthal said. “The offensive linemen are the biggest guys on the field, so we have to make sure we are there for our quarterbacks.”
Rosenthal started three games as a freshman last year in place of Saahdiq Charles, who went in the fourth round of the NFL Draft to Washington.
Rosenthal admits he entered the 2020 season with a different mindset.
“I just want to bring the energy to the team, especially on the offensive side. I put everything into what I’m doing and working hard to get better. I’m concentrating on what’s in front of me. I feel like I’ve improved reading defenses and knowing where pressure is coming from.”
The 6-foot-7, 314-pound Rosenthal played in five games last year. He started against Northwestern State, Utah State and Mississippi State, playing a total of 229 snaps, including a career high 92 against Utah State.
The top-rated defensive tackle in Louisiana did not see any game action as a true freshman.
Rosenthal, who is majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies, said this past season was different without a packed Tiger Stadium.
“We had to add our own noise and energy,” he said.
Rosenthal said during the off-season he will be working on protecting his quarterback, blocking for the run game, and helping the offensive line work together as a group.
“I’m always in shape and I am looking forward to next season,” he said. “I believe I am the best left tackle in the nation.”