What You Need To Know About The LSU Defense
– Dave Aranda did a solid job in his second year as the defensive coordinator. It wasn’t quite the rock of a D the 2016 version was, but there’s little complaining about allowing just 316 yards and 19 points per game.
He loses Christian LaCouture and Greg Gilmore off the defensive front, speedy Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver from the secondary, and Arden Key and Donnie Alexander from the linebacking corps, but it’ll be another fantastic defense with the upside to finish among the top ten in the country.
Two starters are gone from the defensive front, but Rashard Lawrence should be a factor at one end, and Ed Alexander at 6-3, 339-pounder on the nose. With a three-man front, there’s size, depth, and a whole slew of options to play around with. Even with the losses, this should be a fresher, more effective line.
– The linebacking corps has two superstars – one established, one rising. Devin White led the team with 133 tackles as the tone-setter for the D from his Rover spot, but the superstar might be K’Lavon Chaisson, a 6-4, 240-pounder who came up with 27 tackles and two sacks as a true freshman – he’s got the talent to be a devastating factor in the backfield.
With Jacob Phillips poised and ready to be a statistical star in the middle, and with a whole load of depth to play around with, this should be the team’s biggest strength.
– The secondary isn’t bad, either. There might be some missed parts from the pass defense that was the ninth-most efficient in college football, but future top 15 overall draft pick Greedy Williams – and his six picks – are back, and good-tackling safety John Battle will be an all-star coming off his 61-tackle season.
There’s good depth at safety around Battle and fourth-leading tackle Grant Delpit, but the second safety spot on the other side of Williams will be a battle.
Biggest Key To The LSU Defense
Don’t allow 200 yards on the ground. The LSU offense won’t put up a ton of points, and it’s not going to be happy when it’s out of its comfort zone. That happens when the other team is pounding away.
The Tigers opened up the 2014 season with a tough win over a Wisconsin ground game that cranked out 268 rushing yards and three scores. Since then, the program is 0-10 when giving up two bills, including the 285 allowed in the 37-7 loss to Mississippi State, and the 206 given up to Troy in the stunner.
Florida came close – running for 194 yards and averaging over five yards per carry – in the too-tight 17-16 loss, and Auburn ran well, too – but lost. Both games were battles, though.