Quantcast

No. 12 LSU's untested defense looks to stay strong - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

No. 12 LSU's untested defense looks to stay strong

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - There seems to be fewer concerns about LSU's untested defense than there were in March. Defensive coordinator John Chavis faced a major retooling job, having to replace six defensive starters heading into spring practice.

But after three preseason scrimmages head coach LSU Miles remarked how difficult the defense is to handle. Tackle Bennie Logan, ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, linebacker Kevin Minter, cornerback Tharold Simon and safety Eric Reid skipped their senior seasons and entered the NFL draft. The 12th-ranked Tigers have just three returning full-time starters on defense.

"Obviously, the number of guys we lost last year isn't usual," Chavis said. "But, we didn't get caught off guard. We recruited well before this year and the years before that." The defense is filled with players who have been waiting their chance to play significant snaps may be just as effective as the ones in recent years under Chavis. They won't have to wait long before being tested. LSU's season-opener against No. 20 TCU is just a week away.

But one thing this retooled LSU defense has going for it is are the number of players who have been around the program a long time. Four new starters - end Jordan Allen, tackle Ego Ferguson and linebackers Tahj Jones and D.J. Welter - are beginning at least their fourth seasons in the program.

Allen, Ferguson and Welter are fourth-year juniors who will be making their first career starts against the Horned Frogs. Jones, who was academically ineligible for the 2012 regular season, is a fifth-year senior.

The returning starters also have experience. Two of the three returning full-time starters are fifth-year seniors - linebacker Lamin Barrow and safety Craig Loston. Barrow made 104 tackles, while Loston accounted for 55 tackles and three interceptions a year ago.

The other returning full-time starter is sophomore cornerback Jalen Mills. "I am not at all surprised at how good the defense is playing," Loston said. "LSU does a great job in recruiting. These guys either had big names in front of them or they just got here. (Chavis) has a great system. There is not going to be a big drop-off."

Ferguson and Anthony Johnson are have had to wait their turns. Both have been in the rotation at defensive tackle, but NFL draft picks Michael Brockers and Bennie Logan, along with veteran Josh Downs, kept them out of the starting lineup.

Ferguson, one of top defensive ends in the country coming out of high school, has made only 26 tackles in two years. Johnson, who did start three games a season ago when Downs was injured, has been credited with 42 tackles in his career. Both are ready to be major contributors as juniors.

"Ego and me have waited a long time," Johnson said. "We played behind some great guys. We have been waiting so long wanting to show people what we can do." LSU's defense has been a major factor in the Tigers' 34 victories over the past three years. In half of those wins, opponents scored fewer than 14 points.

Johnson expects no dip in production this year despite all of the new full-time starters. "We don't talk about there being a drop off," said Johnson, referring to the defense in general and the line in particular. "We replace talent with talent at LSU. Tradition doesn't die. We just keep pushing and play good ball."

AUG 30 8:00pm CDT Wisconsin
SEP 6 6:30pm CDT Sam Houston
SEP 13 TBD UL Monroe
SEP 20 TBA Mississippi St.
SEP 27 TBA New Mexico St.
OCT 4 TBA at Auburn
OCT 11 TBA at Florida
OCT 18 TBA Kentucky
OCT 25 TBA Ole Miss
NOV 8 TBA Alabama
NOV 15 TBA at Arkansas
NOV 27 TBA at Texas A&M
  • SportsMore>>

  • Airline's drive; Vikings leaning on experience from last season

    Airline's drive; Vikings leaning on experience from last season

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:16 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:16:36 GMT
    The Airline Vikings are looking to improve on a 2013 campaign that ended with a 5-6 record and a loss in the first round of the playoffs. 
    The Airline Vikings are looking to improve on a 2013 campaign that ended with a 5-6 record and a loss in the first round of the playoffs. 
  • Bailey and Byrd to play Saturday

    Bailey and Byrd to play Saturday

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:20 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:20:35 GMT
    Saints safety Jairus Byrd has rarely been so eager to hit and be hit, if only to reassure himself that his surgically repaired back is a healed as doctors believe.Byrd, the top free agent acquisition by New Orleans this past offseason, was cleared for contact this week, allowing him to practice at full speed and with no limitations for the first time since signing a six-year, $56 million contract in March.
    Saints safety Jairus Byrd has rarely been so eager to hit and be hit, if only to reassure himself that his surgically repaired back is a healed as doctors believe.Byrd, the top free agent acquisition by New Orleans this past offseason, was cleared for contact this week, allowing him to practice at full speed and with no limitations for the first time since signing a six-year, $56 million contract in March.
  • Tre'Davious trending; LSU coaches and players following Tre'Davious White's lead

    Tre'Davious trending; LSU coaches and players following Tre'Davious White's lead

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:13 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:13:46 GMT
    Coming into his second season at LSU, former Green Oaks cornerback Tre'Davious White believes he has learned what it takes to be a starter in the SEC.
    Coming into his second season at LSU, former Green Oaks cornerback Tre'Davious White believes he has learned what it takes to be a starter in the SEC.
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File