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LSU's front four on defense is a group that likes to play in the other team's backfield. All four of the listed starters have at least one and a half tackles for loss on the year, and the Tigers top three tacklers for a loss are starting defensive linemen. Ego Ferguson has been impressive. Ferguson has a compact build and is tough to move off of the point of attack. Anthony Johnson is perhaps one of the most talented defensive linemen in the country and does a great job of getting up field and pushing the pocket. Defensive ends Jordan Allen and Jermauria Rasco have also been majorly disruptive at times. The big problem for this group has been inconsistency and mainly in rushing the passer. Allen and Rasco are the top two on the team in sacks with two and one and a half respectively, but LSU has had to cook up some pressure on most downs to make the opposing quarterback uncomfortable. LSU's ability to pressure the passer going forward will likely be a big indicator of its success for the rest of the season.
Senior middle linebacker Lamin Barrow was LSU's leading returning tackler coming into this season and he is the teams leading tackler in 2013. At 6-foot-2, 232 pounds, Barrow is a physical run stopper that likes to play downhill. He reads his keys well and reacts to the run game with great quickness. He can be a little stiff when asked to drop into coverage and has struggled with running backs and tight ends in man coverage at times. At outside linebacker, Tahj Jones, Kwon Alexander, and D.J. Welter have all played quite a bit. Jones is listed as a starter, but Alexander, a sophomore, has been rock solid early in 2013. Alexander is averaging five total tackles per game and has been impressive athletically through the first four games. Welter, like Alexander, is an impressive athlete that covers a lot of ground.
One of the top players in the SEC in our minds is LSU safety Craig Loston. Loston has all the tools to be a great safety. He covers ground like a free safety but is built like a strong safety at 6-foot-2, 209 pounds. When asked to roll into the box, he is effective in run support and can man up on a tight end. He also does a great job when asked to play 15 yards off the ball and keep everything in front. Ronald Martin joins Loston in the secondary. Martin has had some positives and negatives in 2013. Martin, like Loston is effective at playing deep and driving on the ball, but he has had some troubles in coverage this year. He can sometimes get his eyes into the backfield and allow inside receivers to get over the top quicker than he should. At cornerback LSU has some long, athletic players. The listed starters, Jalen Mills and Jalen Collins, are both north of 6-feet tall. Mills has been the bigger playmaker of the two this season with two interceptions and a pass break up, but he has also been inconsistent at times. Based on the film, Mills looks most comfortable in man coverage but has had problems playing his zone assignment effectively at times. Collins has had struggles in both zone and man coverage this year but is physical when asked to play bump and run. Also keep an eye on true freshman Tre'Davious White. White is a former five-star recruit who has shown some play making ability. He has only been in three games thus far but has a pass break up, a tackle for a loss, and a forced fumble.
• 1st Down - LSU tends to play more of their base or sub defensive set on first down, depending on the personnel, without much of a tendency to blitz.
• 2nd down and long (7 or more yards) - This is a pressure down for the Tigers as John Chavis's crew will bring at least one extra man 59% of the time.
• Second down and medium(4 to 6 yards) - This is a down very similar to first down. No real tendency to blitz but there is a tendency to play man coverage more than zone.
• Second down and short(less than 4 yards) - This is a heavy slant/stunt down for the Tigers as they try to break a defensive lineman or linebacker loose to get to third down.
• Third down and long - Chavis likes to force the issue on third down and long and brings the blitz 66% of the time.
• Third down and medium - This is also a blitz down for Chavis and company as they bring at least one extra man 58% of the time.
• Third down and short - LSU has no blitz or stunt tendency on this down, but they do sometimes slide their one-technique over to play over the nose of the center. They will also slide the weakside defensive end to a five-technique to try and stuff the interior run game.
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