Tigers' Mingo is ready to lead

Barkevious Mingo has transformed himself from a third-down pass rushing specialist to an every down defensive end during his career at LSU. Heading into the 2012 season, the junior standout will be counted on to control his edge and generate some pressure on the quarterback. Mingo reports that he is ready for the next step in his own development.

Mingo raised an eyebrow or two when he reported to camp about ten pounds less than his playing weight from a season ago.

As the Tigers prepare for the season opener, the All-SEC candidate is not overly concerned about a few pounds here or there.

"My weight hasn't really been an issue for me," said Mingo. "I guess the coaches would like me to weigh more, but I feel comfortable playing at the weight I'm at.

"I don't feel any added pressure to put on any more weight. I am ready to just go play."

As Mingo has come of age, he has proven to be a reliable player for defensive line coach Brick Haley.

The rising junior is ready to take on more snaps and more responsibility this season.

"I see myself as an every down guy," said Mingo. "It's going to take a lot more work and a lot more dedication and I am ready to step up to that.

"Add in that we have a good rotation of guys that can come in and give somebody a blow, and I feel like everything will be just fine."

Mingo and fellow bookend Sam Montgomery are a contrast in both size and skill.

The two position mates appear to complement each other well.

"From the get go, Sam is a strong and aggressive player," said Mingo. "He can overpower a lot of blockers in this league.

"He has moves that only he can do. He's tried to show me some things that I just can't do to save my life.

"It also flips over where I can show him some things too. I feel like I have shown him a little more finesse and speed techniques.

"He's picked up on all of that and I think you'll see more of that from him this year."

Much of the press last fall was about the Tiger secondary, but the it all starts up front with a strong push from Mingo and the front four.

"Coach Chavis knows how to run his defense," said Mingo. "He knows where to put players to get results for this team.

"Coach knows how to get the most out of players.

"When I was first coming down to play defensive end, I didn't think I would like it.

"I didn't think I would be good at it, but Coach Chavis saw something and it worked."

The Tigers have had some distractions to deal with this year, but Mingo believes his team can avoid the noise and play at a high level.

"The main thing is to just stay focused," said Mingo. "Everybody just has to come out and do all they can to become a better football player.

"If we do that, then we're going to do some good things this year."

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