Days Till Kickoff: 7

TSD is ringing in the 2013 season in style. For every day until LSU kicks off against TCU in Arlington Aug. 31, we'll tackle an important issue on the Tigers' team. Today's Question: Which true freshmen will make an impact defensively in the opener?

We're within one week of LSU football taking the field for the first time in 2013.

But before Les Miles and the Tigers invade the House that Jerry Built to battle TCU, TSD will get you ready by tackling a question a day for the next seven days surrounding the shape of LSU's team entering the Aug. 31 opener.

Today's Question: Which first-year defenders will play (more than special teams) in Arlington?

LSU's defensive depth chart heading into Fall Camp left plenty of opportunities for true freshmen to crash the playing rotation, basically crying out for newcomers to fill voids in the two-deep along the D-Line and into the secondary.

So far, through three weeks of practices, the newbies haven't disappointed.

Anywhere between three and five true freshmen are expected to make their debuts on the defensive side of the ball for LSU next Saturday while a handful more are virtual locks to factor in on special teams.

Beginning on the defensive line, it's hard to imagine four-man playing rotations at end and tackle that don't include Tashawn Bower and Christian Lacouture, respectively. Both have spent time rotating onto the first team during LSU's three scrimmages this fall, and both are proving to be worthy competition for their sophomore counterparts - Bower with DE Danielle Hunter and LaCouture with DT Quentin Thomas.

Here's what Miles had to say about the duo yesterday: "They're physical. They're bright. They'll play young, but then (because of that) they'll play old quicker."

It's still too early to decipher whether those two are more likely to be in the range of 5-10 snaps or closer to 15-20 against the Horned Frogs, but there's no question Bower and LaCouture will figure into the Tigers' defensive plans right away.

The next rookie defender in-line for potential playing time in game one is OLB Kendell Beckwith. Unlike Bower and LaCouture, Beckwith plays at a position where LSU is already stocked full of talent and experience. His potential rise to P.T. is a testament to just how much of a freak he is physically.

Defensive coordinator John Chavis indicated at Media Day recently that Beckwith is most likely to be utilized in pass-rush situations. Said Chavis: "We're expecting to get him ready to play at outside linebacker. We'll see what we do, there may be some opportunity for him in our rush package, where he'll do some rush stuff for us quite a bit. But we're expecting and preparing for him to play at outside linebacker."

Outside of those three, there are two first-year Tigers who also have a chance to step to the field defensively in the secondary. S Rickey Jefferson and CB Tre'Davious White have both made solid impressions to date in Fall Camp. White's was largely expected while Jefferson has undergone a bit of a transformation, bulking up 10-15 pounds from high school and readying himself to play on the defensive side of the ball.

Neither freshman DB is a first-teamer, but both are capable of playing right away in nickel, dime and Mustang packages. White is probably a better fit as a straight corner, lining up on the outside when Jalen Mills goes down into the box, and Jefferson as an inside guy who can occasionally man-cover a slot receiver but is best when rushing the quarterback as a gunner. (For reference sake, White is battling with redshirt freshmen Dwayne Thomas and Derrick Raymond for that duty while Jefferson is up against Micah Eugene.)

Finally, three additional freshmen on 'D' seem naturals to run down kickoffs. They are: DE MJ Patterson, DE Lewis Neal and OLB Duke Riley. Of that grouping, Neal is the only one who could see a snap or two defensively as well.

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