Chavis Part 2: Front Seven

In part two of TSD Publisher Ben Love's interview with John Chavis, the LSU defensive coordinator addresses the Tigers' defensive line and linebacking corps after two games. Chavis mentions several young linebackers who are making a push for more playing time. Read about that and much more inside.

Through two games the LSU defense has been a bit of a mixed bag.

On one hand, the Tigers took the passing game almost totally out of the playbook for TCU (holding the Horned Frogs to a scant 145 yards passing and 53.6 completion percentage) and held UAB scoreless for three of four quarters.

On the other hand, the Bayou Bengals gave up rushing lanes and yards with regularity against mobile TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin in the game's final 30 minutes and also surrendered 17 points to the Blazers in the second quarter of last week's home opener.

With LSU's young defense still maturing and personnel decisions evolving, TSD's Ben Love caught up with defensive coordinator John Chavis to get the latest from the perspective of "The Chief" during a transitional time for a traditionally dominant unit.

Yesterday TSD published Chavis' take on the LSU secondary, including the positive momentum behind freshman corners Rashard Robinson and Tre'Davious White as well as how safety Corey Thompson could enter the mix soon.

In this piece, TSD will unload Chavis' thoughts on the rest of LSU's defense – the front seven – and how the 2013 ‘D' fits into the grand scheme of this edition of the Tigers.

On the depth at LB and if he's pleased with the corps' play so far …
"Pleased is a word that, it's just hard for me to put that stamp on it. I think when you get pleased then you don't have an opportunity to get any better. There are things we've got to improve on at every position. At times in the second game we were much better from our communication, and at times we were not. Lack of communication normally will lead to breakdowns, and we've got to eliminate those things.

"We've got six or seven guys that can play. We're going to have to get them that experience; they're going to have to be on the field, and I think we did that last week early in the game. Even though it was not as positive as we'd have liked, they've been out there and they've have a chance to see it, and now they've got a chance to correct those mistakes. Now we've got a chance to work with them and help them correct those mistakes. They're going to be better because of it."

On MLB Lamar Louis, when asked if his time is coming …
"I think there's a good possibility of that."

On the strengths Louis brings to the table …
"Speed, agility. There's no doubt he's an outstanding athlete."

On whether or not Kendell Beckwith's role will expand …
"I think he's going to add more. I think he's a guy that we have to continue to find ways to get him in the game, get him on the field and get him playing experience so we can let him grow and mature."

On who's making the biggest impact from the front four …
"I think our two inside guys have played really well for us. We've had a couple of guys outside that have made plays, but we're not as consistent as we need to be. But, again, that's the case at a lot of positions. Our two inside guys, [Anthony] Johnson and [Ego] Ferguson, have been guys that have made it a little bit easier to build around. They just give you such good play inside, and you know that's going to happen down after down and week after week."

On the versatility of his line to shift to different fronts …
"That's something that we do and we do all the time. Our guys don't have a problem with it. They understand what we're doing when we're changing, and we've got the ability to go four-down from a three-down personnel. Hopefully that will create some advantages for us. They're handling it well."

On the defense's approach and if it changes with offense rolling …
"No. We want to play dominant defense, and we know what we need to do and what we need to correct to get there. We're going to continue to push it that way. We've had an identity here, and certainly we've done some really good things. We have not been as consistent as we need to be, but we're going to work on establishing and keeping the identity that we've had around here."

What's your take on LSU's front seven?


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