HUNTER KEYS DISRUPTIVE PASS RUSH
The LSU coaches opted not to dress their quarterbacks in green non-contact jerseys because they wanted to simulate game pressure.
The defensive line responded to that challenge and then some. The defensive front registered 3.5 sacks in Saturday's Spring Game and were consistently in the backfield, forcing the young signal callers to make plays on the move.
None of the linemen had a bigger day than junior DE Danielle Hunter. He led all defensive linemen with three solo tackles and also registered a pair of sacks. He brought down Anthony Jennings on consecutive plays in the second quarter, resulting in a combined loss of 17 yards.
"It's not all because of me," Hunter said, flashing humility as strong as his pass rush. "It's just the D-Line working as one to penetrate the pocket and get to the quarterback."
His teammates weren't hesitant to send praise his way though.
"You saw it today, he's a freakish talent," said sophomore DT Christian Lacouture. "He's one of the best defensive ends in the country, if not the best. Size, speed, athleticism, it doesn't get much better than that."
The LSU defense was without defensive ends Jermauria Rasco and Justin Maclin, as they were held out with injury. Hunter took advantage of that opportunity all spring to solidify himself as one of the Tigers' best pass rushers, and Les Miles expects him to have a big impact this coming fall.
But while Hunter and the rest of his cohorts on the D-Line shined, Miles said they barely scraped the surface Saturday of what they're capable of doing.
"There are a lot of things that defensive coordinator can call that he didn't call today," Miles said. "They got to the quarterback pretty routinely. But there are some other keys to that defensive call sheet that will make a difference as well."
LINEBACKERS REACH THE END ZONE
LSU's linebackers had as many touchdowns Saturday as the wide receivers. Deion Jones and Kwon Alexander eache picked off a Jennings pass and returned it the distance to reach pay dirt.
Jones' came first midway through the first quarter, jumping a pass intended for Kenny Hilliard and bringing it back 67 yards for the score.
Jones said Alexander came up to him after that and told him he'd get one of his own. Alexander proved prophetic as he got his shortly before halftime and went the remaining 26 yards for the touchdown.
"It was a dropback and I played the flash," Alexander said. "I knew he was going to throw a five-yard out. Learning all the plays, that's what's going to get it for you."
Miles said after the game those interceptions showed the strength of his linebacker corps. Both Alexander and Jones had strong springs, and with their blend of speed and athleticism, they feel they can be a defensive force this season.
"We're just pushing each other," Jones said. "It's just a competition we have in our room and around this team. We're just trying to outdo each other."
DEFENSE NOT USED TO THE QB'S MOBILITY
With new quarterbacks like Jennings and Harris, the LSU defense faced a different challenge than in year's past. The Tigers have certainly added a run dimension to their offense, and that was on display Saturday.
Harris actually led all rushers with 77 total rushing yards. While the defensive line provided plenty of pressure, the quarterbacks showed ability to make plays with their feet when things break down.
The LSU defenders admitted after the game that's something they'll need to continue working on in preparation for the fall.
"We're not really used to seeing mobile quarterbacks," Jones said. "When they break it off and start running, it's a shock. But that's something that gets us ready having that type of quarterback."