One game in the books – a narrow 21-19 victory at No. 25 Mississippi State (1-1, 0-1 SEC) – and all signs are pointing toward new coordinator Kevin Steele and in particular defensive line coach Ed Orgeron fostering an atmosphere that demands pressure.
LSU registered three sacks of Bulldog quarterback Dak Prescott, all by defensive linemen, and added eight more quarterback hurries on top of five tackles for loss.
Sophomore defensive tackle Davon Godchaux finished with five tackles and one of LSU's three sacks, dropping Prescott for a loss of 12. The opening-game improvement up front getting after the quarterback can be traced back to only one place, per Godchaux.
"Coach O," Godchaux told TSD following the game. "He's aggressive. He's the pass-rushing guru. That's what he does. I mean we know it coming into the season we were going to have opportunities. We've just got to make the best of them and go full speed with effort.
"We know he's going to give us the tools and now I've got to go apply them. Coach O and Coach Steele were being aggressive, and I like that."
True freshman defensive end Arden Key claimed one of the other two sacks, with the third belonging to Lewis Neal. Key, who had two additional quarterback hurries, played a big role at end following up on a strong Fall Camp showing after his arrival this summer was delayed.
"He played good for a first game. He played better than me, I think," Godchaux said. "I just get in his ear and tell him 'C'mon. Let's go, we need you.' Because he's a big-time player. He's definitely a big part of our defense. So it's just getting on him, but in a positive way. He came back and he responded well. He got some quarterback hurries and he got some good tackles."
Also aiding the LSU defensive front were redshirt sophomores Greg Gilmore and Frank Herron, both of whom provided reliable depth on the interior to give Godchaux and Christian Lacouture the occasional breather.
Time will tell if the Tigers' renewed approach will translate throughout SEC play, and if the depth up front is tested, but round one inside Davis Wade Stadium was a success as the new regime continues to build on the LSU defensive side of the ball.