Tiger Defense still No. 1 in total defense

For the third week in a row, LSU has the nation's No. 1 rated defense in terms of total yards as the Tigers go into this weekend's game against Fresno State allowing only 211.yards per contest.

With the lose of three dominating defensive lineman last year do to graduation, the LSU defensive line had to find three ways to replace Claude Wroten, Kyle Williams and Melvin Oliver.

           

Those three ways were Ricky Jean-Francois, Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson.

           

The trio joined senior Chase Pittman to make up what could be the nations best defensive front.                              

           

Pittman has been the leader of the defensive line from day one, and players say they look toward him for direction during tough series. Jean-Francois said Dorsey provides the comic relief during games and practice, while Jackson is an inspiration to all because of his great play and youth.        

           

Right now, Jean-Francois said he is just happy to be playing in Tiger Stadium. Either at tackle or at end.

           

"Right now I am thinking the inside is better for me," Jean-Francois said. "Right now with Chase (Pittman) and Tyson (Jackson), I see that we have talent outside and talent inside. But I see myself more affective inside."   

           

Jean-Francois was asked by defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and his staff early into fall camp to play both at tackle and at end because of his speed and quickness. Pelini told him he had to learn the entire playbook for all positions on the defensive line, which Jean Francois said was a difficult task.

           

"Some weeks he put you at end, then the next week you be at nose or some weeks at all positions," Jean-Francois said. "It was crazy. Now I had to learn techniques for playing outside and inside. Fortunately both are the same, you just have more responsibility on the outside."

           

Learning to play several positions didn't come easy for the 6-foot-3-inch, 281 pound freshman from Miami, Fla. But Jean-Francois said his efforts are paying off with every Tiger victory.

           

The youngster said he is excited to be a part of an LSU's defense that has yet to allow a 300-yard game this year. The most yards gained against the Tigers through the first seven weeks of the season came against Florida when the Gators posted 288 yards.

"Coaches try to give me equal time," Jean-Francois said. "Monday they may work me at end and Tuesday they work me at tackle. Wednesday it depends how he feels. I'm happy playing each position because I just want to help my team."


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