That aggressive attitude is what co-defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach Doug Mallory expects of his unit and he shares that philosophy with Bradley Dale Peveto, his partner in crime.
“Bradley Dale and I share the same defensive philosophy, Mallory said. “We’ve been together and are going to put the kids in the best position to be successful. It’s a great honor and privilege for me to be named defensive co-coordinator with him. I thank Coach Les Miles for having the confidence in both of us to get the job done.”
Whenever you have two people in charge, such as the case with Mallory and Peveto, communication will be an important component to the team’s success.
“We’ve communicated well the past three years under (Bo) Pelini, who was an outstanding coordinator to work under,” Mallory said. “We understand what each of us expects from each other; know our personnel and what our jobs are. Our goal is to work together with the other coaches to do our best at getting the kids prepared to play their very best.”
Mallory is familiar with the rich tradition of tenacious play that has earned LSU respect from opponents across the nation through the years. He relishes the challenge of upholding and continuing that great, past, heritage.
“The first thing I asked our players when I came here with Coach Miles was if they understood the tradition of defense at LSU,” Mallory said. “We’ve made a lot of people learn to respect that tradition. And we intend to do our best to keep it that way.”
A vital phase of being in an aggressive attack mode will be the play of the secondary where the Tigers must replace two starting corners from a year ago.
“I feel really good about those two guys and their ability to bring the pressure that we’ll need,” Mallory said. “We recruited with that as a priority and are confident that we will do well even though we lost two key players from last year.”
Curtis Taylor is the lone returning starter in the secondary and he should be able to help the newcomers with their checks and reads.
Although the Tigers will have three new starters in the defensive backfield Mallory feels that there is enough depth and talent to get the job done.
“We’ve got some great, veterans coming back, starting with Curtis,” Mallory said. “We feel good about the group of athletes and their ability to perform. We’ve got some talented kids that will give us help. They’ve been waiting in the wings to get the opportunity to play.”
As always, providing leadership must come from each member of the defense. That takes knowing how to lead, but also knowing how to follow.
The Tigers will get leadership from their men up front and one player that will be counted on to lead by example is Ricky Jean-Francois.
“Ricky Jean may be as solid a lineman as we’ve had.” Mallory said. “He has all the characteristics that you look for in a player and leader. He’s physical enough to play the inside and athletic enough to play the outside.”
Jean-Francois will have an extra incentive to step up and give leadership to his defensive mates after having missed most of the regular season last year because of academic problems.
“He gave us a taste of what he is capable of accomplishing by coming back and playing well in the SEC and National Championship games,” Mallory said. “He learned how important football is after having to sit out a lot last year. That’s something that you don’t realize until it’s taken away from you.”
Jackson, 6-5 and 290 pounds, had a team-high, 15 quarterback hurries and logged eight sacks last season. Pittman, a 6-4, 255-pounder, contributed eight sacks and 13.5 tackles for losses to give LSU one of the top tandems in the conferences.
“Tyson is a young man, who stepped up and played well for us last season,” Mallory said. “He’s, a well respected, and class person we look forward to playing a lot of quality football for us again. Kirston will be another key, senior leader for us along with Marlon Favorite.”
Mallory and Peveto have several holes on the defense that even a solid program like LSU will have trouble filling.
Although that stellar trio is gone, foes must still be wary and had better be prepared to face an LSU defense out to prove that it will be in attack mode from start to finish, through every game.
“Our philosophy will be very similar to what it was in the past,” Mallory said. “We’re going to have to restart, but will strive to always play aggressively and with discipline. We’re not going to change that philosophy of always attacking.”