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Inside the Teaching Philosophies of LSU Football's New Defensive Staff

LSU’s new defensive staff has common theme of teaching with different approaches

Philosophies vary from coach to coach but the foundational pieces for LSU's newest defensive staff are relatively the same. Daronte Jones, Blake Baker and Andre Carter all come from different coaching cloths but do have some overlapping experiences.

For example, Jones and Carter spent the 2016-17 season working together with the Miami Dolphins where Jones was working with the defensive backs and Carter was an assistant defensive line coach. Jones talked about finding his coaching personality during his first stop in Louisiana but his philosophy revolves around communication and have a strong ability to get across what he's trying to relay to his players. 

"The ability to communicate. I think that's a strength a coach has to have, the ability to teach. We're all teachers at the end of the day. And to command the room, to help guys understand and break this game down to its simplest format," Jones said. "That's what I wanted to convey to coach, having the abilities to make this game easier in the thought process. And also over-communicating, being a teacher, giving the guys the motivation to go out and put their best foot forward so we can have a productive product on the field."

Communication and teaching is a pretty fundamental root for any good coach but communication was an area that the players stuggled with during the 2020 season. It's an approach that Jones beleives is the single most important attribute to getting the defense back on track. 

"I know my assignment. I know what to do. And now I can go and execute what the coach is asking me to do. To me, that's the identity of sound football," Jones said. "Gap scheme. Gap sound. Everyone doing their 1/11th, doing their job. That's what we can bring. That's what we have to bring. And the ability to communicate."

Carter, who spent 13 years as a player and the last four with the Dolphins and New York Jets as a coach, says teaching is teaching and what's truly important is setting a foundation early that the players can follow and also fall back on. For Carter, his foundation is his father, Rubin, who played in the NFL for 12 years and coached in it for 30 more. 

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His father and other coaches over the years taught him to focus on fundamentals and how key they are to the success of each individual player. What he teaches his players on the defensive line is that when things might not be going well in terms of fatigue or just struggling throughout a game, having those sound fundamentals will help the individual get through the struggles.

“What you have to do is you have to set a foundation and that’s just all through, obviously it’s through years of experience that I’ve played, but I’ve also worked with great coaches, starting with my father," Carter said. "One thing I’ve learned from them is just, the fundamentals, the foundation of playing efficient defensive lineman is footwork, hand placement, things of that nature – pass rush, eye-hand coordination, feet progression. Those are the things, those are the crucial things that make you an elite defensive lineman."

For Baker, the first step in coaching a new group of players starts with building trust and letting them get to know him on a personal level. Having the players meet his family, getting to know them personally is the primary goal. 

“See, this is what you have to do first and foremost: Without trust, there is no relationship. A coach told me a long time ago that a kid doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care," Baker said. "And I’ve really followed that philosophy my entire coaching career. I’ve already called and had conversations with all the linebackers and let them know I’m going to make them a better player, but I’m also going to make them a better person."

From his time as a defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech, Baker has always done a great job of recruiting in state. That figures to be a big part of him coming aboard and his ability to relate to players has made him an elite recruiter according to coach Ed Orgeron. 

The three new hires may come from different backgrounds but they all have philosophies in place that should help improve the players approach on the field.