When LSU coach Ed Orgeron first brought defensive coordinator Daronte Jones in, the first game film the two watched together was Mississippi State.
The busted coverages, the confusion and overall lack of execution were points that Orgeron wanted to relay to Jones that needed to be the priority if this defense wanted to get back to a respectable foundation. It's been a slow build but LSU feels like it's made important strides with its run defense and is doing a fantastic job on the outside coverage with Derek Stingley and Elias Ricks.
But the middle of the field, the crossing routes, the pick routes still remain a concern for this group heading into Starkville and that's where the energy is being placed this week.
"I said these are the things as a defensive coordinator you have to cover," Orgeron said. "These are the things you need to be prepared for, so we've been practicing those things, we're aware of those routes. Have we played all of them perfect? No we haven't, we still have work to do."
Luckily the Tigers will be getting some key pieces back on both sides of the ball as safety Jay Ward will suit up for the first time since week one, as will running back Armoni Goodwin and maybe even John Emery. The junior running back is still fighting his academic ineligbility but has been practicing with the team and is ready to go if cleared, Orgeron said Wednesday.
A decision on Emery will be made either Thursday or Friday his attorney Don Jackson told Brody Miller of The Athletic. The major concern on this offense remains the offensive line and the inconsistency in protection that continues to be a problem three weeks into the season.
Heading into the season, Cam Wire had established himself as the starter but he missed the Central Michigan game with an injury and Orgeron said he has yet to practice this week, leaving his status very questionable. The Tigers have tried a number of players at that left tackle spot, including Charles Turner and Garrett Dellinger but haven't found a consistent option.
"We haven't gelled together like we wanted," Orgeron said. "Those guys are trying, it seems like one day we have this guy in and one day we have that guy in. Still haven't found a left tackle, we put some of the young guys in last week, they didn't play very well, thy know it. This is going to be an ongoing process. Whoever practices better this week is gonna play so we got guys that are fighting for it."