This LSU defense has been special through four games. With defensive coordinator Matt House putting his players in position to be successful, it should come as no surprise that this unit is clicking on all cylinders.
The wake-up call the Tigers received in their season opening loss to Florida State lit a fire under these players and it’s shown in their overall play. The defensive line has been spectacular, but this secondary has really opened eyes.
LSU has talented defensive backs, but gaining chemistry and playing as one unit was the main concern coming into the season.
It’s virtually all fresh faces with Oklahoma State transfer Jarrick Bernard-Converse; Louisiana transfer Mekhi Garner; McNeese State transfer Colby Richardson and Ohio State transfer Sevyn banks, among others.
Not to mention the pair of Arkansas transfers the Tigers brought in with Joe Foucha and Greg Brooks. The talent is there. The versatility is there. It’s just a matter of putting it all together and it appears Coach House has done just that after a few games of flip flopping rotations.
“You would like a little more continuity,” Kelly said on Monday. “I think Matt (House) and Kerry (Cooks) have done a good job of communicating what we need to do back there. I think it’s going to be a little bit easier with Joe Foucha in terms of he is an experienced player, so it was a little bit more difficult when we had to move Jarrick (Bernard-Converse) back there because you didn’t have an experienced safety.”
The Tigers have been without Foucha for the first four games of the season as he went through his academic suspension. The suspension stems from his transfer from Arkansas to LSU.
Kelly has been very complimentary of Foucha and what he can bring to this secondary in terms of experience and leadership. Even when he was running on scout team during his suspension, his tenacity is what helped this defense get even better over the course of the first month of the season.
“Every day we’ll have some 11-on-11 work where there is no, ‘Hey, we’re getting ready for New Mexico or we’re getting ready for Mississippi State,’” Kelly said. “He is involved in that. He is in our defensive structures."
“When we started over the past month when we got ready for our opponent, (Foucha) would come over to scout (team). He was a pain to deal with because he was so good at playing as a scout team member that he made us better. I have been able to see firsthand his action on a day-to-day basis, and he will be ready to play right away.”
One thing this LSU secondary attains is experience. With Jay Ward returning to Baton Rouge and impacting this team in a positive way, he’s become a safety net for this defense. Now add in Foucha, who plays excellent alongside Brooks, this unit is just beginning to scratch the surface.
Coach Kelly spoke highly of what Ward brings this team and how the trio of Ward, Brooks and Foucha will make this side of the ball click even more as the season goes on.
“As we move forward now with Jay Ward probably coming back this week and being healthy and getting Joe, you’ve got experience back there,” Kelly said. “In one instance we would like a little more continuity, but on the positive side with Brooks, Foucha, and Jay Ward, you’ve got experience.”
As LSU enters their strenuous stretch of SEC games, it all starts with Auburn, and as it stands now, this defense could be fully available for the first time this season. Coach House will continue evaluating rotations, but it’s hard not to like what we’ve seen from this side of the ball.