LSU Football: Tigers will have a dominant unit on the defensive side of the ball

Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

LSU football‘s defense wasn’t a strength for the Tigers in 2020, but that could be changing in 2021.

Last season, under defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, LSU gave up 34.9 points per game, which was No. 98 in the nation.

That’s not a recipe for success in the SEC.

Fortunately for the Tigers, there’s optimism surrounding the defense entering 2021. That’s mostly because Pelini was replaced as LSU’s defensive coordinator by Daronte Jones (who was previously serving as the Minnesota Vikings defensive backs coach).

Jones is considered a better fit on Ed Orgeron’s staff. And he’s already connecting better with the players than Pelini did last year.

In addition to hiring Jones on the defensive side of the ball, Orgeron also hired former New York Jets defensive line coach Andre Carter to lead the Tigers’ defensive line.

LSU football’s defensive line could be “dominant” in 2021

LSU has essentially gone through a miniature rebuild after winning the national championship in 2019. The Tigers lost an extreme amount of talent from their 2019 squad, which forced some unproven players into a bigger role last season.

That year of experience last season, however, should help the Tigers be ready to compete in the SEC West in 2021.

Specifically the defensive line.

LSU will return all of their defensive line starters from a year ago.

And that experience is reportedly already paying off in a big way for the Tigers.

Billy Embody, who covers LSU football for 247Sports, reported this week that the Tigers’ defensive line was “dominant” in a recent scrimmage at Tiger Stadium.

Embody noted that sophomore BJ Ojulari was “impressive” at the scrimmage. He also mentioned that true freshman Maason Smith is “as physically ready as anyone” and is going to be “disruptive” once he gets the defense down.

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It should be fun to watch the Tigers’ defense come together this season. Last year was rough, but there’s plenty of reason for optimism moving forward.