LSU Football: Tigers defense is motivated by last year’s failure

LSU football vs Arkansas Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
LSU football vs Arkansas Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s been talked about almost ad nauseam at this point, but it’s a point that will be repeated many times this year — LSU football‘s defense was terrible last season.

Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron talked up LSU’s defense last offseason, saying at one point that the defense was already further ahead than it was at any point during the 2019 season.

Coach O would end up regretting that quote.

The marriage between defensive coordinator Bo Pelini (who was hired after the 2019 season to replace Dave Aranda) and LSU didn’t work out. The Tigers gave up 34.9 points per game in 2020, which was No. 98 in the nation.

As a result, LSU and Pelini went their separate ways. Orgeron then hired Minnesota Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones to serve as the Tigers’ new defensive coordinator.

Jones had already injected a burst of energy into LSU’s program. The players seem excited and ready to make plays this season. The vibe is different.

But just because the vibe is different, doesn’t mean that LSU’s players are forgetting about the team’s poor defensive showing in 2020.

LSU Football is motivated by the team’s poor defensive play in 2020

LSU safety Jay Ward met with reporters this week to give his take on the Tigers’ new defense under Jones.

And Ward made it clear that the defense wasn’t pleased with their play last year.

“As a defense last year, we was embarrassed,” said Ward (via 247Sports). “We gave up too many yards. That wasn’t the LSU Standard of Performance and this year, we’re going to change that and get back to the standard.”

Pelini simply wasn’t a good fit for the Tigers. And his presence impacted the entire defensive side of the ball in a negative way.

It’s obviously only spring practice, and a lot can change between now and the start of the season, but there’s definitely reason for optimism entering the 2021 season.

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LSU’s defense is on the same page. And the team is hungry. I think we’ll see a drastically improved Tigers defense in 2021 as a result.