The LSU football team’s defense showed signs of promise Saturday at the annual Spring Game as the White team, comprised primarily of projected starters, prevented the Purple squad from getting on the scoreboard.
The Tigers are faced with the lofty task of replacing seven defensive starters from last season. Junior defensive tackle Ego Ferguson said he and his teammates wanted to remove any doubts LSU fans had about their relatively green team.
“A lot of people said that we couldn’t do it and that we were a lot thinner of a defensive line since we lost a few people,” Ferguson said. “I had the mindset that I wanted to prove a lot today.”
The White squad held the opposing offense to eight first downs, a 31 percent completion percentage and 208 total yards. It also tallied three sacks, four quarterback hurries and an interception.
LSU’s defensive line showed it may be able to be productive despite not having the depth of previous lines.
Sophomore lineman Danielle Hunter showed prowess at defensive end, leading the Tigers with eight tackles and two sacks. Ferguson and fellow junior defensive tackle Anthony Johnson also had impressive outings, combining for 12 tackles.
Junior defensive end Jordan Allen contributed with four tackles and an assisted sack.
“With the guys we have in the front, no matter what quarterback we are playing, you have about three seconds to get the ball out, and that is what we try to accomplish,” said senior safety Craig Loston.
Junior Jermauria Rasco is expected to start at defensive end but did not participate in the Spring Game due to a shoulder injury.
LSU coach Les Miles confirmed the middle linebacker position will be filled by either junior D.J. Welter or senior Lamin Barrow.
Welter got the start at the position Saturday, but stayed relatively quiet throughout the scrimmage, tallying just two tackles compared to Barrow’s seven.
Barrow has only played at outside linebacker, but he said he is willing to play in whatever position Miles feels he will be most productive.
“Of course I’m used to the outside, but when I came in as a freshman I was an inside linebacker, so I’m ready wherever,” Barrow said. “... The main thing is getting the best three guys on the field. All our guys are ready. Whoever gets that third spot is going to be fine.”
Sophomore linebacker Kwon Alexander also had a promising showing, leading the Purple squad with seven tackles, one for loss, and breaking up two passes.
Loston stood out in the backfield at free safety earning six tackles, breaking up a pass and grabbing the sole interception of the scrimmage.
Miles said he was happy with the defense’s performance as a whole, and said the addition of incoming freshmen this summer can only help.
“There’s a lot to build on,” Miles said. “Certainly a great challenge to start a summer season.”