“There is an old saying ‘the wind blows hardest at the top of the flagpole.’ If that’s the case, I want the wind to blow as hard as it can on us.” John Chavis, LSU defensive coordinator
The LSU defense ranked among the nation’s top five last year in total defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense and rush defense, leading the Tigers to a Southeastern Conference title and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game.
A long list of All-SEC candidates and future NFL draft picks returns.
“There is an old saying ‘the wind blows hardest at the top of the flagpole,’” defensive coordinator John Chavis said Tuesday at LSU Media Day. “If that’s the case, I want the wind to blow as hard as it can on us.”
Chavis isn’t shying away from the sky-high expectations associated with this year’s defense.
“It’s exciting to be at LSU, a program where the expectations are very high along with the great fan support we have here,” he said.
Cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, and free safety Eric Reid lead a list of star defensive players who last year held seven opponents to single digits, allowing only 261.5 yards per game.
But the high expectations have as much to do with the man who coaches them.
Chavis earned the Frank Broyles Award given to the nation’s top assistant in his third year on the LSU sideline, then agreed to a contract extension that will pay him an average of $1.1 million over the next three seasons. His defenses at LSU have gotten progressively better each year, ranking 11th nationally in scoring defense in 2009 and 2010 before finishing second to Alabama last season.
“I enjoy the fact that we keep getting just a little bit better with the number of years that we’re consistent there,” LSU coach Les Miles said.
Whether the Tigers can keep the trend alive may depend on how quickly a group of promising freshmen can make an impact at linebacker and defensive back.
Chavis said Deion Jones, Lamar Louis, Kwon Alexander and Lorenzo Phillips are all in the mix to see playing time at linebacker in their first year. Corey Thompson and Jalen Mills are youngsters he likes in the secondary.
“I think this will be a defense that when we take the field, will be a good defense,” Chavis said. “But because of some youth, I think this is a defense that will get better and better with more playing time.”