Dear LSU defense,
There is no more time. There are no more excuses. There is little reason to believe how this season turns out is on anyone else but you.
The offense you carried on your shoulder pads last year? It has arrived. Zach Mettenberger, Jeremy Hill, Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr. and company have melded with Cam Cameron to forge an attack that for the first time in school history has tallied more than 400 yards per game in the first five games. Games in which your team is averaging 43 points per game, scoring at least 35 points each time out. They hung 41 on Georgia last week, the best team you’ve played.
But any help you got last week wasn’t enough. Sure, Georgia’s offense is fantastic. But it pushed you around, blocked you, ran over, around and through you.
Let’s just say it. You embarrassed yourselves. No pass rush, no pass defense, not much run defense in between. Given a four-point lead late with just over four minutes to go, you couldn’t hold it. In fact, that last Georgia possession went so badly for you it really was a plus for your offense that the Bulldogs scored with 1:47 left to give them enough time to rally back.
That rally came up short, yes, but the offense did enough the first 58 minutes. Forty-one points should be enough for LSU to win any game it plays.
There is good news. Your team is still in the hunt. Ranked No. 10, still in control of your destiny in the SEC West, if you can win out you can make it to the SEC Championship Game, which we all know has been a BCS semifinal game the last few years.
There are worse positions to be in, by far. Your team has the talent, coaching and intangibles to win every game it has remaining.
But you, the defense, have to come to play much better.
Each of you have to look in the mirror and find some pride. Pride in the white shirt.
Offense is exciting, but it’s always been about the defense at LSU. They scored points aplenty in 2007 to win the national championship, but it was Glenn Dorsey who became the most decorated player in LSU history. It was Marcus Spears’ pick six that was the difference in the 2003 BCS championship game against Oklahoma.
Heck, even way back when Billy Cannon led LSU to the 1958 national title, it was the Chinese Bandits, the third-string defense, that won people’s hearts. And Cannon’s epic punt return to beat Ole Miss in 1959, the one that won him the Heisman Trophy, is all but forgotten if he and Warren Rabb don’t make a goal-line stand at the end of the game.
I’m talking to you, Anthony “Freak” Johnson. I know you’re getting double-teamed, but it’s high time to live up to your recruiting rankings.
I’m talking to you, Lamin Barrow. Your teammates voted you that No. 18 jersey because you’re supposed to be their leader. Well, lead. Grab some face masks. Kick some keisters.
I’m talking to you, Jalen Mills. Don’t waste your time complaining about safety help that isn’t there. Did Eric Reid point fingers when he had to cover up for your inexperience last year?
It’s time for you to remember your place. You play defense for LSU, the defense of Patrick Peterson, Cory Webster and LaRon Landry, of Tommy Casanova, Kevin Minter and Roy “Moonie” Winston.
It’s time to man up. No better time than against Mississippi State, a team you beat every year like it’s your birthright. Well, that team is good enough to beat you this Saturday if you don’t play better than you did last Saturday.
The “Win” crossbar you touch before every game demands you to do “whatever it takes for victory.”