LSU notebook: With Craig Loston back in the mix, Tigers defense opens it up

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU safety Craig Loston breaks up a pass intended for TCU receiver Ty Slanina late in the second half Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, in AT&T Stadium. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU safety Craig Loston breaks up a pass intended for TCU receiver Ty Slanina late in the second half Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, in AT&T Stadium.

LSU held Craig Loston out of Saturday’s 45-13 victory against Kent State and gave every appearance of holding back on everything its defense is capable of through its first three games.

Both the senior strong safety and the team’s full defensive playbook are ready to go Saturday when No. 6 LSU (3-0) takes on Auburn (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) at 6:45 p.m. in Tiger Stadium.

“I wouldn’t say we’re holding back,” Loston said, “but we’re holding things for the right situation when they’re really needed. We’ve been doing a great job out of our base defense. We’ve been getting (quarterback) pressure without blitzing a lot.”

LSU is ranked third in the SEC and 10th nationally allowing 267.7 yards per game but has recorded just six sacks, tied for fifth in the SEC.

Loston missed the Kent State game with a deep thigh bruise but said he could have played if necessary. On Tuesday, the last day LSU players were available to talk to the media, Loston said he practiced Monday and Tuesday and is ready to go.

Recruiting watch

LSU is not expecting any official visits for Saturday’s game, according to 24/7 Sports, but nearly 50 recruits are expected to be on hand.

From the 2014 class, that number includes uncommitted top prospects like running back Leonard Fournette of St. Augustine, safety Laurence “Hootie” Jones of Monroe Neville and John Curtis wide receiver Malachi Dupre. LSU commitments such as defensive back Edward Paris from Arlington (Texas) Timberview, Trey Quinn from Lake Charles Barbe and guard Garrett Brumfield from University High also are planning to be on hand.

Among 2015 commitments expected on the sideline are U-High running back Nick Brossette and East St. John cornerback Xavier Lewis. Uncommitted 2015 prospects such as Catholic High running back Derrius Guice, Shreveport Woodlawn defensive tackle T.D. Moton and Patterson wide receiver Daylon Charlot also are on the list to visit.

LSU has 14 commitments for 2014 and three for 2015.

HLN show at LSU on Friday

HLN’s “Morning Express with Robin Meade” show will broadcast from 5-9 a.m. Friday from the Walk-On’s on Burbank Drive near the LSU campus.

The stop in Baton Rouge is the first of eight on the show’s “Rivalry Express” tour this college football season.

LSU-Auburn series

LSU holds a 26-20-1 lead in the series, which dates to a 28-0 Auburn win in 1901.

Other notable items from the series:

  • The winner of this game has gone on to win the SEC Western Division eight times since 2000.
  • Auburn was the last team to beat LSU in the month of September, 7-3 in 2006. Since then, LSU has won 27 straight September games.
  • LSU leads 11-10 in the series since both teams began playing annually in 1992.
  • LSU has won two straight, six of eight under Les Miles and seven of the past 10 meetings.
  • LSU has won six straight games against Auburn since Auburn’s last win in Tiger Stadium in 1999, including a 45-10 rout in 2011 that was the largest margin of victory in the series. LSU won 12-10 at Auburn last year.
  • Overall, LSU holds a 15-5-1 lead in Baton Rouge.

On the call

ESPN’s prime-time crew of Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analyst) and Holly Rowe (sideline) will call the game Saturday. That crew also called LSU’s opener against TCU.

LSU’s radio crew again will be without longtime analyst Doug Moreau, who is dealing with health issues. Play-by-play announcer Jim Hawthorne will again be joined by analyst Gordy Rush in the broadcast booth, while Alex Box Stadium public address announcer Bill Franques again replaces Rush as sideline reporter.

Bag policy

LSU officials remind fans of the Tiger Stadium bag policy in advance of Saturday’s game.

No bags larger than 8.5-by-11 inches are allowed. Backpacks are prohibited, as are umbrellas and outside food and beverages. Fans may bring ponchos to the game as there is a threat of rain Saturday night.

For more information on LSU game day policies, visit www.LSUSports.net/gameday.

Lagniappe

Auburn returned an unsold portion of its ticket allotment to LSU, but those tickets have all been sold, according to the LSU Athletic Ticket Office. A few were available through the LSU Ticket Marketplace at www.LSUTix.net. … LSU hasn’t trailed this season in 180 minutes played. … The Tigers are 15-for-15 in the red zone with 11 touchdowns and four field goals. … LSU is 39-2 in night games in Tiger Stadium under Miles and 63-5 in home night games since 2000.