The pass rush is an issue as the defensive front was expected to be a strength of the team last season, but it didn’t live up to expectations.
Injuries had something to do with that.
The defensive front again has the potential to be a strength of the team — if the Tigers can keep the group at least mostly intact.
The Tigers struggled with a passive approach on defense at the start of last season. They changed their defensive approach during their open date, putting better athletes near the line of scrimmage and blitzing significantly more.
The new approach changed the mindset of the players, who became much more aggressive and were much more effective.
Kelly and defensive coordinator Matt House can avoid another slow start on defense by capturing that aggressive mindset and turning the Tigers loose from the start.
Another Issues we have noticed is creating turnovers in whihc LSU was last in the SEC in interceptions and tied for last in takeaways last season.
The absence of a pass rush early in the season and the overall passivity to start the season were part of the problem.
The Tigers were pretty good at stopping the run (7th in the SEC). If they can contain the run and get into favorable down-and-distance pass-rush situations, the turnovers will come.
The running game is usually one of LSU’s strengths, but the Tigers were 2nd-to-last in rushing in the SEC last season.
Finally, the biggest issue that LSU needs to address is OFFENSIVE LIne. The line kept changing throughout last season and never developed any continuity because of injuries and disciplinary action.
It could have been a good group, but now, virtually everyone is gone. Tackle Cam Wire is the only player with significant experience who returns.
A couple of significant transfers, a few highly regarded backups, and a couple of highly-touted recruits comprise another talented group.
But continuity will again be an issue, especially early on.
The primary continuity came with the retention of offensive line coach Brad Davis, who was acting head coach between the end of the regular season and the Texas Bowl.
The Tigers should be able to form a solid group of starters. The key will be keeping them together throughout the season.