When Trevor Lawrence watches LSU’s defense, he sees a good one. He sees one that can play well at every level and has talent all over the field.
Over the last four weeks LSU has improved to the standard that their defense is known for. Early in the season injuries at linebacker and in the secondary caused for a lack of production, but due to Joe Burrow and their record-setting offense, they were able to mask those issues for the better part of the season.
Now, when it matters the most, the LSU defense is as healthy as it has been all season, evident by their play on the field in the last four games.
Since giving up 614 yards to Ole Miss on Nov. 16, including 402 yards on the ground, the Bayou Bengals have buttoned up things defensively. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda went back to the drawing board. He switched from a 3-4 base defense in the first 10 games to a 4-3 scheme and the results have worked out well.
“They are really good. Up front, they are bigger guys, but they can move well. They have a really good pass rusher on the end,” Lawrence said. “Their linebackers are really good. They move sideline to sideline really fast. It is hard to kind of out leverage them. Also, No. 45 [Michael Divinity] coming back, he is more of a run stopper, but a really good player. He has not played in the last six or seven games. I am not really sure how many, but it will be different, and it will be interesting to see how they work him back in and if he will start or No. 8 [Patrick Queen] or whoever it is. We will see there.”
Since moving to a 4-3 defense, LSU is allowing just 16.3 points, 270.3 total yards and 87.3 rushing yards per game. In the national semifinals, they held Oklahoma, one of the nation’s top scoring and total offenses to 322 total yards, including just 97 yards on the ground.
The Sooners averaged 42.1 points and 537.6 yards per game in 2019. Their 322 yards against LSU was the only time this year they failed to gain at least 433 yards in a game.
“Then the secondary is who gets all the attention. They are really good,” Lawrence said. “They play a lot of man-to-man, but they do it well. They have really good coverage skills and a really good defense that plays with a chip on their shoulder.”
Clemson will try to knock off that chip on Monday when they play LSU is the Superdome in New Orleans.
Clemson is going back to the national championship game after once again winning the Fiesta Bowl over Ohio State. Get your official national championship and Fiesta Bowl champs gear right here!