Through two spring practices, defensive tackle Christian LaCouture hasn’t yet seen new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda yell.
He’s seen no yelling during any meetings, workouts or anything else since Aranda joined the program in January.
“I would think if somebody messes up pretty bad,” LaCouture said, “he will.”
The Tigers are adjusting to their new coordinator’s different personality and different scheme. Aranda is installing his new 3-4 defense during the spring.
LaCouture is moving from a 4-3 defensive tackle to a nose tackle in the 3-4. He and junior Greg Gilmore are playing nose tackle and signee Edwin Alexander is expected to join them in that role when he arrives this summer, LaCouture said.
The Tigers’ defense isn’t restricted to one formation, though. LSU is variable. They’ll play a 4-3 at times and could even mix in a two-man front, LaCouture said.
Defensive ends Lewis Neal, Arden Key and Tashawn Bower are playing two roles. They’ll have their hands in the ground as a regular end at times and will also stand up off the line as outside linebackers – at times even going out in coverage.
Here’s more from the senior in a Q&A:
How have you felt about how the defense has gone so far after two practices under the new coordinator?
Real good. We had a position meeting today regarding yesterday’s film. Looked real well. Just got to keep attacking it every day. You’re going to have some great plays and some plays you can work on. It’s a new defense we’ve got to learn. We’ve got to pick Coach Aranda’s brain.
He’s had a top 3 national defensive wherever he’s gone. He knows what to do and knows how to make you great. We got to make sure to listen to Coach (Ed Orgerong), Coach (Corey) Raymond as well and Coach (Les) Miles. We’ve got to do our job out there and make some plays.
What are some of the biggest changes to adjust to?
I’d say moving to a 3-4. We haven’t had that for a base since I’ve been here. We’ve run it on passing situations and stuff like that. For us, we’re taking it one day at a time. You’re going to have ups and downs, but you’ve got to make sure you attack it every day and try to get better than what you did yesterday.
How have you felt about your role at nose tackle in the 3-4?
It’s good. It’s not like a space eater or anything like that. It’s a lot of movement, a lot of adjusting to what the offense is doing, but I feel like us going out there and trying to make plays and keep the offense on their toes – not just sitting there taking up blocks.
I feel like Coach Aranda has brought that in. He’s not sitting back and letting them come to you. You’re attacking, trying to get up the field. It’s a lot of movement. It’s not space eater.
You’re not the typical space-eating nose tackle. What’s that like and have you ever played there?
Not in a base 3-4, no. Like I said, it’s not a space eater. You’re moving around a lot. Whether slanting one way or the other, you’re trying to keep the offensive line on their toes. I feel like it’s going to be real beneficial to me, just to make you more versatile.
We’ve got guys on the outside able to rush the passer, making (the QB) step up and if they do that, I’ll be right there. It’s not a space eating role at all.
What are some things that Aranda will bring to the defense that a fan might notice from the stands?
You’re not going to see the same look all of the time. I feel like you’re not going to run a 3-4 the whole game. You might run a 4-3, might run … we haven’t done it yet but he might run two-man fronts. I’ve seen him run that at Wisconsin, when you watch film.
You never know what’s going to happen so I feel like as we get more into spring ball, going into fall camp, you’ll be able to see different packages. We have a general base of it so far but when we get toward the end of spring ball, I think we’ll know, but, so far, we’re multiple. I think it’ll change on a week to week bases.
On that two-down front, you’ll be inside. That’s going to be tough huh?
Yeah, I mean, you’re going to have so many guys back there covering and you have linebackers, too, probably rushing. Whatever happens, if we can get a third-down stop, I’m OK with it.
What’s Aranda’s personality like?
He’s really humble. You might see a guy who has a top-3 defense wherever he goes, he might be arrogant, but he’s real humble. He wants to get better day to day. That’s what we love about him. We just try to pick his brain. Like I said, he’s had top 3 national defenses wherever he’s gone. We want to try to do that.
What’s the biggest change for you from what you did last year?
I think it’s moving around a lot. Not just sitting there and taking on a lot of blocks, really moving around, slanting or whatever it is. I feel like coach is going to put us in the best situations to make plays, and, so far, I really like.
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