If anyone thinks the “DBU” debate between defensive backs at LSU and Florida is just some social media banter, think again.
“It’s something that’s real,” safety Rickey Jefferson said. “We take it seriously.”
Jefferson, the Tigers junior safety, tossed some fuel in the raging battle between the conference rivals who both claim to have the best defensive back program — a.k.a. DBU.
Jefferson was asked if LSU had any defensive backs as good as Vernon Hargreaves III, a freshman All-American last season at Florida.
“Yes sir,” he said, “and better, I would say.”
Jefferson said LSU defensive backs have a “DBU group (text) message,” in which they discuss the issue. Florida and LSU play in Tiger Stadium on Oct. 17 in their yearly meeting.
“Some people,” Jefferson said. “We’ve got to go at them just because they take our title.”
Players from the Gators and the Tigers have each staked claim to the mythical DBU title over the summer — an exchange of words played out on Twitter.
In May, Florida’s athletic department released a video declaring itself DBU, sparking the Twitter duel.
“Lol, just because you got a little video don’t make you DBU. Just saying,” LSU safety Jamal Adams tweeted after the video’s release.
Cornerback Jalen Mills chimed in, too, and LSU released its own video days later showing defensive backs like Eric Reid and Tyrann Mathieu with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on draft day.
Running back Leonard Fournette even got in on the fun, changing his Twitter profile picture to a photo of himself during LSU’s win over Florida. Fournette’s back is to the camera, and Hargreaves is in front of him lying on the turf, face-down.
In an ESPN.com study posted last summer, Ohio State was deemed “DBU.” Oklahoma was No. 2, LSU was third and Florida was seventh. Points were given to teams based on award winners, All-Americans and drafted players from 2000-2013.
Shuffle on D-line
After practicing with the younger group Thursday afternoon, a pair of sophomore defensive tackles got their shot to run with the veterans Friday morning.
Greg Gilmore and Frank Herron practiced with the starters, replacing senior Quentin Thomas and walk-on junior Marcus Roberts, who practiced Friday afternoon with the younger players.
Junior defensive end Lewis Neal was impressed with Herron and Gilmore, who figure to back up starting tackles Christian LaCouture and Davon Godchaux.
“They looked great,” Neal said. “But it’s a grind, no matter who is in the morning practice. Morning, evening; it doesn’t matter. We’re going to need everybody.”
Said Gilmore: “I kind of like the morning group. You get to play against some older offensive linemen. If you go against the best, you are the best if you can beat the best.”
Though Neal doesn’t put much stock into who practices when, he said seeing different players compete with the starting squad gives him confidence in the defensive line’s depth, which is a concern.
“I feel great about everybody we have on the defensive line because we all have the same goals and we push each other,” he said. “When you have that depth, it makes things so much easier. You can rotate in and out and never miss a beat.”
Williams no longer at FB
Sophomore running back Darrel Williams’ days at fullback are over — for now, at least.
“I don’t think so, not this year,” Williams said. “We’ve got (freshman) David Ducre to do the things I was doing at fullback.”
The 6-foot, 232-pound Williams, who has taken the second-team snaps behind classmate Leonard Fournette through the first two days of camp, occasionally lined up as a blocking back last season.
A deeper backfield has pushed Williams out of his secondary role. Though he said Ducre would fill in at fullback, converted tight end John David Moore and redshirt freshman Tony Upchurch have been getting the first- and second-team snaps.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter: @DellengerAdv.