John Chavis is entering his 17th season as a Southeastern Conference defensive coordinator. Greg Studrawa served as Bowling Green’s offensive coordinator from 2003-06, but is in only his second week running the LSU offense.
Either one of the fast-talking, high-octane assistants would stand out in a loud room.
During a news conference at LSU football’s media day Tuesday afternoon, Studrawa was asked which coach would be the first to lose his temper in the press box and break a headset.
“I promise you, I will,” Studrawa said with a laugh.
Studrawa stepped in for Steve Kragthorpe on short notice last week after Kragthorpe, who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, announced he was relinquishing his role as offensive coordinator while continuing to serve as quarterbacks coach. The former Bowling Green tackle, entering his fifth season coaching LSU’s offensive line, showed off some quick wit in his first major appearance before the local media.
In reference to his booming voice, Studrawa said he might not even need his headset to call plays.
“If I can get the window out, I’m just going to yell them down,” he said.
Chavis expressed similar enthusiasm Tuesday while talking about his deep, talented defense, but LSU’s third-year coordinator was less entertaining and more to the point than his jovial offensive counterpart.
Breaking the Tigers down position by position, Chavis said he relishes the chance to match up against Oregon’s score-by-the-minute offense in the season opener.
“I look at it a little bit like NASCAR, where you start off with your biggest race at the beginning of the year,” Chavis said.
Chavis arrived at LSU in 2009 after spending 14 seasons as Tennessee’s defensive coordinator, and he took the defense from solid in his first year to nasty in his second.
Helping fuel an 11-2 season, the Tigers ranked 10th nationally in pass defense and 11th in scoring defense.
Seven starters return on that side of the ball. but that doesn’t even include sophomore defensive backs Tyrann Mathieu, Eric Reid and Tharold Simon, who accounted for all three of LSU’s interceptions in the Cotton Bowl.
“We’re talking about a very talented group with high expectations,” Chavis said. “The pressure is there.”
Landry says return soon
Freshman wide receiver Jarvis Landry said he’s recovering quickly from the broken foot he suffered during offseason workouts and expects to start practicing next week.
“The healing process is coming along great,” Landry said. “Andy (Barker) and Jack (Marucci, LSU trainers) and the training staff have been doing everything they can to get me back ASAP.”
Landry said he hurt his foot on the last play of the last day of seven-on-seven workouts at LSU’s indoor practice facility.
“I cut wrong,” said Landry (5-foot-11, 190 pounds), a former standout at Lutcher.
“It just kind of happened. I believe injury comes with the game. I just take it as it is and just try to get better, try to get healthy before I touch the field.”
Landry has watched LSU’s practices from the sidelines.
“Every day for me is a learning process,” he said.
Backing up Kragthorpe
If Kragthorpe’s illness forces him out of action at some point this season, Studrawa said he would lean on tight ends coach Steve Ensminger to fill the void.
Ensminger played quarterback at LSU from 1976-79, throwing for 2,770 yards and 16 touchdowns in his career. The Baton Rouge native has been an offensive coordinator in stops at McNeese State, Louisiana Tech, Texas A&M and Clemson.
“What we are talking about now is that Steve Ensminger used to be a quarterback, so he is going to help us with the quarterbacks and jump into that role if necessary,” Studrawa said. “Steve right now is a logical guy who can handle the quarterbacks.”
Studrawa said wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator Billy Gonzales could help the quarterbacks as well.
Randle denies Lyles ties
Freshman linebacker Trevon Randle was asked Tuesday about his relationship with Will Lyles, the controversial owner of a Houston-based recruiting service who has brought LSU and Oregon under scrutiny.
According to a report in March by Foxsports.com, Randle’s coach at Clear Springs High said Lyles accompanied LSU assistant Brick Haley on a visit to see Randle at the League City, Texas, school.
“I don’t know who Will Lyles is,” Randle said.
Oregon, which faces LSU in the season opener, is under review by the NCAA after making a $25,000 payment to Lyles’ recruiting service.
LSU made a payment of $6,000 to the service, but school officials say the payment was for recruiting information such as highlight videos and not for influence with recruits. A representative of the NCAA met with LSU football coaches during an on-campus interview last month.