At Wednesday’s practice, Tashawn Bower might play the F-linebacker position.
On Thursday, Bower might play the Buck linebacker spot.
On Friday, he might even play on the line at defensive end.
“It’s definitely hard,” said Bower, the Tigers’ senior do-it-all defender. ‘The terminology, the drops and rushes are different. It’s a lot."
Two injuries to LSU’s outside linebackers — Corey Thompson at F-LB and Isaiah Washington at Buck — mean more work for Bower and, potentially, more playing time for freshman Michael Divinity.
Thompson, a presumed starter at F-linebacker, fractured his lower leg on Aug. 10 and is out for at least six weeks. Washington, backup to Arden Key at the hybrid end/outside linebacker Buck position, is out for the season with a knee injury. The injuries happened within three days of one another during the first week of camp, and they’ve thrown more weight onto the shoulders of Bower, a player who’s only recently gotten healthy.
Bower missed, at least, the first five days of camp with a nagging knee injury, and he’s still slowly easing into practice — at multiple positions.
At the start of camp and during the spring, Bower split time with Thompson at F-linebacker, a position that’s not always on the field, often times exiting during passing downs for another defensive back. He sometimes drops down on the line as a defensive end or, even, in a defensive tackle during pass-rushing downs, too. After Washington’s injury, he was moved, at least part of the time, to Buck backing up Key.
Buck, F, end, tackle — put Bower wherever you want.
“We’re trying to see where the pieces fit right now, and trying to figure out what’s best,” he said. “One day I might be over there with the Bucks, one with the Fs. It’s putting pieces in the right positions and creating the best mismatches.”
New defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s 3-4 system prides itself on creating mismatches. Bower’s position and role each game might be specific to the upcoming opponent on a given week.
That’s not necessarily the case for Divinity, a mid-year enrollee who participated in spring practice. Divinity is getting, at least, some of the snaps in Thompson’s absence, Bower and Key both said Wednesday. Even for a highly touted player — he was ranked as high as the 10th-best outside linebacker in the nation — those are big shoes.
“He’s every day coming along. He’s getting a lot better. You can tell from Day 1 until today, it’s a huge difference, a big difference,” Bower said. “The kid takes notes and tries to do what he’s told. You can see it in his play.”
The three-minute video shows the inside of a ransacked home.
Meanwhile, Bower continues his dance across LSU’s defensive front. From F-linebacker (the wide side of the field) to Buck (the opposite side of the field) and to the line in a three-point stance on passing downs.
“You’ve just got to go home,” he said, “and get in your playbook and really want it.”
Godchaux happy; Valentine with No. 1s
Davon Godchaux is back — back at defensive end.
“I’m very happy, not to be in the middle,” the junior said with a smile.
Christian LaCouture’s season-ending knee injury Aug. 7 forced coaches to shift Godchaux from nose tackle to LaCouture’s spot at end. Godchaux spent the first half of spring practice at end before the staff moved him to nose tackle, a spot he didn’t always like.
“If I had to play it, I’ll play it,” he said, “but I’m very happy to be on the end dominating and doing what I do best.”
So who’s at nose tackle replacing Godchaux? Travonte Valentine is receiving some first-string snaps at the spot, he said. The 350-pounder joined the Tigers last week and began practicing in full pads this week. He’s scheduled to participate in the Tigers’ scrimmage Saturday at Tiger Stadium.
“He’s going to be a lot for y’all to see. A lot of people don’t know, he’s quick off the ball,” Godchaux said. “He’s a very good player. He’s going to be a very great player when (coach Ed Orgeron) finishes coaching him.”
In fact, Valentine should give Godchaux more freedom on the outside.
“When you got a guy like Travonte in the middle, he takes a lot off of me because I don’t (get double-teamed) every play,” Godchaux said. “It frees me up to make a lot more plays.”