LSU Spring Position Recap: Defensive line has question at nose tackle, finds playmaker in Arden Key _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU quarterback Danny Etling (16) looks for a receiver downfield as LSU defensive tackle Davon Godchaux (57) applies pressure during LSU football's spring game.

LSU Spring Position Recap is a 7-part series highlighting each position’s performance during spring and outlook heading into summer workouts.

Position: Defensive line

Spring Depth Chart (immediate backup):

  • DE: Lewis Neal (Deondre Clark)
  • NT: Christian LaCouture (Greg Gilmore)
  • DE: Davon Godchaux (Frank Herron)
  • Buck (OLB/DE): Arden Key (Isaiah Washington)

Projected Fall Depth Chart:

  • DE: Lewis Neal (Deondre Clark)
  • NT: Davon Godchaux (Greg Gilmore/Rashard Lawrence)
  • DE: Christian LaCouture (Frank Herron)
  • Buck (OLB/DE): Arden Key (Tashawn Bower)

Three Things Learned:

  • In search of a nose: Two weeks before LSU’s spring game and more than halfway through the Tigers’ spring practice, the coaching staff moved Davon Godchaux from end to nose tackle and Christian LaCouture from nose tackle to end. It’s a sign of the team’s situation at nose tackle. LSU is in search of a nose – one of the must-have positions in the 3-4 defense. The search continues in preseason camp. Is it Godchaux? Do they move LaCouture back? Will a freshman like Edwin Alexander or Rashard Lawrence take over?
  • The Key spot:Arden Key is a strong fit for his new role as an outside linebacker/defense end. That was made abundantly clear during spring practice – from interviews with players and coaches. There’s more hype around this rangy, athletic sophomore than any other player as the Tigers break in new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s 3-4 scheme. Key is one of the primary
    Arden Key, in the background, during a Leonard Fournette run in the spring game. (Bill Feig)

    Arden Key, in the background, during a Leonard Fournette run in the spring game. (Bill Feig)

    playmakers in the restructured front seven. He’ll drop into coverage some (he had an interception in a spring scrimmage), rush the passer (Les Miles says he was in the backfield more than any other player this spring) and play the run, too. Why did we list Key’s position with the defensive line and not the linebackers? During practice, the Buck players still work with the D-line during individual position drills. Why did we include Tashawn Bower as Key’s backup in the fall depth chart? We’re assuming that Bower will move from his OLB position (the F) to the Buck. It’s just a guess.

  • Much more to install: Miles said Aranda installed only about 60 percent of his defense during the 14 spring practices, spread over five weeks. Talk to Aranda and he’ll say he installed even less. The new DC says he implemented just three packages. D-line coach Ed Orgeron said there could be 20-plus more packages. It’ll be a long summer and preseason camp – mentally – for coaches and players. Summer workouts begin in early June. Coaches can meet with players for two hours each week for an eight-week period starting then.

LSU Spring Position Recaps