Tre’Davious White is the new Jalen Mills.
White, the LSU senior defensive back, is no longer a cornerback, split out wide and locked in one-on-one coverage on the outside.
He’s the Tigers’ new nickelback, tucked inside and available to help in a variety of ways.
“It creates opportunity for him to make more plays,” defensive backs coach Corey Raymond said Wednesday at the LHSCA coaches clinic. “He’ll get some sacks, get some picks. Puts him in a lot of different places to make a lot of plays. That’s why we’re doing that.”
Mills, picked in the seventh round of the NFL draft in April, was Raymond’s do-it-all DB over the past three seasons, seeing time at cornerback safety and nickel in the five-man defensive back package. He spent the majority of his time at safety last season. White’s role will be similar, only with a majority of his time spent at nickel.
“We want a big, physical nickel,” defensive coordinator Dave Aranda said in regards to White’s move.
The Tigers didn’t play that way last season: Donte Jackson, a small, speedy freshman, started at nickel during the final few games. Aranda said Jackson will not play nickel this season. He's an option to replace White on the outside in the nickel package, opposite Kevin Toliver.
It’s unclear, in Aranda’s new 3-4 scheme, how much LSU will use the five-DB nickel package. Over the past several years, they have used it more than any other formation. The nickel position often is responsible for coverage on a slot receiver or a backfield player.
LSU hopes to use White in more of a blitzing role, too. Raymond expects him to “thrive.”
This won’t be a first for White. He played nickel and safety during LSU’s bowl game against Texas Tech, a package that coaches installed to combat the Red Raiders’ pass-crazed offense.
“He can do both — corner and nickel. It just depends on the teams we’re playing,” Raymond said. “He’ll thrive in that because he’s a playmaker. You want to put a playmaker in position to make a bunch of plays. He’ll get to get sacks. He likes all of that — make a lot of plays.”
Dave Aranda's installation of a 3-4 defense at LSU has led to position moves and role swaps.
Raymond: All DBs clear
LSU was down four defensive backs during the spring game and two more freshman DBs arrived in June nursing injuries, but they’ll all be healthy enough to begin preseason camp Aug. 4, Raymond said.
Jackson (academics), Toliver (shoulder), John Battle (shoulder/sports hernia) and Rickey Jefferson (ankle) missed the spring game. Toliver and Battle missed all of spring drills while recovering from surgery.
Signees Eric Monroe and Cameron Lewis are recovering from spring surgeries. Lewis, a Wossman product, had surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder in March. Monroe, a Houston product, is recovering from surgeries on his shoulder (torn labrum) and knee (torn lateral meniscus).
Monroe said in June that his rehabilitation wouldn’t end until August, but Raymond said he’ll be “good.”
“His knee is getting better,” Raymond said. “He’ll be working out.”