ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, David Pollack dissect the issues facing the LSU defense
Trends are not going in the right direction for the LSU defense, and following a 45-41 loss to Missouri on Saturday in a game when Missouri rang up 586 yards. Missouri averaged an amazing 8.6 yards per play as LSU dropped to 1-2 as fans and media wondered how the defense had performances like Mississippi State and Missouri.
ESPN’s David Pollack and Kirk Herbstreit weighed in on the issue facing the defending national champions on Monday’s episode of the CFB Podcast with Herbie, Pollack & Neghandi.
“A couple things I took away from LSU’s defense,” Pollack said, per 247Sports. “A ton of finger pointing. A ton of, ‘What happened, bro? Where were you? What’s going on?’ And then a lack of effort. And then, listen, you win a championship and what do we always marvel at with Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban? Somehow keeping those guys’ edge, right? Like, keeping the fight and keeping the hammer down and not resting on their laurels. To me, LSU looks like they’re pretty content.
“Like, ‘We won a championship. We were awesome. We might not be good this year, but you know what? We won a championship.’ That’s frustrating to watch, from a standpoint of a defense that should be so much better that a corner in (Derek) Stingley that should be taking away half the field and looking even better than he did as a true freshman. And now you have a lot of finger pointing, a lack of effort and lack of caring.”
While LSU has plenty of talent, what may be lost by some is how much the Bayou Bengals lost in terms of players and coaches across the board.
“I think it’s a combination of that, along with that they lost so much,” Herbstreit said. “Joe Brady, Dave Aranda, Joe Burrow, all the skill other than (Terrace) Marshall. It’s been widely publicized everything they lost on the defensive side of the ball. Ja’Marr Chase opts out in the midst of this pandemic. It almost feels like the body language of the players remaining playing are looking over a fence at all the guys that left, like, ‘Wow, you guys got to leave?’
The expectations are something that need to be adjusted at times.
“And that’s what it feels like. It just feels like they’re like, ‘You expect us to stay here when everyone left?,'” Herbstreit said. “It doesn’t feel like, ‘We’ve been backed into a corner and we’ll show them.’ They just look like, beyond Xs and Os, it just seems like there’s more going on behind the scenes — behind closed doors — than maybe we realize.”