Of all the positional uncertainty at LSU — at quarterback, the second cornerback spot and linebacker included — none carries more intrigue than what’s happening at defensive end. There’s a new defensive line staff in town, and Kevin Steele and Ed Orgeron have an interesting task in front of them. The Tigers could barely generate a pass rush last season, and both starting defensive ends from that team are gone.

That truly gives Orgeron and Steele a blank slate to work with. Yes, there are some players with a little more experience, but even those guys lack reps either starting or at the position.

Les Miles has given a glimpse into who he thinks will end up holding down those positions. The first name the Mad Hatter threw out in media availability last week was Maquedius “Quay” Bain, a rising junior who is converting from defensive tackle. He also mentioned Lewis Neal, another rising junior who spent time at defensive tackle last fall.

Miles being Miles, he couldn’t just say that those two are the players he expects to start come fall. He included Sione Teuhema and Deondre Clark in the competition, while Tashawn Bower figures into the conversation as well. Freshman Arden Key will arrive in the fall as well, and after Orgeron went after him hard late in the recruiting process, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the staff try to get him on the field if he’s ready.

Throughout his career as a DC, Steele’s defenses have generated pressure through the front four. After depth concerns hurt the Tigers last year, they come into this season with the defensive tackle position taken care of; Davon Godchaux’s emergence as a freshman was critical for the team, and Christian LaCouture developed into a steady player alongside him.

Having the defensive ends get after opposing quarterbacks is a must for the new defensive staff. LSU finished last season with 19 sacks, 13th overall in the SEC. That’s a precipitous decline from the previous four seasons, when LSU ranked no lower than sixth in the conference and didn’t have fewer than 25 sacks in any of those seasons.

The defensive line group is ready to get to work to remedy that. Coaches and players have been espousing the values of a group effort to take down quarterbacks, not just focusing on one-on-one battles.

“It takes all four guys to get a sack. If you have one guy pushing up the middle but not the other side, the quarterback has a place to go. If all four guys stay in their lanes, one of us is going to get the sack because of the other three,” Bower said after practice last week.

With no obvious individual candidate to rack up a big sack total, LSU will be counting on that kind of group effort to improve upon last year’s paltry sack and pressure totals. While reports out of LSU’s practices indicate that the defensive ends are excelling, it comes back to one big question: just how good can this group be?

Facts are facts, and the fact is this group has almost no experience. Although they got a fair amount of time on the field last fall, none of the five defensive ends in spring practice has been all that productive. The group has 2.5 sacks in total to their credit — 2.0 of them coming in one game for Teuhema last season, the other half-sack credited to Neal back in 2013.

Will Orgeron and Steele be able to coax a pass rush out of their newbies? With the rest of the defense bursting at the seams with talent, how the defensive line fares in the first year under the new coaching staff could be a pivotal issue for LSU’s fate in 2015.