10/4/14 LSU vs Auburn

LSU sophomore defensive back Rashard Robinson punches the ground as Auburn sophomore wide receiver Marcus Davis (80) and the crowd celebrate a touchdown Saturday, October 4, 2014 during the LSU Tigers' 41-7 loss against the Auburn Tigers in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Throughout the season, communication has been an area in which the LSU football team’s defense has been looking to improve. 

But after LSU’s 41-7 loss to No. 2 Auburn on Saturday, more questions came up about defensive communication than were answered. 

“If you don’t communicate defensively, things start happening,” said LSU sophomore defensive back Rashard Robinson. “Everyone just has to be on the same page.”

Defensive positioning was one of the stronger areas of LSU’s’ game, but even that couldn’t stop Auburn and senior quarterback Nick Marshall. 

On one play, Robinson was lined up against Auburn junior receiver Sammie Coates. Even with fantastic positioning, Robinson failed to contain Coates and allowed a 56-yard touchdown pass.

“We were in good position, we had good technique, they just had better catches,” Robinson said. “There was nothing we could do, we were in position to make the plays.”

Fixing the communication problem that led to 41 points may not be simple, but one LSU coach has an analogy that seems to have struck a chord with                                     Robinson.

“[LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis] says it’s like a pack of wolves, you’ve got to communicate,” Robinson said. “All of the wolves are on the same accord. Everybody has one thing to do, and once everybody does that, everything will come together and they’ll make the kill.”

Wide receivers look to capitalize even with QB changes

The quarterback situation for LSU has been volatile throughout the first six games of the season. Changing between sophomore Anthony Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris, especially during the middle of a game, is sometimes meant to light a fire under a team.

But changing quarterbacks as often as LSU has created some inconsistencies not only in that position but also in the wide receiving corps. To help fix this, some of LSU’s receivers are spending extra time catching from both Jennings and Harris to get used to the differences in their style.

“By staying after practice and getting throws from both Brandon and Anthony, when the game comes, you’re comfortable with the situation and it’s not something that is new,” said sophomore wide receiver Travin Dural. “It’s just getting a feel for those two guys.”

LSU racked up a meager 142 receiving yards against Auburn. Combined, Harris and Jennings threw the ball 24 times but had only eight completions. LSU failed to capitalize on third down opportunities, which is where the receivers especially want to capitalize.  

“In the receiving squad, we say that third down is money down,” said redshirt freshman John Diarse. “We know where we need to be on the field and what we need to do, and any ball that is in the air has got to be yours, and that is the same way with any quarterback.”

Defensive backs without Thomas

With sophomore defensive back Dwayne Thomas out for the season with a torn ACL, LSU’s secondary is trying to find ways to compensate.

One of these ways was running junior cornerback Jalen Collins in Thomas’ spot against Auburn.

“I was subbing in on the outside, we had a rotation,” Collins said. “Wherever they need me, I feel comfortable because I know the defense very well.”

Collins, who is in his third year as a starter, is an experienced veteran who has been consistent in the secondary for the Tigers this season. Although he can fill in at Thomas’ position, Collins says losing Thomas was a huge blow.

“I mean, we definitely missed some of his experience and knowledge of the defense,” Collins said. “And it is always tough missing a player that has been there.”

Junior linebacker Lamar Louis said throughout all of the uncertainty, the coaching staff has been able to keep the defense motivated and focused on its goal. 

“[LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis] has done a good job of keeping us motivated through everything,” Louis said. “And we are still confident we can do what we need to do. We’re close to being where we want to be.”

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