Consistency, in any profession, is a quality that separates a solid worker from an extraordinary one.
It’s a trait that can lead to other virtuous characteristics like trust and dependability.
It is also a trait LSU’s defense needs to learn and establish quickly.
Now, no one is doubting the ability of the players on the defensive side of the ball with names like junior safety Grant Delpit, freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. and sophomore linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson. But these players need to start making plays against every opponent, no matter the conference.
Start with senior cornerback Kristian Fulton.
He does not appear to be playing at 100 percent after a preseason ankle injury flared up against Texas. Fulton struggled to stay with receivers, committing crucial penalties and giving up a 55-yard touchdown.
Also his play against Vanderbilt was anything but impressive. He missed a tackle on a quick slant to Vanderbilt wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb, and Lipscomb turned Fulton’s mistake into a touchdown while making multiple others in LSU’s secondary look silly.
Fulton’s athleticism and ability are not in question, but his health and consistency need to improve if he wants to stay in the top-20 draft discussion.
Delpit is going to be a top seven pick in this year’s draft and deserves to be in the discussion for any pick in the top 10, but his play has wavered from game to game.
As captain of the defense, Delpit cannot allow two teams to put up 38 points apiece and call it good.
While one of those games came against Texas, there were opportunities to keep the scoring at a minimum, and the defense simply could not find an answer.
Maybe Delpit is getting too much of the blame for the high scoring games when most of the blame should be attributed to the pass rush that has shown week in and week out that pressure is hard to come by.
Chaisson did not play against Vanderbilt but struggled at times against Texas.
LSU will need to provide a pass rush if it wants to see increased play from the secondary as well as the rest of the defense.
The defense has had some bright spots like Stingley. The freshman cornerback is showing the world just how special he is and could be in the future as he captured his first career interception, and it will not be his last.
Besides Stingley, the linebacking corps, led by junior Jacob Phillips, has shown tremendous potential without senior Michael Divinity Jr. in to make tackles and drop into coverage when necessary.
I also understand the defense has been hurt and most of LSU’s starters did not play late against Vanderbilt, but the marks of championship teams show when the odds are against them.
Even with the injuries, the Tigers have plenty of talented reserves and a mastermind of a defensive coordinator in Dave Aranda. Now, they simply have to come out and leave it on the field.
LSU’s defense is solid on all fronts, but the team needs to learn to ignore the opponent and play every game for a shutout to show the College Football Playoff Committee that they deserve to be in the top four when the season is done.
Consistency on the defensive side of the ball can be the difference between an LSU team that will be forgotten in five years and a championship team that proved players could be relied on and, most importantly, dethrone the Crimson Tide as kings of the Southeastern Conference.