Sophomore linebacker Damone Clark didn't find out he was starting in LSU football's season opener against Georgia Southern until an hour before kickoff.
But junior linebacker Jacob Phillips didn't see that as an issue, and Clark didn't either.
"Everybody prepares the same, it's between you and you if you want to be prepared to play, and he (Clark) did that and played well tonight," Phillips said.
"Since the spring I've just been working, just waiting for my opportunity, and I'm always talking to Jacob (Phillips), Patrick (Queen), Mike (Divinity Jr.), and we all work together. It's a team effort," Clark said.
Clark was mentioned in nearly every press conference during the fall by LSU Coach Ed Orgeron, and he reiterated his sentiments towards him.
"Like I've said in every interview, 'watch out for Damone Clark'... I look at the linebacker grades on a daily basis and I see some 67 percents, 68 percents and I see 100 by Damone Clark every day," Orgeron said.
Junior safety Grant Delpit also took notice of Clark's performance.
"He did very well. I'm proud of him. I know he's kind of antsy to get out there, and he showcased what he can do," Delpit said.
Clark, along with Phillips had their names called throughout the night as they combined for 19 total tackles. Clark was inserted into the starting lineup in place of senior linebacker Michael Divinity Jr. who was kept out of the game as a coach's decision.
Even though Divinity Jr. didn't play, he still made an impact coaching up the linebackers as they returned to the sideline and communicating what he was seeing.
"That's part of Mike's leadership. Even though he didn't play, every time we would go to the sideline he would tell us what we were doing right and some things we needed to work on," Clark said.
The Tigers defense didn't miss a beat at any point in the game, giving up only 98 total yards of offense, an average of 2.0 yards per play. LSU also forced two fumbles, recovering both, and had 5 tackles for loss totaling out to 21 yards.
Sophomore linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson made his return to the field after a season-ending injury in the Miami opener in 2018 and didn't seem to be slowed down at all creating pressure off the edge numerous times. Chaisson had a sack overturned by a delay of game penalty and laid a big hit on Georgia Southern running back Matt LaRoche in the second quarter forcing a fumble.
The defensive linemen also had a solid performance, with junior defensive linemen Neil Farrell Jr. and sophomore nose tackle Tyler Shelvin combined for 14 tackles, 1 sack and 2 tackles for loss. The duo along with junior Glen Logan and senior Rashard Lawrence did a good job of plugging the middle of the line preventing the "dive" aspect of the triple option from being effective.
Going forward, this Tigers defense will face more talented opponents, but this performance was certainly a step in the right direction for the unit as a whole.