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Entering the 2022 season, one of the biggest question marks on the LSU Football team came in the defensive backfield.

From personnel to coaching, everything carried with it some unknowns.

For the first time in more than a decade, the Tigers would be without longtime cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond, who was replaced this offseason by 32-year Robert Steeples. At safety, the new coach in the room was Kerry Cooks, a 48-year old football lifer who had coached with Kelly before.


On the field, LSU returned a couple of starters in safeties Major Burns and Jay Ward. With the addition of Arkansas transfer Joe Foucha, it appeared the Tigers were set on a three-man rotation at the spot, but those plans were put on hold when it was announced Foucha would miss the first four games due to academics involving his transfer.

At cornerback, there were more unknowns.

LSU gets a feel for what the secondary offers

LSU entered Week 1 with four main pieces in Colby Richardson, Jarrick Bernard-Converse, Mekhi Garner and Greg Brooks Jr. All four transferred into the program this offseason, coming from McNeese State, Oklahoma State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas, respectively.

After giving up 260 passing yards and two touchdowns in the opener against Florida State, the group seemed to settle in even more against Southern. The competition was far from the norm, but the Tigers still held the Jaguars to 9-for-17 passing for 61 yards and an interception. 

“I think the corners have held up pretty well,” Kelly said on Monday. “Their play has been consistent. It’s been on-body. They’ve played the ball well in the air.”

Two issues Kelly has circled: communication and tackling.

The Tigers were bit time-and-again with poor tackling in the opener against the Seminoles, and Kelly left the Southern win feeling progress was made, but not enough just yet. As for killing two birds with one stone, Kelly switched Ward from safety to nickel and Brooks from nickel to safety and saw both the tackling and communication improve in the secondary.

“I thought our tackling got better,” he said. “Greg Brooks playing back at the safety position has enhanced our communication to the level that we felt really good about it.

“Putting Ward down in a natural nickel position fits his game as well. I just think the pieces were moved in the right place after that evaluation of Florida State and where we felt like we needed to get better.

“So, communication on the back end was much better. The corner play continues to be solid. But they will be challenged at a higher level certainly this Saturday.”

A big test looms vs. Mike Leach and the Air Raid

The Tigers now face off against a Mike Leach offense that brings with it a quarterback in Will Rogers who has completed 79% of his 98 pass attempts for 763 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions.

For Kelly, it comes down to a defense that has to trust the defensive scheme and stick to the plan at hand – both individually and collectively.

“The answers are tried and true and tested,” Kelly said of defending Leach’s offense. “So, look, this is going to come down to our guys’ attention to detail. They’re going to have to tackle very, very well. This really puts the tenets of really good defensive football on display.

“You’ve got to be able to not only tackle, but be in really good positional awareness all day. Because, again, this is a scheme that in some instances — and I’m not here to compare across the board — but this is like triple option, right?

“The precision of this scheme, the way it is set up, if you are not taking care of your assignment and doing your job, you’re going to get exposed.”

More help is on the way at cornerback

The good news for LSU’s secondary: another piece will be added to the mix for the game against the Bullodgs.

Ohio State transfer Sevyn Bankssuffered a hip injury at the end of the 2021 season that sidelined him for three games and required surgery. He was medically cleared for football upon transferring to LSU, but he took things slow in the offseason as he worked back towards being fully healthy.

Banks had planned to dress out for the team’s opener, but the Tigers held him back, and then did the same in Week 2 against Southern. 

Now, Kelly said Banks is set to return to the field and could see action at cornerback on Saturday.

“Sevyn is close to being ready,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that – look, I mean, he wanted to play in the opener, but our medical team wanted to make sure that he was 100%. He was probably 90%, and there was really no need. 

“(Now) we feel like we’re in pretty good shape. This is a game where all hands-on deck at that position. So the expectation right now is that he’s going to be dressed out, and we’re going to know here Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, how that eventually puts him in the rotation. He’s at the cusp of playing, and we’ll see how he practices this week.”



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Five-star St. Louis (Mo.) IMG Academy EDGE Samuel M’Pemba will visit LSU this weekend, he announced Wednesday afternoon on Twitter. 

The trip marks the first known visit for M’Pemba to Baton Rouge, who will join a pair of IMG teammates — five-star 2024 cornerback Desmond Ricks and top-10 2024 prospect Ellis Robinson IV — for the game.

M’Pemba is the No. 23 overall prospect in the 2023 class, according to the On3 Consensus, a complete and equally weighted industry-generated average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies. He ranks as the nation’s No. 3 EDGE and the No. 6 senior recruit in the state of Florida.

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Jacques Doucet
I'm told roughly 60 players from the
2011 @LSUfootball team will be on
hand this weekend, honored during
first quarter of @HailStateFB game. In
many ways, was becoming the 2019
team before the 2019 team that
season. Without question one of the
greatest squads in #LSU history.

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LSU vs. Mississippi State 
September 17, 2022 * Baton Rouge (Tiger Stadium) * ESPN  

7 a.m. Parking Lots on LSU Campus open 
9 a.m. LSU SportShop open 
11 a.m. LSU Athletic Ticket Office open 
Noon PMAC open to public • New for 2022 
Noon TJ Ribs Tiger One Village open • Located in front of PMAC 
Noon L-Club Tailgate opens at PMAC 
12:30 p.m. Werewolf performs at TJ Ribs Tiger One Village 
2 p.m. Suites and Club open at Tiger Stadium 
2:25 p.m. LSU departs hotel for Tiger Walk 
2:28 p.m. LSU’s 2011 SEC Championship Football Team marches down VICTORY HILL 
2:30 p.m. The Oaks Society marches down VICTORY HILL 
2:33 p.m. LSU band marches down VICTORY HILL 
2:50 p.m. Team arrives at VICTORY HILL 
2:52 p.m. Team marches down VICTORY HILL 
3 p.m. LSU Game Day presented by Three Olives pregame radio show live from TJ Ribs Tiger One Village • Hunt Palmer, Brandon Taylor, Marlon Favorite 
3 p.m. All gates to Tiger Stadium open 
3 p.m. Team arrives at Tiger Stadium 
3:10 p.m. LSU band performance in PMAC 
4:30 p.m. LSU Sports Radio Network live from Tiger Stadium • Chris Blair, Doug Moreau, Gordy Rush • Listen free at www.LSUsports.net/live or on LSU Sports Mobile App 
4:45 p.m. Golden Band from Tigerland Pregame Show in Tiger Stadium 
4:49 p.m. Alma Mater, National Anthem 
4:54 p.m. LSU departs Jeff Boss Locker Room 
4:55:30 p.m. LSU intro video on videoboards in Tiger Stadium 
4:57 p.m. LSU takes the field 
4:58 p.m. Mississippi State takes the field 
4:58 p.m. Coin toss at midfield 
4:58 p.m. Guest Captains presentation • Will Blackwell, T-Bob Hebert, Jordan Jefferson, Brandon Taylor 
5:01 p.m. Kickoff: LSU vs. Mississippi State on ESPN


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4 hours ago, LSUDad said:

Daniels head coach at Zona, Herm Edwards has been let go! 

Read an article, what a mess. No wonder JD transferred. I actually like Edwards as a commentator and was surprised when he returned to coaching.

  • FEB 23, 2022 10:51 AM EST
  • There's no denying the spotlight Arizona State has fallen under in recent months. 

    The microscope into ASU's football program has been ever-present since the Sun Devils had five assistant coaches depart the team, although the most recent (and shocking) headline made was quarterback Jayden Daniels' entrance into the transfer portal.

    Talk surrounding Arizona State has mostly been fixated on head coach Herm Edwards, who is entering his fifth season in Tempe. Edwards, in the face of an investigation launched by the NCAA along with subpar performances on the field, has had to answer for the current state of ASU. 


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