What Can We Expect from LSU's Defense in 2008?

Thomas BrownSenior Writer IAugust 23, 2008

In the past three seasons, LSU's defense has been outstanding.  Each year, they have been in the top five defensive units in the country.

This year, we can expect a bit of a drop-off.  Not too significant, but some.  It is hard to continually replace guys like Glenn Dorsey, Craig Steltz, and Ali Highsmith.

That being said, LSU's defensive line might be even bee tter than last year, even with the loss of Dorsey.  Defensive end Tyson Jackson is going to ba star and cause havoc in offensive backfields.

As for the rest of the defensive line, Ricky Jean-Francois was developing into a star before his academics brought him down.  He is back this season and ready to make an instant impact.

The linebackers seem to have some LSU fans worried, but not me.  They have a returning starter in Darry Beckwith.  Ali Highsmith won't be replaceable immediately, but eventually Kelvin Sheppard is going to step in and be a very similar player. 

Even if Sheppard does not amount to what Highsmith was this year, he will in the future.  On the opposite side, Perry Riley should be a reliable player for the Tigers.

The one point that LSU's defense is going to struggle with all year is the cornerback position.  The secondary is the reason why they will not be the same defense they were for the last three years.

Jai Eugene and Chris Hawkins are both shaky as the projected starters.  Both have little experience and questionable cover skills as of the spring.

They could have trouble against some of the elite wide receivers in the SEC.

In conclusion, the Tigers should have a pretty good defense, but will struggle against teams that have elite wideouts like South Carolina.  Overall, the front seven should be great, and opposing running backs should be wary.