BATON ROUGE, La. — Much of the focus this spring has been on LSU’s evolving front seven under first-year defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
Will it take on a 3-4 look or a 4-3? Or maybe a touch of both?
Whatever the alignment, Aranda is undoubtedly putting his stamp on the unit.
As for the players, including defensive tackle Greg Gilmore, it’s become more a conversation piece than anything else.
“It’s a little different, but as far as technique-wise, it’s all the same,” Gilmore said after Thursday’s practice session.
“It’s what the defensive coordinator wants and what he prefers. At a school like this, you play what’s needed to play to win the game. The main thing is don’t get caught up in too many details about our scheme. It doesn’t matter where you are; the technique is the same.”
Aranda is LSU’s third defensive coordinator in as many years. He replaced Kevin Steele, who took over for the highly successful John Chavis following his contentious departure to SEC West rival Texas A&M.
Change has been a consistent theme, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing, according to Gilmore.
“We’re doing a lot of different things and we’re changing some things up,” he said. “We’re going to make it difficult for opponents to play us.”
Changing things up might be an understatement.
Aranda is mixing and matching his personnel at an array of different positions to put his defense in the best position to thrive.
Gilmore and Christian LaCouture are manning the nose tackle spots, while Davon Godchaux and Frank Herron have shifted to defensive end. Prized pass rusher Arden Key has been shifted to outside linebacker along with Isaiah Washington and Sione Teuhema.
There are seemingly position shifts weekly at LSU’s spring practices, which could present a problem, but that hasn’t been the case for the members of the Tigers’ veteran front seven.
“It’s easy for us as far as communication,” Gilmore said. “We’re going to get better every play, every practice and every push-up. We’re a veteran group. It’s good to communicate so everyone knows what we’re talking about and everyone is on the same page. That’s the positive part of having a better line.
“I feel like all of us are better, not just me. We all learned from what we did last year. We go back and watch last year’s film. We’re going to take our game to a new level and be that front seven that everyone wants us to be now, and more importantly, what we want to be for ourselves.”