BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU may have ranked No. 1 in the SEC defensively last season, but many fans and analysts agree that wasn't an accurate reflection of how the team actually played.
The Tigers were ripped by opponents like Wisconsin, Mississippi State and Auburn during the year, while Notre Dame racked up 449 yards of total offense during a 31-28 victory over LSU in The Music City Bowl. The Tigers have a new defensive coordinator this year in Kevin Steele, while also hoping to recapture some old swagger.
"We've had some mean, mean, tough defenses in the past," said senior linebacker Lamar Louis. "We want to restore that. We want to restore that tradition. And a big part of that is the 2011 defense. We've been watching them, we've been talking to those guys. We've watched how they've practiced, the leaders on that team. We've even looked back to the quotes those guys made on our wall, in our players' room. Just trying to model ourselves after that defense and restore tradition."
The 2011 LSU defense, spearheaded by an avalanche of future NFL talent, held opponents to just 11.3 points per game, intercepted 18 passes, forced 29 fumbles (recovering 12) and sacked the quarterback 39 times. Last season the Tigers held opponents to 17.5 points per game, intercepted 10 passes, forced 18 fumbles (recovering 10) and sacked the quarterback 19 times.
The records of the teams were much different. LSU finished 13-1 in 2011 and won the SEC Championship, before losing to Alabama 21-0 in the BCS national championship. The Tigers were just 8-5 overall last year.