The LSU defense is allowing just 6.5 points per game in the second half this season, but Saturday for the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, it will be matched against the No. 2 team in the country in total offense.
A year ago at this time, LSU had just wrapped up a big Texas Bowl victory against Texas Tech and was chasing Dave Aranda to become the new defensive coordinator for the Tigers. Aranda has certainly proved he's worth the money and now, with a new three-year contract, faces another big test as he prepares the LSU defense for Louisville’s offense and Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson.
"If you try to rush him, where you're trying to contain him, I think he's a fine enough passer to complete balls on you," Aranda said. "If you try to rush him and be creative with your pressures and what not, you can get him out of the pocket and he'll hurt you with his feet."
The Cardinals, on the other hand, are getting their defense prepared for 1,200-yard rusher Darrius Guice. They were highly complementary of the Tigers and new head coach Ed Oregeron.
"They're 5-2 in those seven games and the only two losses, the Alabama game, it's a one possession game in the fourth quarter; they got the ball on the one-yard line against Florida and both those teams played in the SEC championship game, so they're obviously a talented team," said Todd Grantham, Louisville defensive coordinator.
This is the last game as the LSU offensive coordinator for Steve Ensminger, who is certainly entertaining with his self-deprecating humor.
"I never tell stories about myself," Ensminger said. "I don't tell these guys anything about myself. But I do remember 1979. I was a senior that year. Coach McClendon was our coach. We came here and we beat Wake Forest and we had a great time. These guys ... hell, they weren't even born yet. Ethan walked in and said, 'You played with leather helmets?' I said, ‘I'm not quite that old.’ That's a fact."
"His personality is just funny,” said sophomore running back Nick Brossette. “I like him as an OC and everything and he's just a great guy."
Kickoff for the game is 10 a.m. It will air on ABC.
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