One of the takeaways from Daronte Jones’ opening press conference was his insistence that the Tigers defense would be much tougher physically, mentally and emotionally during the 2021 season. It’s a quality that he’s always wanted to bring to the teams and positions that he’s coached over his 20-year coaching career.
Last year, one of the problems that plagued this defense was that it’d let one bad play snowball into more busted coverages and big gains throughout the rest of the game. Those are the kinds of plays that if LSU can eliminate in 2021, should help them get back on the right course in Jones’ mind.
“It starts with attitude in your approach and at the end of the day this is a violent sport. You have to approach it that way,” Jones said on Off the Bench this week. “You have to be mentally tough, physically tough and emotionally tough. Everything that comes with this sport is about toughness. We want to put that into our guys so that they know they have to win a one on one battle.”
The reviews from the players and coaches have been glowing in regards to how Jones is approaching the defense this season. While last year, the mindset was 4-3, this offseason the overwhelming thought process has been stressing the importance of multiplicity with the defensive schemes.
Ed Orgeron has talked about needing that change and the additions of Jones, Andre Carter and Blake Baker on the defensive side of the ball is a good place to start. Orgeron himself delegated much of the responsibilites in how the defense was run to past coordinators but this year he’ll be sitting in on meetings and offering his thoughts on how the defense should be run.
It’s an element that Jones has embraced but at the end of the day, what he’s looking to do is put the best 11 men on the field and devise a scheme around those players.
“Coach O has stressed it, we’re stressing it. The best players will play We don’t care how old or young they are, don’t care about previous status so in that regards it is a clean slate,” Jones said. “Fresh eyes and I think the guys are excited about that because they have fresh eyes looking at them in all phases of the defense. It’s an opportunity for people to recreate themselves if they need to.”