LSU Defensive Coordinator John Chavis at Media Day - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

LSU Defensive Coordinator John Chavis at Media Day

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The following is press conference transcript from defensive coordinator John Chavis at LSU Football Media Day here Tuesday.


Opening Statement

"It is great to be back. It exciting to be at LSU, a program where the expectations are very high along with the great fan support we have here. I appreciate the media for covering us here at LSU. I look forward to this day every year. It is my favorite day of the year. Right now, you are going to see the happiest John Chavis you are going to see for a long time. Let me tell you what a privilege is to work beside a great head coach (Les Miles). I've had the opportunity to coach with some really great head coaches. That opportunity is here at LSU. Coach Miles does a tremendous job of leading this program and setting the tone for this program. He is one of the best football coaches I have been around and one of the best leaders I have been around. I am excited to be here. I have some great coaches coaching along beside me. (Brick) Haley does a tremendous job. When Coach Miles hired me, we talked about hiring a defensive line coach. I told Coach Miles, ‘I know where the best one in the country is.' I said, ‘He is in the NFL, I don't know if we can hire him.' He said, ‘What do you mean? If he is the best, that's who we are going to hire.' Certainly, that's what he ended up doing. Corey Raymond had a chance to come back home and come back to LSU. He came back to his alma mater. Corey brings some visions that will help us get even better, even though we have played well in the secondary. I think we have an opportunity to grow even more there. Thomas McGaughey does a great job with the special teams and helps assist the defensive line. Obviously, we have a great group of coaches to work with. That makes is a lot of fun."


"The thing that makes it even more fun is a great group of talented athletes. We are very talented. We don't have all of the answers. We have some things that we have to solve before we play that first game, but certainly we have some very talented personal. When you start looking at our personal, it starts up front for us. I think with Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo as a pair, I don't think I would trade them for any two defensive ends in the country. These are guys that are very talented. They fit our style of play and have been very productive for us. There are other guys that can play. Bennie Logan, at defensive tackle, was over shadowed last year. He has played very outstanding football for us. He is a very talented young man. Certainly up front that is a nice place to start."


"In the secondary, we have Eric Reid, Tyrann Mathieu and Craig Loston returning. Loston made a step in spring practice. He was set back a little by injury, but right now he is having a great fall camp. Tharold Simon is a guy that has played a lot of corner for us already. There is some talent back there, as well as some young guys that will have an opportunity."


"We were productive at linebacker last year. We were not outstanding, but very productive. It helps when you have a great front and a great back end. There will be young people at linebacker that will have an opportunity to play and play often. We have a backup like (Lavar) Edwards, who has played a tremendous amount of football. But when we say backup, we roll our guys so much, they are going to come close to playing the same number of reps. (Jermauria) Rasco is a guy that played as a true freshman for us. We are certainly excited about him. Josh Downs is a guy that has played a lot of football for us over that last two years. We also have (Ego) Ferguson and Anthony Johnson. That gives you four good tackles. That is four tackles that you can compete and win in the SEC with. We have good depth there, and that is very important for us. Obviously, we are going to be looking forward to developing young talent as well. Quentin Thomas has had a good fall practice. He is a guy who hasn't taken a snap in a long time, but we're really excited about where Quentin is."


"At linebacker, Tahj Jones, Kevin Minter, Lamin Barrow and Luke Muncie are the guys that have played a role here. Beyond those four, we won't have a guy that has taken a snap. Today it is not etched in stone what guys will be giving us some playing time. I would say there will probably four freshmen that will be able to take the field and be productive for us. Deion Jones is the youngest guy on our football team. He is still a puppy, still 17 years old. Kwon Alexander is a very talented guy. Lamar Louis is a guy that benefited from being in spring practice. Lorenzo Phillips is a guy that is very talented and will have an opportunity to go to the field. We are going to be able to provide some outstanding depth. We are going to need some time with the young guys to get them mature, but we think Tahj Jones is a consistent playmaker. (Kevin) Minter played half the time last year. He did a very adequate job, he has improved his game. He is becoming a leader for us, he is a physical guy that can run. Lamin Barrow and Luke Muncie are both capable. I look at the linebackers as a group much like I did as the secondary two years ago. Two years ago who would have known what we would have gotten out of Tyrann Mathieu, Eric Reid and Tharold Simon as true freshmen. That year in the Cotton Bowl, we had four takeaways. Those true freshmen accounted for the four takeaways. Those guys are the leaders in our secondary. There is going to have to be some people that will step up in the secondary. It is (Jalen) Collins' time at corner. It is (Ronald) Martin's time at safety. (Corey) Thompson and (Jalen) Mills have really caught our attention. Those guys really show they have what it takes to get ready to play. We are going to have to get them ready to play especially in our nickel and dime packages."


On defensive formations for the upcoming season …

"We will probably be a little more in base, but it depends on what we are getting from the offenses. We are seeing more and more spread. We are going to be able to matchup. It will probably be less nickel, more dime and base."


On defensive tackle Anthony Johnson's progress …

"He is a very talented guy. He looks like a totally different guy. A lot of times, we look at the end result. We don't remember the process. He has gone through an offseason program. Anthony is probably in the best condition he has ever been in. He is playing harder right now than he has ever played. He is doing the things Coach (Brick) Haley is asking him to do. When you put those things together with the amount of talent that he has, Anthony has the opportunity to be an outstanding player.


On defensive lineman Danielle Hunter's impact …

"He is very talented guy. He has put on a good bit of weight, and it has been good weight. He has tremendous quickness, he is very talented. He is one of those young guys that will get the opportunity early. There is going to be quite a bit of competition. Competition makes them all better, particularly at that position."



On defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo …

"Sam (Montgomery) has gained 20 to 30 pounds and hasn't lost a step. That's a credit to (strength and conditioning coordinator) Tommy Moffitt and what they have done in the off-season. We don't want him to put on that weight just to be bigger and stronger. He was already very strong for his size. The extra weight will be good from that standpoint. The one thing we have to make sure is from an endurance standpoint."


On expectations for Bennie Logan …

"He is doing great. Bennie has done a tremendous job for us. He is the one with the biggest amount of playing time. It is important to have a guy that provides that kind of leadership. That leadership is not just during the game. It is every day. It was amazing to watch what Michael Brockers was able to accomplish in only two years of playing and then watch Bennie grow the same way. We certainly expect Bennie to play better this year."


On Tyrann Mathieu's playing different positions …

"I think Tyrann (Mathieu) can play any position. He has taken advantage of those opportunities to play inside. There certain things we like to do with him from a pass-rush standpoint. I wouldn't be bothered if we had him at corner, nickel, dime or safety. He will play a lot of positions for us."


On the talent of the secondary …

"We have been blessed with a lot of talent. We will be a little younger. It's rare that you have a back-up corner that gets drafted in the third round. That's the kind of depth that we were blessed with last year. I certainly believe will be exciting. There is some real push for playing time. We are not afraid to play young players. That's what we've done, and we are going to continue to do that."


On what it takes to be an elite defense …

"There are a lot of things that go into that. The first thing is talent, but the offense is a big part as well. It takes both sides. Our offense has done a tremendous job. You want to be where the expectations are high. There is an old saying ‘the wind blows hardest at the top of the flagpole'. If that's the case, I want the wind to blow as hard as it can on us because we want to be on top of the flagpole again. It is a great feeling to know every single Saturday when you take the field you have a great opportunity to win. It doesn't mean you are going to win, but you have a great opportunity because you have the athletes and the support. You have everything that you need. What you have to do is play well and execute."

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