Before this football season, it was commonplace for LSU defensive tackle Glen Logan to remain closer to his laid-back personality and just fit in.
He never had reasons in the last few seasons to be demonstrative, not with veterans like Rashard Lawrence who was more recognized for his leadership among the Tigers interior. Logan never felt it was his place to call out a teammate for substandard play or effort.
That was until now.
In the wake of LSU’s 1-2 start to the season, the losses epitomized by stunning defensive lapses, have brought about a change in the 6-foot-3, 339-pound Logan, a Kenner native.
“As a veteran I have to be more vocal,” said Logan, who along with Neil Ferrell Jr. are the team’s lone senior defensive tackles. “Lately, I’ve been more vocal, just helping the young guys keep their heads up. There are a lot of people that haven’t been in this situation. They’re not use to losing.
“As a veteran you have to be able to pick them up, tell them it’s going to be OK, you’ve got to go to the next play if you have a bust. I’ve been more vocal within the whole defense than I have in the past. Usually I was just a quiet guy. Now I step up, I talk. I’m probably one of the loudest guys on the field now. I have to be.”
LSU was scheduled to face its most dangerous test to date in a high-flying offense from Florida before a COVID-19 outbreak in the Gators’ program forced the game to be postponed until Dec. 12.
In the days leading up to the anticipated LSU-Florida showdown in Gainesville, there was plenty of consternation about the play of the Tigers’ defense which is among the worst, not only in the SEC but nationally as well.
With only 76 teams playing football at the FCS level this fall, LSU’s defense finds itself in unfamiliar territory the year after a CFP national championship with a defense that ranks next-to-last nationally in passing yards allowed (380.7), 71st in total defense (494.7) and tied for 51st in scoring defense (32.0).
Logan believes the task of making strides on Saturdays began in practice where the defense saw a litany of errors after watching film of their latest setback – a 45-41 loss – at Missouri which compiled a staggering 586 total yards.
“Just fixing us a whole,” Logan explained. “Everybody playing their technique and getting back to the fundamentals. No finger pointing, no blaming other guys. It’s been going back to basics and playing our brand of football.”
There was a stretch for the month leading up to the start of the regular season where Logan was LSU’s most experienced defensive lineman after Ferrell decided to skip the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns and return in ’21.
Junior nose guard Tyler Shelvin, a two-year letterman, also created a sizeable void when he opted out of the season Sept. 1 to focus on preparations for the next year’s NFL draft.
For the first two weeks of this season the Tigers, who regained the services of Ferrell who rejoined the team Sept. 14, were without Logan who was reportedly serving a two-game suspension and was back for the Missouri game.
“Some personal issues,” said Logan in response to why he missed his team’s first two games. “I’m not comfortable talking about it. I look forward to helping the team now.”
Logan has started in 21 of 32 games during his career, compiling 83 tackles with a breakdown of 68 assists and 15 solos. He has eight tackles for loss for minus-35 yards, six sacks for minus-32 yards, eight quarterback hurries and three passes defensed.
He enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2018 with 46 tackles, 4 ½ tackles for loss and four sacks in a season where LSU went 10-3 and defeated Central Florida 40-32 in the Fiesta Bowl.
Logan is familiar with tumult during his career. After a 2-1 start during his freshman season, LSU was upset 24-21 at home by Troy.
The Tigers responded by winning six of their next seven games during the regular season until losing to Notre Dame, 21-17, in the Citrus Bowl.
Whether this year’s LSU team can make such a run in 10-game, SEC-only season depends in large part on a defense needing to make a 180-degree turn from not upholding the program’s rich tradition of stingy defensive teams.
“We have been lacking it lately, I feel like we do need to get our swagger back,” Logan said. “It all goes back to communicating. When you’re not communicating well you can’t get that swagger back yet. Once we do communicate well, we get everything rolling. We will have chip on our shoulder every game.”
The defensive flaws were equally alarming, starting in the season opener when Mississippi State quarterback K.J Costello riddled LSU for 623 passing yards and five touchdowns in a 44-34 upset of then No. 5 Tigers.
LSU’s yielding 153 rushing yards to Vanderbilt, including more than 100 in the first half, didn’t seem to carry the same sense of urgency because of the team’s offensive explosion the Tigers rode to a 41-7 victory.
However, that wasn’t the case against Missouri which hurt LSU equally, passing the ball with 406 yards with a redshirt freshman quarterback and a running game that gained 180 yards – including 5.5 yards per carry.
“We’re really confident we got it fixed,” Logan proclaimed on the heels of an Oct. 12 practice. “We watched film as a defense, looked at ourselves in the mirror and got everything fixed. Communication errors, technique errors. We got it fixed and now we’re moving forward. Focusing on basics, just communicating, tackling and playing our brand of football like we did in the past.”
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