Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Tiger Tale 2012: DT Josh Downs
By Gary Laney
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Leading up to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, we'll take a daily look at a key LSU player. We'll examine how he has done and what his challenges are for the Clemson game.
Accomplishments: Downs was never able to stay healthy enough to reach his potential before this season, so it's safe to say his biggest accomplishment was staying healthy enough to play in all 12 games his senior season. Not only did he play, he repeatedly held off challenges from talented sophomore Anthony Johnson for the starting job (Downs started nine of 12 games). While not extremely productive, he did have 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks while splitting time at the position with Johnson.
Shortcomings: Not the tallest defensive tackle, Downs is more of a run stopper than a big-play maker in the mold of a Glenn Dorsey or even Johnson. He had just 15 tackles in his senior season, hardly numbers one would expect from a starter. You always hold your breathe with Downs every time he's shaken up, fearing a major injury, though it's fair to point out he's bounced back from every minor injury this season.
Against Clemson: LSU is going to have its hands full chasing Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd around, given Boyd's ability to run (492 yards). With ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery perhaps having to contain Boyd in the pocket, it will be important for LSU to be able to generate pressure from up the middle with Downs and Bennie Logan.