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Friday, December 7, 2012
What if ... John Chavis left?

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- It's the height of the coaching change season. LSU has been to immune to staff changes so far, but not to the annual December speculation.

Defensive coordinator John Chavis' name got hot when the Tennessee job came open. While reports surfaced early Thursday that Tennessee hired Cincinnati's Butch Jones, the possibility remains that a school and Chavis could see enough potential in one another to prompt a move.

If that were to happen, what would happen to LSU?

John Chavis
LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis has helped shape the Tigers' identity as a destination for top recruits.
It would be a direct blow to some of LSU's identity as a defensive team that prides itself in being "DBU" and more recently "D-line U." Much of the credit goes to Chavis, who came to LSU in 2009 and has rebuilt the Tigers' dominant defense reputation.

If he left, would LSU still be elite?

LSU would have two things working in its favor: It tends to recruit locally for defense and Chavis isn't the only selling point on defensive staff.

Defensive prospects such as 2013 cornerback commit Jeryl Brazil and uncommitted athlete (and projected linebacker) Kendell Beckwith are in-state players who project to be dominant players at the college level.

LSU has looked well outside its state lines to meet defensive line needs this year with Greg Gilmore and Christian LaCouture at tackle and Frank Herron and Lewis Neal at end. But D-line prospects may be just as drawn to defensive line coach Brick Haley as they are to Chavis, who isn't a primary recruiter.

If Chavis were to leave, LSU would need to make another good hire. The fact that the Tigers have coaches such as Chavis and Haley, men who brought well-established resumes to Baton Rouge, shows it has the resources to replace them too. The fundamentals of what makes LSU's defense good -- access to players and resources to hire top-flight assistants -- would allow the Tigers defense, and defensive recruiting, to rebound.