STARKVILLE — The panic is already being felt in Baton Rouge, La., after the LSU defense gave up 44 points in its first loss of the 2013 season.
During his weekly media conference Monday, LSU coach Les Miles was asked 20 questions and 14 of them involved the play of the defense in some form.
For the first time since 2009, LSU (4-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) is near the bottom of the league, 10th in the SEC, in scoring defense after allowing 24.4 points per game.
Miles said Monday his coaches had a problem signaling in the defense to his youthful secondary and that led to big plays by Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray in the pass game due to communication breakdowns.
“Without much detail, I can just tell you there was a signaling issue and a player to player communication that there was difficulty in.,” Miles said. “There was at least one player sideline difficulty. Without being very specific, those are places that we can obviously make improvement.”
The 494 yards allowed by LSU’s defense Saturday was the most by the Tigers in a SEC game since Arkansas put up 513 in a 50-48 victory in triple overtime in 2007.
“Well, certainly we can’t have blown coverages,” Miles said. “I mean, no matter what, whether it’s a player-to-player communication problem, whether the player knew exactly what he was doing and got beat, or whether it was player-coach – those are the fastest ways to get you beat. You play against a quality opponent and don’t cover a segment of the field, that’s the fastest way to get you beat.”
Defensive coordinator John Chavis arrived at LSU in 2009 and this was arguably his worst game since his arrival. Miles said Chavis was “sick” after the game.
“The great thing about John is he’s such a veteran guy,” Miles said. “He’s been through so many different scenarios like this, so he’s going to know just how to approach it. We have good players. We like our players. Our coaches are in it with our players. We’re not going to get other guys. We’re going to coach the ones we got.”
n Bulldogs lose Georgia offensive lineman commit: Three-star offensive tackle prospect Tyler Jones has decided to pull back his verbal commitment to Mississippi State this week, according to 247Sports.com.
The Stephenson High School (Stone Mountain, Ga.) talent had been committed to Mississippi State since June 24 but switched to North Carolina State Monday night following an unofficial visit to Raleigh. 247Sports.com was the first to report this news late Monday evening.
The 6-foot-4, 270-pound lineman, whose high school teammate Jordan Harris remains committed to MSU, also held offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Iowa State, Michigan State, Middle Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, Ohio State, South Florida and Wake Forest.
Jones de-commitment drops the Bulldogs down to 15 commitments and 37th in the team recruiting class ranking according to 247Sports.com team rankings.
n MSU homecoming kickoff set: Mississippi State’s 2013 homecoming football game against Bowling Green on October 12 will kick off at 6:30 p.m. and be televised by Fox Sports Net, the Southeastern Conference announced Monday.
The contest will mark the first meeting ever between the schools on the gridiron. The game will also mark the first time in his coaching career MSU coach Dan Mullen will face Bowling Green since leaving the Falcons program as a quarterback coach from 2001-02. While working at Bowling Green for head coach Urban Meyer, the Falcons put up 6,627 yards of total offense and scoring 81 touchdowns during that span. In 2002, quarterback Josh Harris threw for 2,425 yards, ran for 737 yards and completed the campaign as the nation’s third-leading scorer.
MSU’s current four-game homestand will conclude on Thursday night, Oct. 24, when MSU welcomes Kentucky to Davis Wade Stadium at 6:30 p.m. That game will also be carried by ESPN.
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.