In a move that took the Internet by storm and really shocked the college football world, Les Miles and the LSU Tigers have decided to part ways with Tyrann Mathieu. After violating undisclosed team and school rules the rising junior has been dismissed from the team. Miles, during the presser, took a measured tone and was sure to acknowledge that while the Honey Badger was a good kid, he just couldn't get his issue under control.
The Bayou Bengals wish the best to Mathieu as he figures out what the next chapter will be in his career.
As for the on the field impact of this, people, quite simply, are going to lose their minds. There will be wild theories about Tharold Simon having to fill Mathieu's shoes. People will speculate about which of the back up corners will be able to step into the void left by Mathieu.
How is John Chavis' defense going to replace that type of a playmaker?
I'll tell you something folks, he's not. When you lose a guy like Mathieu, you don't try to replace him in a one for one capacity. Mathieu is not Patrick Peterson. He's not Morris Claiborne. Those two were shut down corners and you replace shut down corners with shut down corners.
For players like Tyrann Mathieu, you go back to basics.
Will the LSU defense still be solid after losing Tyrann Mathieu?
Instead of the exotic looks that allowed Mathieu the freedom to roam the defense, insert himself in to make plays and be a force all over the field, you go back to you base schemes. You play sound defense. You disguise you coverages and you use you elite talent to outplay the opposition.
They have guys on the LSU roster that can play John Chavis' scheme. Guys that can play both zone and man. Guys who can be the corner opposite of Tharold Simon. Losing Sam Gibson, Ronnie Vinson and David Jenkins—three cornerbacks—over the offseason hurts, but the Tigers have a roster of guys who will be salivating at the shot to get on the field.
John Chavis will not be asking any of the new guys to "step up" to fill the Honey Badger's shoes. He will not be asking Tharold Simon to "step up" to fill the Honey Badger's shoes. What John Chavis will be doing is asking everyone to do his job.
If the Chief can get 11 guys on the field, just doing their respective jobs, then he'll have LSU on the right track. The talent is there all over the field; Eric Reid is an elite safety, Kevin Minter is a quality linebacker, and Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo are terrors on the edge. The answer for "who will step up" is easy: everyone.