In Focus: Bring It On
Edwards, Mingo Proudly Uphold LSU Tradition
LSU, a school known for its history and tradition, uses Saturdays in the fall in Tiger Stadium as an outlet to display the passion of its fans and their love for the university and its football team.
This love and passion is displayed through costumes, cheers, songs, yells and chants.
One chant in particular, "Fight For LSU," is less popular than others, yet grasps the passion that comes with representing the Ole War Skule.
"Like Knights of old, Let's fight to hold, The glory of the Purple Gold" states the chant. No two players have taken this duty more to heart than senior defensive end Lavar Edwards and junior defensive end Barkevious Mingo.
Edwards, a native of Gretna, La., and Mingo, a native of West Monroe, La., have been vital components contributing to the success of this year's dominant Tiger defense.
"It's good to know that I'm able to contribute to some special things," Edwards said. "An example was last year, being the SEC Champions and going to the National Championship. It's a great feeling to know that I helped to accomplish some of those things for this team and the school."
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LSU's powerful defense is led by one of the nation's top defensive coordinators, John Chavis, who is in his fourth year with the Tigers.
"It's crazy because he is such a great coach," Mingo said of Chavis. "I don't even know how to explain it. He knows things that I could only wish to know by the time I'm done playing this game. He is just one of those masterminds like an Einstein. Him sharing his knowledge with us is one of the reasons people on this team do so well."
Chavis was the recipient of the 2011 Broyles National Assistant Coach of the Year award after LSU had one of its most successful seasons, finishing in the top five in the nation in pass efficiency defense, rushing defense, total defense and scoring defense.
For LSU to have such a dominant presence on defense, big plays must be made, and that is exactly where Edwards and Mingo excel.
Earlier this season, Edwards was able to snag a deflected pass during the Idaho game and return it for a touchdown during a 63-14 victory for the Tigers over the Vandals.
"That was one of my goals for my college career, to get an interception for a touchdown," Edwards said. "When I caught it, I tried to make sure I used all of my power to get in the end zone."
Although it is always exciting to make big plays and play big games in Tiger Stadium, both Edwards and Mingo understand that a team cannot be successful unless a strong chemistry is built before the season even begins.
"Going through camp and going through the offseason, we decided that we are all in," Mingo said. "We are all in for the team and we will do anything we can to help the team win."
"We spend so much time together throughout the year and throughout the day that we build a close relationship with everybody," Edwards said. "With that team chemistry, it's easier for us to play on the field on Saturdays."
With strong team chemistry, the players are able to help each other on and off the field, making their bond unbreakable, especially when playing on the same side of the ball.
"He's a great player," Edwards said of Mingo. "He does a tremendous amount of things for this team. He is one of the best athletes I have ever seen. He brings so much to the team. He is extremely quick and fast and stronger than he looks."
"He has grown so much with me and Sam (Montgomery)," Mingo said of Edwards. "Even though he is a year older than us, I still think we have progressed through this time at LSU together. Now we count on him and he has been making plays for us and just showing everyone that he is a top defensive end."
Having the support of teammates, coaches, family and fans makes the experience of playing a game in Tiger Stadium that much more unique.
"It's crazy. It is by far the best stadium I have ever played in," Edwards said. "The fans are crazy and it can get so loud. I just love home games no matter if it is a day game or a non-conference team. I enjoy it every time. It is one of the best feelings when you run out on your field and 93,000-plus people are cheering for you. It's always fun every Saturday in Tiger Stadium."
But before the Tigers can take the field, each and every player must prepare for the game in his own unique way.
"I'm not one of the guys that has to have his music on to get pumped up," Mingo said. "I just sit down, go over some plays and chill out. I just like to get out there on the field and let it all hit me."
"I just try to focus on the things I need to do and just keep focus on the game in my mind," Edwards said. "I try to play the game in my mind so that when it is actually time to get out there I will be mentally prepared."
After the team has endured hours of grueling workouts, days of intense practices and countless meetings, the Tigers are bonded together, stronger than ever, and ready to take the field.
Edwards and Mingo understand now, in the later years of their collegiate football careers, more than ever, the importance of defending the glory of LSU.
"I can hardly explain it," Edwards said. "Since I've been around, there has just been that tradition of having a good defense and just knowing the way that LSU plays is physical and tough. I just try to make sure that I live up to that tradition that has been LSU for the past years."
"This team and this defense love having challenges put upon us," Mingo said. "We love showing that we are a dominant defense and that we can do whatever we set our minds to as long as everybody is on the same page and working toward the same goal."
The "Fight for LSU" chant concludes by expressing an intensity that drives every Tiger who has ever hit the "Win" bar running onto the field in Tiger Stadium, including Edwards and Mingo.
"Let's carry through, Let's die or do, To win the game for deal old LSU. Keep trying for that high score; Come on and fight, We want some more, some more. Come on you tigers, Fight! Fight! Fight! For dear old L-S-U."