LSU's Chavis comes to Claiborne's defense

April, 5, 2012
4/05/12
1:00
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LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis seeks out the cameras and microphones the way a vampire does daylight.

But when it comes to having his players’ backs, Chavis is going to be there all day and every day.

So when he heard the fallout from former LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne's reported score of four on the Wonderlic Test, Chavis was eager to set the record straight.

“I’ve heard what’s out there about that test, but I also know the kid, who he is and what he did for us,” Chavis said. “We run a very multiple scheme. You don’t just line up and play in our scheme. You have to know what’s going on and be able to make adjustments.

“You have to be able to think and move and do those things, and let me tell you: I’ve coached a lot of great players, and Mo Claiborne had no problem picking up anything in our system and doing all the things we wanted him to do.”

Claiborne, who gave up his senior season to enter the draft, is rated as the No. 5 prospect overall on Mel Kiper’s latest Big Board. He won the Thorpe Award last season as the top defensive back in college football.

However, it leaked out earlier this week that he scored a four on his Wonderlic Test at the NFL combine. The NFL average on the test is 21.

“I don’t know how many defensive backs I’ve coached that have gone on and played and been successful in the NFL, and Mo will handle it as well or better than any of them that we’ve had,” said Chavis, who was the defensive coordinator at Tennessee for 14 seasons before moving to LSU in 2009.

Chavis pointed out that two-thirds of LSU’s defensive calls in the season opener against Oregon last season were made on the field. Furthermore, Claiborne moved inside to nickel the week of the Arkansas game after Eric Reid was injured and unable to play.

“If we had asked him to play safety, he would have and could have done that,” Chavis said. “He had three days to get ready at the nickel spot, which is a totally different animal, and was going against some talented Arkansas receivers in the slot and was able to do that with no problem at all.

“The bottom line is that Mo Claiborne can make adjustments and understands concepts, and obviously, people know that he can play the game.”

Chris Low | email

College Football

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