Still, I said it during the aftermath of the Texas game and I'll say it again now: If the defense can get healthy, they'll be fine.

For LSU, the gauntlet is near.

Soon, they'll be hitting the meat of their schedule. This will bring matchups against Florida, Auburn, Alabama and Texas A&M.

To survive that stretch, they'll have to be at full strength, and they'll have to be playing their best football. As of right now, they don't have either going for them.

Injuries have plagued the Tigers so far this season--especially on the defensive side of the ball.

The defense's performance in the second half against Texas, in the first half against Northwestern State and in bits and pieces of the Vanderbilt game has fans concerned, and there should be a few worries.

Still, I said it during the aftermath of the Texas game and I'll say it again now: If the defense can get healthy, they'll be fine.

When 100 percent, look at what they did against Georgia Southern in the opener. They held them to 98 total yards and three points.

Georgia Southern put up 32 and nearly beat Minnesota on the road in week three.

When the LSU defense was at 100 percent, they held Texas to seven first-half points and made two goal-line stands.

The Tigers played virtually the entire second half of the Texas game without their best interior defensive lineman in Rashard Lawrence. Later, defensive lineman Glen Logan had to leave the game, and their best pass-rusher K'Lavon Chaisson fought through a second-half ankle injury.

All three players missed the Northwestern State and Vanderbilt games.

Also, Michael Divinity--who can play inside linebacker or step on the line of scrimmage and rush the passer--missed the Northwestern State game and left the Vanderbilt game with a leg injury in the second quarter.

Starting free safety Todd Harris blew out his knee against Northwestern State. He's out for the season.

So, LSU's defense played the Northwestern State and Vanderbilt games without five starters for virtually the entirety of those contests.

Once the Tigers can get Lawrence and Logan back on the interior of the defensive line, Chaisson back on the edge rushing the passer and Divinity splitting time at inside and outside linebacker, things will get better.

They'll be much more stout against the run, and their pass rush will drastically improve.

Now, they still need to tackle better. Along with injuries, shoddy tackling has been the defense's biggest bugaboo this season. Ever since the Texas game, they have missed far too many.

In the Vanderbilt win alone, head coach Ed Orgeron said LSU missed 18 tackles that allowed the Commodores to gain nearly 200 extra yards.

The defense actually played pretty well in that game. Vanderbilt scored 38 points, but 14 of those points came on defensive touchdowns. 

They held Vandy to four scores on 16 possessions. But mistackles were a problem. Almost every big pass play the Commodores had was the result of a mistackle on a short throw that should have been a gain of 10 yards or fewer.

I don't care who LSU gets back on the defensive line. If they don't start tackling better, they'll continue to give up big yards and big points.

Offensively, LSU hasn't been as unlucky with injuries.

In the Vanderbilt game, receiver Terrace Marshall sustained a stress fracture in his foot that required surgery. He will most likely be out for more than a month.

It hurts not having a guy as physically gifted as Marshall in the lineup. He was ranked among the leaders in the country when it came to receiving touchdowns. In just four games, he has six.

Marshall was ranked by many as the top receiving prospect in Louisiana and one of the top prospects in the country coming out of high school.

Fortunately for LSU, the wide receiver position is where they're the deepest.

They still have Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase, and they have some talented guys they can plug in for Marshall--guys like Stephen Sullivan, Racey McMath, Derrick Dillon and freshman Trey Palmer.

But having Marshall back would sure be a luxury come November. Having Jefferson, Chase and Marshall on the field at the same time is a nightmare for defenses.

If Joe Burrow has time to sit back in the pocket and find those guys, this offense is not going to be stopped.