LSU has only three full-time returning starters on defense.
The 12th-ranked Tigers had a team-record eight players taken in the NFL draft last April.
Despite the loss of so much talent, coach Les Miles says he's seen a typical Tigers defense in practice. Linebacker Lamin Barrow, the top returning tackler, says he's can't wait for everyone to see that his coach his right.
The first test comes Saturday night when LSU plays No. 20 TCU in the season-opening Cowboys Classic at the NFL team's stadium.
Former BCS buster TCU, now in its second Big 12 season, will try to make a statement for the Big 12, whose highest-ranked team in the preseason poll is No. 13 Oklahoma State. Six SEC teams rank higher than that.