Per several media reports (unconfirmed but not refuted), it appears that Bradley Dale Peveto will be returning to LSUf or a second stint as the Tigers' special teams coach.
Since his departure in 2008, Peveto had been head coach at Northwestern State in Natchitoches and spent the last season on Mark Stoops' staff at Kentucky as special teams and safeties coach. He of course was a member of Les Miles' first staff here, as linebackers and special teams coach. And he's most remembered for a disastrous stint succeeding Bo Pelini by serving as co-defensive coordinator along with former defensive backs coach Doug Mallory. An experiment dubbed "Maleveto" by Tiger fans, and resulting some of the worst defensive numbers any unit has allowed in the Les Miles era.
Overall, this hire draws a bit of a "meh" from me, without much of a strong reaction one way or the other. Peveto is a familiar face and a coach's coach as an assistant. He certainly doesn't bring the excitement of some of the other rumored names for this job, like Michael Barrow (I imagine the interest there was likely one-sided on LSU's end). But then how often does a special teams coach really excite you? I can certainly understand the attraction to bringing in a young go-getter that can hit the recruiting trail, there are positives to bringing in an old hand like Peveto that understands how the program works and its expectations. Let's try to look at the whole picture.
First off, let's make one thing real, real clear. Peveto is neither serving as defensive coordinator here, nor co-defensive coordinator. The 2008 season is about as relevant to this discussion as Cam Cameron's awful 2007 season as Miami Dolphins head coach was to his hiring. Judge the guy on his qualifications for the job he's doing, not a totally different job that he failed at. A lot of factors were in play in 2008 anyway, and blaming everything that happened on Peveto ignores many of them.
As an assistant coach, Peveto's linebacker units were generally solid. As were his special teams. They had some strong kickers and punters, and return guys like Skyler Green, Trindon Holiday and Chad Jones. Granted, they weren't the outstanding outfits we've come to expect since 2010, but they also didn't have quite the same depth and talent level. Programs that field great special teams focus on them in practice regularly and either involve crucial starters or have the depth to deploy a lot of talent. And while LSU certainly had talent in the early years of the Miles Era, I would argue that its depth has certainly grown in recent seasons, particularly at positions that get used on return and coverage teams, like linebacker, cornerback and safety.
Special teams coaching is less about Xs and Os and more about keeping the units motivated to do their jobs and focused on every situation. Chris Sailer more or less picks out the kickers and punters for LSU these days, so Peveto mostly just has to focus on that attitude portion.
One area where Peveto did excel, was on the recruiting trail. He may not be a Frank Wilson or a Corey Raymond, but Peveto helped LSU land a number of big names in the first few recruiting classes of Miles' tenure, particularly in Georgia and Texas. He even landed four-star running back Stanley Williams for Kentucky this past signing day. At LSU, he's credited with names like Al Woods, Perry Riley, Kelvin Sheppard, T-Bob Hebert and Josh Jasper. I will grant that he had some noteworthy misses (names like Kyle Prater, Steven Singleton, Cordian Hagans and John Williams come to mind), but he also won't have Bo Pelini or Stacy Searels evaluating talent for him anymore, either. My thoughts on the latter are well-known at this point, and let's just say that the former will never come close to John Chavis in the personnel department (admittedly, Jeff Grimes is a bit of an unknown, but we've no reason to doubt him yet).
Peveto's well-connected in East Texas, specifically the Houston area. His father was a Texas high-school legend as a head coach and Peveto has worked at places like Stephen F. Austin and the University of Houston, giving him tons of connections. That not only replaces that region's former recruiter in McGaughey, but it's become increasingly valuable due to Texas A&M's presence in the SEC. Additoinally, Peveto has recruited Central and North Louisiana extensively as well. LSU just lost a pair of big-time prospects out of the Monroe area, so that's another positive check.
Additionally, Peveto has experience coaching defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs. He won't be doing much of that, but LSU's past special teams coaches were all defensive guys. It gives the staff another assistant to help in practice for those days where the principal recruiters (Raymond or Brick Haley) are on the road or Chavis has to really focus one particular unit instead of his typical position.
Ultimately, I think this move is a net positive for LSU, though not a resounding one. Peveto's not the obvious slam-dunk that Barrow was, and he doesn't bring the shiny "new toy" aspect of Daryl Daye or Mike Haywood. But he's a consistent, hard-working assistant that should fit in well, be popular with his players, and help LSU continue to compete for championships.