Earlier today LSU announced that Tiger Offensive Line Coach Greg Studrawa and LSU would be parting ways. Stud's moved from OL coach to OC (an interim role of sorts) back down to OL to now "pursuing other opportunities". Though the scope of criticisms levied his way by many LSU fans were often over the top, the loss of multiple North East Louisiana recruits and the up and down play of the OL may have ultimately spelled the end of his tenure in Baton Rouge.
I feel for Stud. The guy was the whipping boy of the internet's message board echo chamber, and he really couldn't do anything right as far as that set of Humanoids were concerned. He inherited a mess from Stacy Searles, who's 2006/2007 (Stud was hired right before the 07 signing day) recruiting classes featured a ton of attrition from guys like Zhamal Thomas, Jarvis Jones, Ernest McCoy, Thomas Parsons, Steve Singleton, Matt Allen and Mark Snyder, who all washed out for one reason or another. He had to work with converted defensive linemen like Lyle Hitt, Carnell Stewart and Joe Barsdale and recruits like Josh Dworaczyk and T-Bob Hebert, both thrown into the starting lineup probably a year before they were ready.
He formed some nasty units in 2010 and 2011 that did a damn good job of run blocking with little-to-no help from the passing game. Oh, and there was time when he was forced to also be the emergency offensive coordinator, due to Steve Kragthorpe's unfortunate illness. And he still led a damn strong offense in '11 that people forget due to the national title game. Last year's line was decimated by injuries, but this year's was damn strong in blocking for one of the best offenses LSU's ever had.
It's no secret that I had a soft spot for Stud, probably because all he ever really got from fans were fat jokes. And frankly, I just hate ill-informed sports narratives. But sometimes, in these situations, it's just best for all parties for things to move forward. I wish him well in the future.
With the American Football Coaches Association convention happening next week in Indianapolis, look for Les Miles to move quickly here, with some heavy input from Cam Cameron.
So, who then, could LSU turn to to fill the vacancy? Here's a list of potential candidates:
Andy Moeller -- former Off. Line Coach, Baltimore Ravens
Why: Timing and connections. He worked under Cameron as the OL coach in Baltimore before being recently demoted to Assistant OL coach. The demotion could have Moeller looking around and his ties to Cameron could make Baton Rouge an option.
Why Not: Three alcohol arrests in four years isn't the strongest resume bullet point. May prefer the NFL life.
Paul: Seems to be the current leader in the clubhouse, per Twitter. I like that he's someone Cameron knows and presumably trusts. Marshall Yanda and Ben Grubbs have been Pro Bowlers under his watch, but the rest of the OL seems to have been some revolving parts, with Michael Oher not living up to once lofty potential. Former college coach with deep experience, so recruiting would be nothing new to him. On the surface, seems like a good hire.
Billy: First name that everybody put out there, and obviously he's got a background with both Cameron and Miles. Needs a job after the demotion in Baltimore as well. I would imagine the arrests would depend on some athletic department vetting.
Todd Washington -- Off. Line Assistant, Baltimore Ravens
Why: Young, up and coming coach with ties back to Cameron in Baltimore, similar to Moeller.
Why Not: Possibly on a track to land a lead OL gig?
Paul: The type of hire I'd suspect. Washington is a former NFL player with coaching experience both in college and the NFL. He's just 37, so his resume looks a lot like Adam Henry's. Also a guy that's not likely to leave after a year to pursue bigger opportunities.
Billy: Washington fits the profile in a lot of ways. He's a young guy that has worked with Cameron and other old pros like Chris Palmer. He had a relatively long NFL career (98-06) for a guy that was mostly a backup offensive lineman, so he probably picked up a lot of coaching over that time. Super Bowl rings as a player and coach ('02 in Tampa as a player, '12 as a coach with Baltimore) will always play in recruiting. His coaching resume is intriguing as well -- he worked briefly in the UFL and managed to coach up a few players into looks by the big leagues. Reportedly turned down a chance to move to USC and join Steve Sarkisian's staff, which indicates he may have some recruiting chops. Linked to the gig, along with Moeller, by Coaching Search.com.
Bob Bostad -- Former Off. Line Coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Why: Currently looking for work after Tampa Bay released their entire coaching staff. Deep experience as an OC and OL coach, including prodigious success at Wisconsin just a few seaons ago.
Why Not: No real ties to the current coaching staff and he could want to remain in the NFL.
Paul: Would be a superb hire for a guy that can coach up a MASH unit up front. It's one I'd be pumped about, but not necessarily one I see happening.
Billy: This would be the dream hire. He coached Bret Bielema's dominant Wisconsin lines and has turned the Bucs' front into one of the best in the league despite multiple injuries to guys like Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph. One would think he's still going to have options in the NFL. If he wants to come back to college though, he would have a long list of suitors.
Herb Hand -- Off. Line Coach, Vanderbilt
Why: Experienced OL coach that could be looking to move up from Vandy. Ties to the South east.
Why Not: No ties to the staff. Already has a job and may not view it as a "promotion."
Paul: Would love to have Hand, as he's got a nice resume, and he's pure gold on Twitter. But... I don't see being the LSU OL coach as a big enough of step up for him to leave Vandy.
Billy: Hand is as much a rising star as any offensive line coach can be, and an internet darling. He's got recruiting ties all over the southeast as well, but something tells me he'll be staying at Vanderbilt until a promotion comes along, be it to coordinator or head coach somewhere.
Jack Bicknell Jr. -- Former Off. Line Coach, Pittsburgh Steelers
Why: Looking for work. Ties to Louisiana after coaching for 9 years at La. tech.
Why Not: No ties to the staff. Probably looking for another NFL gig.
Paul: I'd like the hire for his experience, and the work he did at Boston College and other stops.
Billy: Bicknell is an interesting name, though his years with the Steelers were not that impressive. His North Louisiana/Texas ties would be a plus as well. But I agree with Paul -- he's probably not looking to get back in the college game full-time.
Hal Hunter -- Assistant Off. Line Coach, Indianapolis Colts
Why: Ties to LSU and tight ties with Cam Cameron, for whom he served as OL coach in San Diego.
Why Not: Has a pretty cush gig as an assistant OL coach in Indy. May be looking to retire in the next several seasons and not looking to hit the recruiting trail.
Paul: Pure coaching, it'd be a great hire. Is he too far removed from the college game? I'd be happy with the hire, overall.
Billy: Still the best winning percentage in LSU history! Seriously though, Hunter's had a fantastic career in the NFL the last few years, and I would imagine he's not looking to get back in to recruiting game that's gotten dramatically more strenuous since he left Baton Rouge. But his ties to Cameron (and I imagine Gerry DiNardo, another friend of Miles', would also recommend Hunter) make him an intriguing option.
Ben Wilkerson -- Off. Line Coach, Grambling
Why: Looking to move up in the coaching world. Obvious ties to LSU and Miles.
Why Not: Too green.
Paul: It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Ben come home, eventually, much like Corey Raymond... but I think he needs a few more tree rings before that happens.
Billy: I agree with Paul. This will be a popular fan choice, but it's not happening right now.
Rob Sale -- Off. Line Coach, McNeese State
Why: Looking to move up in the coaching world. Obvious ties to LSU.
Why Not: Too green.
Paul: Pretty much the same story as Wilkerson. He needs more time.
Billy: Sale turned down a chance to follow Jim McElwain out to Colorado State, so he wants to stay close to home, and I bet this would be a dream come true for him. He's a West Monroe guy, and I'm sure he'd go a long way towards mending fences in that area of the state in recruiting. But he's still a few lines short on the resume.
DON'T BELIEVE THE STUPID RUMORS!!! CANDIDATES
Paul: Mawae was a phenomenal pro and a legendary Tiger. He's a fine representative of the university, and a guy that's done some advising from the outside, but without a single coaching bullet on the resume, don't consider him a candidate. I don't care how great of a player you are, LSU position coaches aren't entry level positions.
Billy: First of all, the list of elite former football players that struggled to make the transition to coaching is a long one. The fact that Maewae is a future Hall-of-Famer is completely irrelevant to his coaching prowess. Secondly, the offensive line coaching gig at LSU is not an entry-level position. It's not something to just throw at a first-time guy fresh out of the professional ranks. Maewae has never coached college players, and he's certainly never recruited them. Yeah, his reputation will play well with young kids, but it takes a lot more than that to beat out other top programs for their signature. Thirdly, the guy is RETIRED. Maewae has kids in high school and other business interests that he's said himself would make an 80-plus-hour job a bit prohibitive right now. He has helped out the LSU staff as a consultant at times, and I would imagine that should he ever change his mind, Miles would love to have him on in an entry role. But not as the OL coach, and not right now.
Paul: Randy Rosetta threw this out there, and while he has direct ties to Les, it makes no sense for a good SEC-level OC to take a step down just to come back to Baton Rouge. Zero chance.
Billy: This was a facepalm event. If you know any coordinators coming off their best seasons that are looking for a demotion, by all means, let us know.
Billy: Why is the room spinning?...nose...bleeding...see...above...