The LSU Defensive Coordinator Hostage Situation enters day 10, with an ending...kinda maybe in sight perhaps? Word Friday was that Les Miles has zeroed in on a couple of candidates, with no names discussed, per Derek Ponamsky on Baton Rouge radio Friday morning. Later that day, on the same station Charles Hanagriff spoke vaguely about the signs being good with a candidate emerging that is:
- Currently employed;
- A former head coach;
- With experience in the SEC.
For those that like to follow Flight Aware, I'm told that Miles spent most of Thursday and Friday using Skype to videochat with candidates from his office. So there's not much to tell from plane position. It's worth noting that with the exception of Don Yanowsky five years ago, every hire that Miles has made here has had either NFL or SEC experience in some form or fashion. Speculation sped up quickly and centered on former Florida & Illinois head coach Ron Zook, but multiple outlets were quick to shoot that name down. A source would only tell me that it's a "big fish" and that it's staying incredibly quiet, and will continue to. So does Les have his man? Got me. The quiet tends to indicate that he does, and he's waiting to put the word out, or he a couple of "yes" answers from those couple of candidates, and wants to think on the decision.
I do feel comfortable saying that nothing will be announced until Sunday night or during the day on Monday. This could be for two reasons: one, the candidate is a member of the NFL staffs in action later today and on Sunday. Two, LSU wants to try and "make a splash" and put the word out during an active media cycle day -- surrounding the College Football Playoff National Championship. If you want to keep something relatively quiet, you release it on Friday afternoon.
So who is this "big fish" that is worth all of this thundering silence? Myself, Paul and zrau spent most of Friday racking our brains to try and figure that out. Some names hit some of the qualifiers, but not others. Ed Orgeron would certainly a "big fish" for some Tiger fans, but he's not currently employed and there's no obvious reason for all this secrecy. Former New York Giants DC Perry Fewell is a favorite of Paul's, but again, no longer employed. Zook hits all those notes, but was shot down. Somebody like Vic Fangio doesn't have SEC experience, nor was he ever a head coach. Greg Schiano has never worked in the SEC.
Among the names working in the playoffs, Dan Quinn, Rocky Seto and Ken Norton Jr. of the Seattle Seahawks staff all make sense in some ways. Quinn previously worked as Florida's defensive coordinator, and Seto and Norton both go back a long time with Pete Carroll at USC. But Quinn's reportedly set to interview for some NFL head jobs, so a move back to college for another coordinator position seems unlikely. And while Seto and Norton could certainly become big-time candidates, I don't know that anybody would be breaking out the tape measure once Miles reeled them in.
In the back of my mind, Will Muschamp certainly hits every single one of these points, but he just took the same job at Auburn and brought several of his Florida assistants with him. The odds of him pulling an about face and jumping ship are incredibly low. And involve Miles asking another coach to, essentially, pull exactly what John Chavis pulled a week ago, minus sandbagging a bowl game to make it happen. I just can't see that happening.
So where does that leave us? I'm not sure. But the recruiting dead period ends on Wednesday, and LSU will likely have at least one and maybe a few staff meetings on Monday and Tuesday before the final sprint to National Signing Day begins. One has to think a new coach will be ready to participate in those meetings by then.
In the meantime, enjoy your weekend!