Based on reports, Bob Shoop is staying at Penn State. This marks the second highly rumored candidate to be out of the running in some form or fashion. This time, LSU was essentially used, in all likelihood, to get him a fatter paycheck. Reports indicated LSU would like to have this search tied up by this weekend. Based on the way its all unfolded, I fear that would be a grave mistake. It's time for LSU to hit the reset button.
LSU is essentially down to promoting current defensive line coach Brick Haley to the coordinator position. Here's some longer form thoughts on that idea. In short, I'm not a fan, even if it means bringing on all the recruiting prowess of Ed Orgeron. Any other rumored names have been dismissed quickly. Pendergast is out for reasons that haven't been made public. Stoops was likely never a legitimate candidate. No one else has been publicly brought up. So where does Les Miles turn?
The best option right now is to take a step back and completely re-open the search. Start overturning all the stones. The New York Giants fired Perry Fewell yesterday. He's got a phenomenal track record, and while his primary experience is all NFL-based, there's no reason NOT to check in there.
Brendan Daly is a young guy that Pete Prisco listed as one of his best young assistants under 40, just two years ago. He made Prisco's list while working under Leslie Frazier at the Vikings, and is now the DL coach for the New England Patriots. The real kicker here is that Daly's first bigtime coaching exposure came when he worked as a Graduate Assistant at Oklahoma State. Under, you guessed it, Les Miles.
What about a guy like Rocky Seto? Sure, he's been exclusively West Coast based, but he's young and hungry, and coming from a great coaching tree under Pete Carroll. Right now, he's tabbed the "Defensive Passing Game Coordinator" for the Seahawks, so he orchestrates one of the NFL's best secondaries. Current Seahawks, and former University of Florida, Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn looks to be in line for a head coaching gig, so Seto could be in line for promotion, but it doesn't hurt to call.
What about Dave Aranda, who got nary a mention in the initial search? Wisconsin has already lost a pair of HC due to disputes with budget/leadership, and LSU can certainly outpay Wisconsin. He'd be a threat to leave for a HC gig in short order, but could also be a major boon.
What about Mel Tucker? He's just 43 years old, and coached DBs here under Saban back in 2000.
What about Karl Dunbar, who spent two separate stints here, and has worked under Les both at Oklahoma State and LSU?
What's my point here? Start digging deep. The "top" candidates we considered didn't pan out. This is not the time to settle for an internal promotion for a guy that likely isn't deserving. Especially not coming off an 8-5 season. Especially not for a guy that's 10+ years away from last coordinating a defense and wasn't good at it then. The real issue here is that Les needs to focus on making the right here. I understand beginning your search with the intention of preserving a signing class and making a quick, tidy hire. But at this point, those priorities fall to the wayside in the name of making a good hire.
Could Les Miles still knock this hire out of the park? Sure. But when you survey the available names, there doesn't seem to be a surefire A hire as there was when Miles nabbed Chavis back in 2009. This search isn't going well. Is this how an era ends?