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The Orgeron Connection: What Coaches Have Ties to O?

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LSU v Texas A&M Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

New LSU head man Ed Orgeron dove right in on his first days, sending longtime Les Miles assistant Bradley Dale Peveto packing. Peveto is a much-maligned member of the coaching staff, due to routine Special Teams’ issues, though he brought ample value as a recruiter. Ensuing coaching changes have yet to be made. Orgeron said the staff would be under review until after the bowl game. I suspect there may be some additional changes coming, but not a total overhaul. At the very least, LSU will be hiring a new offensive coordinator and has one additional coaching spot to fill due to the rule change being implemented in 2017.

Billy drafted an early list of OC candidates, though we’ve since been told O’s list may vary greatly from this. Notable Oklahoma blog Football Braniacs also posted some rumor milling of their own:

Major Applewhite: Spoke to a source close to the new Texas staff who tells me that Applewhite may be holding out hope that he lands on the LSU staff as coach O’s offensive coordinator. Source said, “I think he’s a little apprehensive about returning to Austin because of all that happened. He was really hoping they (Houston staff) were going to LSU”.

I spoke to someone connected to the LSU program and was told that the current pecking order for OC targets is: Art Briles, Lane Kiffin, then Major Applewhite. – (Super K)

Kiffin and Applewhite make loads of sense. Briles, I can’t possibly see being in a position to be hired right now. And, frankly, I’m not sure I could support any program that did make that hire. We’ll be sure to stay on top of this story as it unfolds.

For now, I want to focus on coaches who have history with Orgeron. It’s not uncommon for coaches to hire within their circle, so these are some coaches we may want to keep an eye on. I will leave off current sitting head coaches (Hugh Freeze, Frank Wilson, etc.), because they aren’t going to head to LSU as assistants.

Offense

Noel Mazzone, Texas A&M Offensive Coordinator

Mazzone is a long tenured coach that’s bounced all over the country before landing back in the SEC West with Kevin Sumlin at A&M this season. Mazzone was Orgeron Offensive Coordinator at Ole Miss in 2005.

Dan Werner, Ole Miss Co-Offensive Coordinator/QBs

Werner took over for Mazzone in 2006 & 2007. He’s now back at Ole Miss working under Hugh Freeze.

Matt Luke, Ole Miss Co-Offensive Coordinator/OL

Another coach that worked under O and now again under Freeze. He spent only one season with Orgeron, 2005.

Matt Lubick, Oregon Offensive Coordinator

He coached WRs under Orgeron at Ole Miss in 2005 and 2006. He could be a candidate to watch now that Mark Helfrich is indeed fired from Oregon.

Grant Heard, Ole Miss WR Coach

Heard served as a Graduate Assistant under Orgeron in 2005 and 2006.

Art Kehoe, Unemployed

Kehoe served as Orgeron’s OL coach in 2006 and 2007. He’s a long tenured coach that was recently coaching OL for the Miami Hurricanes until this season.

Jim Chaney, Georgia Offensive Coordinator

Chaney left Arkansas two seasons ago, made a pit stop at Pittsburgh and is now back in the SEC at Georgia. He was Lane Kiffin’s offensive coordinator at Tennessee in 2009.

Eddie Gran, Kentucky Offensive Coordinator

Gran has been a longtime assistant coaching asset in the Southeast, working many years for Tommy Tuberville. He worked as the RB coach at Tennessee alongside Orgeron in 2009.

David Reaves, South Florida Associate Head Coach/TEs Coach

Reaves’ role has shifted every single year since arriving at South Florida, but he now oversees the TEs. He was the QB coach at Tennessee in 2009.

James Cregg, Denver Broncos OL Assistant

Cregg is currently an assistant OL coach in the NFL. He served as the OL coach for Tennessee in 2009 and USC from 2010-2013, all with Orgeron.

Kennedy Polamalu, Unemployed

Recently relieved of his OC duties from UCLA, Polamalu worked with Orgeron at USC from 2000-2003 and again from 2010-2012. He has experience as an Offensive and Special Teams coordinator, as well as coaching RBs.

Keary Colbert, USC Offensive Administrative Assistant

Colbert is an admin assistant at USC, taking that post this year after spending time at Alabama. Colbert starred as a WR at USC in 2002 and 2003, but also served as an graduate assistant TE coach there in 2010.

John Morton, New Orleans Saints WR Coach

Morton is the current Saints WR coach, but he served as passing game coordinator for USC from 2010 and 2011.

Ted Gilmore, Wisconsin WR Coach

Gilmore has bounced all over the country as a WR coach, now landing at Wisconsin. He coached the USC WRs in 2011.

Wayne Moses, Hawaii RB Coach

61-year old and longtime RB coach now out in Hawaii. Worked alongside O at USC in 2001.

Kirby Wilson, Cleveland Browns RB and Run Game Coordinator

Another former Trojan assistant from 2001. He’s mostly coached RBs and spent the last decade and a half in the NFL.

Steve Greatwood, Oregon OL Coach

Greatwood is an Oregon alum and has coached their OL since 2005. He spent 1998 and 1999 coaching the OL at USC, under Paul Hackett, who originally hired Orgeron.

Steve Sarkisian, Alabama Offensive Analyst

The embattled Sarkisian is currently a support staff member at Alabama. He served as the USC QB coach from 2001-2003, during Orgeron’s first stint with the program.

Brennan Carroll, Seattle Seahawks Assistant OL Coach

Carroll served as the Recruiting Coordinator, while coaching TEs and WRs at the University of Miami from 2011-2014. In 2015, he made the leap to the NFL to work under his dad as Assistant OL coach. He was a GA at USC in the early 2000s, during O’s first run there.

Lane Kiffin, Alabama Offensive Coordinator

This name will be the center of speculation until he re-signs in Alabama or accepts the opportunity to come to LSU. Kiffin and O are good friends and, of course, worked together at USC and Tennessee.

Mike Summers, Florida Gators Offensive Line Coach

Served as OL coach for USC in 2013.

Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars Assistant Head Coach/OL

Marrone isn’t terribly popular in NFL circles after quitting on the Bills and bombing an interview with the Jets, but he’s a long tenured and respected coach. He was Saints OC under Sean Payton from 2006-2008, the last year overlapping with Orgeron’s brief stay as DL coach.

Curtis Johnson, Chicago Bears WR Coach

Johnson was widely revered for his work with the Saints WRs from 2006-2011, which landed him the Tulane job, where he promptly landed on his face. Orgeron worked with him in New Orleans in 2009.

Aaron Kromer, Buffalo Bills OL Coach

Kromer hasn’t coached college football since 2000, but he and Orgeron were briefly together on the 2009 Saints.

Joe Lombardi, New Orleans Saints QB Coach

Another 2009 Saints coaching staff member that’s bounced around a couple jobs in the NFL.

Terry Malone, Purdue Offensive Coordinator/TE Coach

Yet another Saints connection. Malone spent 12 years with the Saints before moving on to Purdue last season.

Defense

Ryan Nielsen, NC State DL and Run Game Coordinator

Nielsen played for Orgeron at USC and then worked for him at Ole Miss. He might make sense as the new 9th assistant to spend a year under the tutelage of Pete Jenkins, who will stick around next season.

Dennis Thurman, Buffalo Bills Defensive Coordinator

Served as Secondary coach at USC in 1998-00 when O was the DL coach.

DeWayne Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars Defensive Backs Coach

Walker was hired by Pete Carroll to USC in 2001. He was once considered a rising commodity in the coaching industry, though his reputation took a hit after a failed stint as New Mexico State Head Coach.

Nick Holt, Western Kentucky Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator

Holt worked with Orgeron from 2001-2003. Like Walker, he was once thought to be one of college football’s rising young coaches and his star has fizzled.

Rocky Seto, Seattle Seahawks Assistant Head Coach/Defense

Seto joined USC in 1999 as a volunteer assistant and he’s stuck by Pete Carroll all the way up to the Seahawks now. Obviously he worked with O during O’s first USC run. Seto seems pretty bound to Carroll, as he’s turned down other opportunities to remain with him.

Greg Burns, California Defensive Backs Coach

Burns was at USC from 2002-2005 coaching DBs. He’s bounced around college football for the last decade.

Ken Norton Jr., Oakland Raiders Defensive Coordinator

He and O only spent 2004 together at USC.

Lance Thompson, South Carolina Assistant Head Coach & DL Coach

Long time Saban assistant that worked with Orgeron for a year at Tennessee.

Joe Barry, Washington Redskins Defensive Coordinator

Worked as the LB coach for USC in 2010. Heavy NFL experience.

Scottie Hazelton, Jacksonville Jaguars Assistant LB Coach

Worked as LB coach for 2012 USC team where O was DL coach.

Mike Ekeler, North Texas Defensive Coordinator

Ekeler is a former LSU Graduate Assistant that worked with Orgeron at USC in 2013.

Special Teams

Shawn Slocum, Arizona State Associate Head Coach, Special Team Coordinator, OLB Coach

Rumor has it Orgeron is looking for a coach with NFL experience to fill the new ST Coordinator vacancy and Slocum fits the bill. He spent 9 years with the Packers before returning to college last season. Slocum was on the ‘98 and ‘99 USC staffs with Orgeron and then worked for him at Ole Miss in 2005.

John Baxter, USC Special Teams Coordinator and LB Coach

Served as USC Special Teams Coordinator from 2010-2013. He’s back at USC again now and could be a target for Orgeron to fill our ST Coordinator vacancy.

Who Else?

Anybody that’s worked in the Carroll tree would probably be of relevance to Orgeron. I’ve already detailed how closely he’s mirrored Carroll’s philosophies and Carroll called Joe Alleva to stump for O. Coaches with ties to Carroll will most certainly be of interest.

I also wouldn’t rule out coaches with heavy SE or Texas ties. Orgeron is likely looking to build a recruiting machine. Firing Peveto kills one of your major resources for East Texas and that pipeline must stay intact.

Overall, what you see is a guy with two decades of coaching experience and a lot of ties all across the country. It’s one reason people shouldn’t be overly concerned even when Aranda ultimately leaves. O has plenty of contacts to continue restocking the cupboards.