And the coaching carousel continues to turn for LSU, as Lane Kiffin, the top choice for LSU’s offensive coordinator spot, has accepted the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic University this morning, as reported by ESPN’s Brett McMurphy and Chris Low.
This FootballScoop.com report by Zach Barnett claims that the job became the source of a pseudo-proxy battle between Alabama, LSU, Ohio State and Michigan as Nick Saban and Urban Meyer both used FAU to attempt to weaken rivals via coaching candidates Kiffin and Michigan Offensive Coordinator Tim Drevno.
If it all seems far-fetched, consider that as of Friday, negotiations between Kiffin and FAU had broken down over money — the Owls were offering around $600,000 for the job and LSU would have likely paid Kiffin double or triple that figure. But it seems like Saban and Jimmy Sexton got their way.
It’s also worth noting that the Florida recruiting landscape now features the following head coaches: Jimbo Fisher, Mark Richt, Charlie Strong, Lane Kiffin, Scott Frost and Jim McElwain.
For LSU, it will be on to other candidates, a list that reportedly includes Alabama offensive analyst and former USC head coach Steve Sarkisian, former Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich and Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Matt Canada. All three are at least as well-regarded as Kiffin, arguably more so even. Canada was a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award as one of the nation’s top assistants this past year for his work at Pitt. Sarkisian, obviously, had a ton of success as a USC assistant before moving on to the head coach of Washington and then back to USC, where personal demons and substance problems derailed his tenure. Helfrich is a well-respected offensive mind and quarterbacks tutor that has worked for a number of top offensive head coaches, most notably serving as Oregon’s OC under Chip Kelly before taking over. We’ll look to break down those candidates a bit more as we confirm their status.
With Alabama now on the hunt for a new OC themselves (although speculation is that they will hire from within), LSU will likely want to move quickly, especially given quarterback recruit Lowell Narcisse’s recent decommitment.
Bruce Feldman reports LSU will meet with Canada: