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Link Gumbo: 12/7/2017

Freshmen All-SEC and coaching talk.


Couple news items and other notes that seemed worth sharing. All-conference honors continued for the 2017 Tigers, with Greedy Williams, K’Lavon Chaisson, Saahdiq Charles and Zach von Rosenberg being selected to the All-SEC Freshman team. The foursome is the most LSU has had on the team since 2011. Curious as to why Ed Ingram was left off, although he had his issues with missed assignments.

Tiger quarterback Danny Etling was also named the conference’s Scholar Athlete of the Year. Great honor for his handsomeness.

USA Today has released it’s annual database of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the game — to nobody’s surprise, LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda tops the list at $1.8 million. Matt Canada isn’t far behind at No. 4 at 1.5. More on him later.

Seven of the top 10 on that list are defensive coaches. I think that says something about how much harder it is to find a really great defensive coordinator, compared to offense.

In recruiting news, former Tiger Savion Smith will be transferring to Alabama, after spending a year at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Smith left LSU over the summer.

LSU will also host a handful of prospects this weekend, looking to make a final push before the quiet period and then the early signing period. Here’s a quick list via SEC Country’s Sam Spiegelman:

Travez Moore, 3-star DE/OLB (Wesson, Miss.) — LSU commit

Tae Provens, 3-star RB (Gurley, Ala.) — LSU commit

Nelson Jenkins, 3-star DL (Plaquemine, La.) — LSU commit

Cole Smith, 3-star OL (Pontotoc, Miss.) — LSU commit

Dominic Livingston, 3-star DT (Houston)

Livingston is a big, true nose tackle, and would be a nice addition that could provide some flexibility for some of the other linemen commits that might fit better on the offensive line.

Few more items/thoughts:

  • Coaching moves continue: Arkansas closed the deal with Chad Morris this week — he did a phenomenal job at SMU, and was obviously a great offensive coordinator at Clemson, but I must admit I don’t know that this moves the meter for me. Although that probably says more about Arkansas than Morris. Sure, he runs an exciting offense, although I’m not sure it’s all that radical compared to other SEC teams anymore, but the question of bringing the talent to make it truly dynamic remains. We’ll see if Morris can change that for the Razorbacks.
  • Likewise, Tennessee and Jeremy Pruitt just seems...blah? An attempt to copy anybody else with Saban Drone No. 5? The guy’s never been a head coach at any level, and he’s never really built his own defense. He inherited a strong Mark Stoops unit at FSU, and then loaded teams at Georgia and Alabama. And yes, he maintained and maybe even improved it some, but he’s never even cycled through a full class of talent. The question becomes, can Tennessee still be successful with the same model that works at an Alabama, LSU or Georgia? I’m not so sure.
  • Speaking of coordinators, regarding the Canada rumors: LSU’s offensive coordinator will be back next season unless there’s some development in the coaching carousel that lands him a head job. Canada and Ed Orgeron have some personal and professional differences, and they’ll probably never be the best of friends — but the issues aren’t philosophical or systemic. And they’re certainly nothing that can’t be worked through, especially over $3 million. That’s the number Canada would have to walk away from to leave, the number it would cost LSU to fire him, or for another team to hire him away. Again, it’s nothing that can’t be worked through; these two aren’t the first coaches to work together despite being less than friends. But as of today, I don’t expect anything to change. In the end, it’s probably better for the continuity of the offense.
  • Something that got some play this week was an Instagram post from Derrius Guice regarding his health and decisions regarding the NFL. Guice strained his knee in training camp and never really got right this year. A big bowl game versus Notre Dame would almost certainly be a nice boost, and per that Advocate story, NFL scouts are likely to, if anything, be impressed with how well Guice DID play this year while banged up. But in the end, his best move will be to go pro, and I expect that to happen. I do suspect he will give some real consideration to returning — Guice seems to take as much joy in playing for LSU as any player I can remember as of late, and is very much “one of the guys” in terms of his teammates. It won’t be an easy choice for him, I can tell you that much.