The Advocate, NOLA.com and other outlets beat LSU to the punch, but the official word came this evening that LSU has filled out its open staff positions with former USC running backs coach/run-game coordinator Tommie Robinson and Louisiana Tech running backs coach Mickey Joseph:
Robinson, who was recently named the Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year, comes to LSU after spending the 2016 season at Southern Cal as the running backs coach and run game coordinator for Rose Bowl Champion Trojans. Robinson will serve as LSU’s running backs coach as well as holding the title of assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator.
Joseph, a native of New Orleans, joins the LSU staff after one year at Louisiana Tech where he coached running backs for the Bulldogs. Joseph will serve as LSU’s wide receivers coach.
“We are very excited to bring on board two outstanding coaches in Tommie Robinson and Mickey Joseph,” Orgeron said. “Mickey is well-known in our state and he has strong ties to New Orleans. He’s an outstanding coach with a great deal of experience on the offensive side of the ball. He’s an outstanding recruiter with a great work ethic and will be a tremendous addition to the staff.
“Tommie was recently named the Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year and is considered one of the top running back coaches in college football. Tommie brings an impressive resume to our staff, one that includes six years of coaching in the NFL. He’s going to be a tremendous asset to our program and will be a great resource for all of us.”
Typically, Robinson would be the big story here, as he’s a major national recruiter with ties all over the country, including both Texas and Florida, two areas that LSU is looking to strengthen relationships in. And make no mistake — Robinson is a very strong move for Coach O and this staff and one that should pay dividends for the program quickly.
Look, this is Louisiana, arguably the most “local” of “all politics is local” states, and you can bet that some coaches in the New Orleans area were less than thrilled when LSU decided to part ways with former running backs coach Jabbar Juluke (whom has landed with Texas Tech). Juluke is a St. Augustine High School alum and very well connected in the city after a long, and successful, tenure at Edna Karr High School
The idea of a “boycott,” however, seems pretty ridiculous, and rightfully so. Given the weirdness of this weekend’s commitments from several top NOLA talents to Kansas and former Warren Easton coach Tony Hull, the whole idea screamed a power play on behalf of some coaches in the area. Naturally, Orgeron replaced Juluke with a local legend in former Archbishop Shaw QB Mickey Joseph, and the two are already working to smooth things over.
At least two coaches from the area also shot down the boycott report to WGNO TV’s Ed Daniels as well.
This isn’t to say that Sam Spiegelman’s report didn’t reflect what he was told, or that he didn’t get it from a solid source. Spiegelman is a professional that has done a fine job covering recruiting through the last cycle. But it’s also telling that there wasn’t a single coach willing to give him an on-the-record quote, even anonymously. It’s also telling that in subsequent updates, coaches from Landry-Walker, John Ehret, East and West Jefferson and other NOLA-area high schools are already distancing themselves from the so-called boycott.
A lot of this uproar likely goes back to the typical politics that often get involved with the Crescent City’s very loyal private school population. Remember, Juluke is an alum of St. Augustine High, one of SEVERAL coaches in the city that are former Purple Knights (Frank Wilson was an alum himself), and they don’t like it when one of their own is cast aside. Don’t be surprise if you see a little bit of bluster about Joseph being a Shaw guy — a Shaw guy who kicked off an era in which the Eagles absolutely wrecked St. Aug and the rest of the Catholic League from the late 80s through the 90s. But it will blow over, and Joseph’s relationships in the city was certainly a factor in his hiring.
Which brings us to Memphis wide receivers coach David Johnson (another St. Aug guy), whom made a show about “turning down” LSU to stay with the other Tigers. Much like that time Houston Nutt “turned down” the University of Miami, Johnson was never a serious candidate for the job. True, I expected Leonard Fournette’s former coach to be one of the leaders in the club house last Friday morning, but shortly after I reported as such, a source shot me down, noting that not only was Johnson not a real contender for the job, but that a coach would not be named until early this week.
That’s coaching searches and coaching circles for you. My report on Johnson was based on a fairly well-placed source that I had no reason to question — he also mentioned Robinson as getting the running backs job. But a second source shot it down cold the next day. Sometimes you’re told something by somebody that you have every reason to believe, and it’s not quite right. And that’s often the case with the inner-goings of NOLA high school sports. Fire a St. Aug guy (and its worth pointing out that Juluke was demoted but kept around for benefits reasons, because his wife is very sick and the football staff has a heart) and replace him with a Shaw guy, and there will be some bitching. Likewise Brother Martin, Jesuit, Rummel, Holy Cross and so forth.
But LSU will have its Boys From the Boot recruiting event next week, and major junior day not long after. I’m willing to bet the top prospects from New Orleans will be at one, or both, events.