The White House visit and the championship parade celebration are all in the books and now Ed Orgeron and Co. can dive directly into the offseason with lots of work to do. Here’s a quick reset of where some things sit:
Open Staff Position on Offense
Joe Brady is gone, obviously, leaving at least one open position. At least one potential addition is off the board with Frank Wilson accepting the head coaching job at McNeese State. Meanwhile, per other reports, receivers coach Mickey Joseph has turned down a job at his alma mater Nebraska to stay here. With Wilson no longer available, we might see running backs coach Tommy Robinson stick as well, although he’s had interest in moving to the NFL for a while. It’ also worth noting that tight ends GA John DeCoster has left for a full-time gig at Old Dominion — DeCoster played a huge role in recruiting 2020 tight ends Arik Gilbert and Kole Taylor. Defensive line analyst Kenechi Udeze is also leaving for a position at Vanderbilt.
Offensive analyst Jorge Munoz has been speculated to get the move up to Brady’s position as receivers coach/passing game coordinator, but there is also talk that he may move to Baylor with Dave Aranda, either as receivers coach or offensive coordinator. Sources at LSU have always been somewhat non-committal on Munoz — i.e., noting that while he’d likely interview, he wasn’t necessarily the presumptive favorite most assume. If he does move on to Baylor, I think it’s a safe bet that LSU is passing on giving him a full-time job, and has some other names in mind. Look for news on this particular situation quickly.
Texas A&M made a move to poach DBU’s headmaster over the weekend, but he’ll pass on the move and, per TigerDetails.com, sign a new extension with LSU soon. I do not expect him to get much consideration for the defensive coordinator opening, but I’m sure Orgeron and Co. want him to understand that they do value him and want him here, even if it’s not running his own defense.
The downside to all these championship activities, plus some much-needed downtime, is this search hasn’t quite been in overdrive the way it would be ordinarily. Don’t get me wrong — I’m sure Orgeron and others’ phones have been blowing up and lots of discussions have been had. But nothing beyond preliminary talks just yet. I do believe that the Kris Richard interest is legit, and USC hiring former Texas DC Todd Orlando removes potential competition there. But a lot of what we’re hearing now is being driven by agents; specifically the Todd Grantham and Bo Pelini rumors that are out there.
My take on the Pelini talk: this was obviously a long time ago — 12 years(!) — but Pelini was always relayed to me as notably hostile to recruiting during his previous tenure here. To the point that Raymond learned a lot of the craft because he was doing some of Pelini’s work for him, here and later at Nebraska. Now, that could’ve certainly changed; one would think his job prospects since getting run out of Nebraska, mostly because of personality, have been a wake-up call for Pelini. Plus, offensive football has changed a lot since his heyday. Right now, I would guess this interest is a little one-sided.
Keep in mind that coaching hire rumors are like recruiting in that things are always changing and what’s true today may not be so the next. Orgeron has also played these situations incredibly close to the vest, often without a lot of foresight on candidates. We’ll try and keep on top of the latest.
Nineteen players signed during the early period, leaving up to six spots left. Three of those will likely go to the remaining verbal commitments: lineman CamRon Jackson and DBs Dwight McGlothern and Lorando Johnson, although Johnson’s status is still a bit up in the air. The remaining two weeks will likely be dedicated to defensive linemen Jordan Burch and McKinley Jackson, running backs Jahmyr Gibbs, Kevontre Bradford and maybe Zach Evans — it doesn’t seem like LSU has completely moved on but interest has definitely waned — receiver Alex Adams and offensive tackle Ty’Kiest Crawford.
Whether Orgeron brings in players for all six spots, or leaves one or two openings to play the transfer market will likely depend on a couple of factors, from the grades of signees, to any late changes in interest from players not listed here, to how the staff feels about the current roster. I do not expect a move at quarterback until after spring practice, depending on how Myles Brennan, and the backups, look.