At last we are in the SEC. The conference which LSU calls home is also home to an incredible deep group of sitting head coaches and coordinators who could be on the Tigers radar.
This conversation has to start with Texas a&M head man Jimbo Fisher. His appeal as a candidate doesn’t need a ton of exploration: tight with Scott Woodward, excellent recruiter, good offensive mind, elite recruiter and former LSU assistant. That said he is not without his flaws. There is a very mixed feel about Fisher’s ability to perform at a high level, having never won double-digit games since as the a&M head coach. He has never hit ten wins since joining the Aggies and his success just hasn’t looked as good without Jameis Winston. Fisher has also very adamantly said that he is planning on staying with a&M. A contract extension in October would support that notion. However, it would appear Woodward will keep swinging for Fisher until he can’t anymore.
The other popular candidate for the LSU head coaching spot is Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin. In two seasons leading the Rebels, Kiffin has mastered one of the most exciting offenses in the nation, which is in line with his success as an offensive coach. While Kiffin has had massive success on the offensive side of the ball, the defense has been a struggle through two years at Oxford. Additionally, Kiffin has been perceived, fair or not, as immature and that might be a turnoff given how things have shaped up with Ed Orgeron.
At one point Kentucky coach Mark Stoops seemed to be in the mix as well. Stoops has provided outstanding consistency in Lexington, but even then that consistency has only yielded a record which is three games over .500 with the Wildcats.
Both Shane Beamer at South Carolina and Josh Heupel at Tennessee have performed above expectations through their first season, especially given how bad the respective programs have been. However, they would likely need more experience before they are considered seriously for the LSU job.
Would Sam Pittman be interested in the job? The Arkansas head coach has revitalized the program after dismal years under Chad Morris, by seemingly adopting the Ed Orgeron model of the CEO. Like Stoops however, he doesn’t have an amazing record through one plus season with the Hogs.
Things begin to get interesting when looking at coordinators who could make the jump to head coach. The latest in this mix is Alabama OC Bill O’Brien. His tenure as Texans head coach ended in disaster but his overall record was pretty good and he did a good job at Penn State following the departure of Joe Paterno.
Georgia also figures to have its staff raided, with OC Todd Monken, co-DCs Dan Lanning and Glenn Schumann, RB coach Dell McGee, and perhaps even special teams coordinator Scott Cochran could be linked to the head coaching position. Texas A&M DC Mike Elko and Mississippi State DC Zach Arnett have both been whispered for potential head coach openings.
While the SEC does have an extremely deep list of coaching candidates, it very much feels like a Kiffin or Fisher versus the field when it comes to favorites for the Tiger vacancy.