Rabalais: LSU isn’t a ‘sinking ship’; here’s how fans should regard the dizzying coaching carousel
1 month ago The Advocate 0
One week from LSU’s CFP national championship, it felt like the football program was under assault.
Nine players left early for the NFL draft. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda departed to become head coach at Baylor and passing game coordinator Joe “Shouldn’t He Get a Statue, Too?” Brady left to become the Carolina Panthers’ new offensive coordinator.
None of those moves were indications of players and personnel wanting to leave a sinking ship or an unhappy workspace. All were striking while their respective irons were hot, clearly advancing or cranking up their careers.
Since then, however, the news has brightened, and not just with the fact defensive standouts like Tyler Shelvin, JaCoby Stevens and Glen Logan announced they would return this fall.
Defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, himself a former Tiger, has reportedly agreed to a three-year deal through the 2021 season with a significant bump in pay. This after Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, who once targeted Aranda when he was on LSU’s staff, reportedly came after Raymond.
Other recent reports said LSU wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph turned down a chance to be the passing-game coordinator and associate head coach at Nebraska. Joseph is a Nebraska alum but was a prep star at Archbishop Shaw.
At the very least, retaining Raymond and Joseph allows LSU coach Ed Orgeron to say he isn’t losing staff to relatively lateral moves. That said, Raymond’s new deal says something interesting about LSU’s vacant defensive coordinator’s office.
There was some early speculation that Raymond might be in line to be Aranda’s replacement. That clearly does not appear to be the case at this point, with more indications Orgeron will go outside the football complex for the DC hire.
FootballScoop.com reported Monday that current Youngstown State coach and former LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini is a “strong candidate” to replace Aranda. Pelini is 33-28 in five seasons at Youngstown State, his hometown school and alma mater, including a trip to the 2016 FCS national championship game.
Pelini was on Les Miles’ staff from 2005-07, leaving in Aranda-like fashion to be head coach at Nebraska shortly after the 2008 BCS championship game. He went 66-27 in seven seasons there before being fired in 2014, though Nebraska had to supplement his pay at Youngstown State to the tune of a $6.54 million buyout that ended last February.
Pelini signed a three-year contract extension in March at Youngstown, though the salary wasn’t immediately available. His original base salary at the school in 2015 was $213,894. No doubt he got a bump with that new deal, but no where in the same galaxy as Aranda’s $2.5 million per year.
LSU isn’t likely to pay Aranda’s replacement anywhere near that, but it certainly can outbid an FCS school like Youngstown State several times over, even if it is home to Pelini. He would be a good return get by LSU, though his well-documented fiery personality would be a stark contrast to Aranda’s Vulcan-like equanimity. If Aranda’s pulse rate ever went over 100 in his time at LSU, I’d be surprised.
As for Brady’s replacement, another name has surfaced: Kris Richard. Richard played at Southern California when Orgeron was an assistant there, and he’s looking for work after losing his passing-game coordinator role with the Dallas Cowboys on Jason Garrett’s departed staff.
With the second national signing period opening up Feb. 5, you can expect Orgeron and LSU to move quickly. Stabilizing the staff by retaining Raymond and Joseph was a strong start.