5 (nay, 2) offensive coordinators who make the most sense for LSU
Let’s start with a disclaimer.
The goal of this article was to identify five offensive coordinators who make the most sense for LSU.
But the honest answer is that when you slice it and dice it, the same two names come up over and over.
So here they are, the two guys we are hearing that will be the guys Ed Orgeron will pursue and why they will, or won’t, make sense for his new staff.
Alabama’s offensive coordinator is the obvious choice for Orgeron and the one the “home state discount” might come into play.
You see, with Orgeron’s salary estimated to be between $3-$4 million, less than what Les Miles was making and much less than what LSU was offering Jimbo Fisher and less than it was likely comfortable with paying Tom Herman, LSU can use those savings to make a splash with a coordinator.
So Kiffin could be a $2 million coordinator in Baton Rouge, $600,000 more than he makes at Alabama.
Why he fits: The Orgeron-Kiffin relationship started at USC in 2001 when Kiffin was hired as tight ends coach and Orgeron was already on staff. The relationship continued as Kiffin quickly rose through the ranks and hired Orgeron as assistant head coach at both Tennessee and USC.
Orgeron replaced Kiffin when he was fired as head coach in 2013. Orgeron led the Trojans to a 6-2 record but did not get the job.
Beyond the personal relationship, Kiffin might be a scheme fit. They share the pro-style background, but Kiffin has evolved to the spread this year with much success. Orgeron has expressed a desire to do the same.
Why he doesn’t fit: Kiffin obviously would like to be a head coach again, so why would he leave Alabama, where his résumé is likely to continue to look better and better as the Tide continues to roll?
And beyond that, is he close to reaching that ambition already? With Texas landing Tom Herman, could he be the next guy for the Cougars? With the wheels just beginning to spin in the coaches’ carousel, there may be many other landing spots that meet his ambitions more than remaining a coordinator at LSU.
Baton Rouge has done a fantastic job producing quarterback heroes for the state of Texas. There was former Texas A&M star Bucky Richardson, who played at Baton Rouge’s Broadmoor High. And there is Applewhite, who many remember as a Texas quarterback and offensive coordinator. But his roots were as a prep star at Baton Rouge’ Catholic High.
Applewhite, like Kiffin, was a fast-rising star in the profession when he wound up sort of sinking with the Mack Brown ship at his alma mater. He has seen his career take off again at Houston under Herman.
Why he’s a fit: Aside from his local ties, Applewhite brings both his own offensive reputation and an association to the Urban Meyer-Tom Herman offensive coaching tree.
That means fast, spread football, the kind of offense Orgeron is looking for.
Why he doesn’t fit: Has Applewhite really reformed his image at Houston or is he merely riding the coattails of Herman, the offensive genius who is really pushing the buttons there?
It’s a tough question to answer but one Orgeron would have to vet.
Also, if he has a chance to get paid well for a second chance to do right by his alma mater, does he take advantage of that opportunity?