LSU Football: How Scott Linehan and Joe Brady were both perfect hires in different ways

Former LSU Football passing game coordinator Joe Brady (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Former LSU Football passing game coordinator Joe Brady (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

LSU football head coach Ed Orgeron has a knack for making the perfect hire at the perfect time.

New LSU football passing game coordinator Scott Linehan is quite a bit different than his predecessor Joe Brady.

Linehan has a lot more experience than Brady (which is a kind way of saying that Linehan is 56 years old, while Brady is only 30 years old). The Tigers’ new passing game coordinator has already been to the top of the football coaching ladder — Linehan served as the head coach of the St Louis Rams (before they relocated to Los Angeles) from 2006-08.

Brady, on the other hand, is still working his way up the ladder. Prior to joining LSU’s staff in 2019, Brady was an offensive analyst for the New Orleans Saints — a job he landed after he served as a graduate assistant at Penn State for two years.

A young and innovative coach and a seasoned coach who hasn’t coached at the collegiate level since 2001.

Brady and Linehan couldn’t be more different.

Yet they were both perfect hires by Ed Orgeron.

It’s all about timing

When Coach O brought Brady to Baton Rouge, the Tigers’ offense was in desperate need of a “facelift”.

LSU averaged 32 points per game in 2018. Not bad, but Orgeron knew the team could do better — especially with the elite talent the Tigers had on the roster (you know, all that talent we saw end up in the NFL back in April).

In 2019, thanks to the influence of Brady (and the emergence of quarterback Joe Burrow), LSU averaged 48 points per game (the top scoring offense in the nation).

Brady brought an innovative offense to the Tigers that combined RPO’s with a West Coast style. Essentially, the offense was designed to get LSU’s playmakers in space.

And it worked….incredibly well.

As a result, Brady was quickly scooped up by the Carolina Panthers to serve as the franchise’s new offensive coordinator. It was inevitable after Brady’s success in 2019 that LSU would be searching for a new passing game coordinator this offseason.

It would’ve been temping for Orgeron to search for another young up-and-coming coach to take the place of Brady.

Former LSU analyst Jorge Munoz would’ve fit that description. Munoz was well-liked by Burrow (Munoz was at the Heisman Trophy ceremony, unusual for an analyst), which essentially signals that he knew what he was doing as a coach. It would’ve been an easy move that not many folks would’ve questioned. After all, Orgeron struck lightening with a former analyst in Brady, why not try it again?

But Orgeron didn’t want to make a hire just because it “made sense”. Orgeron knew that while the Brady/LSU marriage worked in 2019, it didn’t necessarily mean the Tigers would need the same thing in 2020.

That’s why Coach O hired Linehan — a veteran coach who has coached at a lot of places. Orgeron knew that Linehan could mesh with the staff at LSU and build on the existing offense with offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger.

And that’s exactly what Linehan is hoping to do.

“You want to be part of a great system and this system already is great,” said Linehan this week during an appearance on 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge.

“I just want to add to it, you know, when I can, and I want to do the best job I can to continue exactly the same approach,” added Linehan.

The evolution of Orgeron as a head coach has been amazing to watch. And it’s completely changed how I view the past failures of head coaches.

Orgeron learned from what went wrong at Ole Miss (where he served as a head coach from 2005-07). He learned from his time at Tennessee and USC. And he’s applying everything he learned from those stops as the head coach at LSU.

The difference in being a great head coach and a head coach on the hot seat can be incredibly small. Sometimes it just comes down to a willingness to evolve.

Next. 3 not-so-crazy predictions for LSU in 2020. dark

Orgeron is clearly willing to evolve. In fact, he’s making sure he stays ahead of the curve by evolving before the rest of the head coaches in college football.