LSU football hired Bo Pelini this offseason to replace Dave Aranda as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.
There’s a certain word that’s used often — very often — to describe new LSU football defensive coordinator Bo Pelini.
Anytime a story is written about Pelini, it’s inevitable that his “fiery” demeanor will be a focal point.
Pelini developed a reputation for being an intense coach during his first stint as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator from 2005-2007.
That reputation intensified during Pelini’s time as Nebraska’s head coach.
And Pelini is well aware of his reputation.
“The fiery Bo Pelini… the this Bo Pelini and that Bo Pelini. It got blown out of proportion. It was like every picture taken of me was me yelling at a ref,” said Pelini during an interview with Sports Illustrated earlier this year.
The coach that Pelini replaced at LSU, Dave Aranda (who left to become the head coach at Baylor), is the exact opposite of fiery. Mild-mannered, quiet, and meek are adjectives that are commonly used to describe Aranda.
An opposing SEC coach spoke to Lindy’s Sports this offseason for the publication’s 2020 season preview and he made the perfect comparisons for Pelini and Aranda.
The anonymous coach said Pelini and Aranda “are great defensive minds, but different personalities. One coaches like the Pope. Another coaches like he’s in a rock band.”
That comparison perfectly describes the contrast between Pelini and Aranda.
LSU football’s new defensive coordinator connects better with recruits
The coaching style isn’t the only difference between Pelini and Aranda.
Pelini is better than Aranda at building relationships with recruits.
2021 five-star defensive tackle Maason Smith told Rivals in early May that he has a better relationship with Pelini than Aranda, saying “It’s definitely better than it was with coach Aranda because I had never really talked to coach Aranda on a personal level.”
Smith added “but me and coach Pelini, well, he’s talked to my parents. I’ve met him in real life already. He’s a cool dude and more easier to talk to (than Aranda).”
Aranda did a great job at LSU. And he was a big reason why the Tigers were able to win a championship in 2019.
But I don’t think there’s any doubt that Pelini is a much better fit in Baton Rouge.