LSU Football: Was there an ulterior motive for hiring Scott Linehan earlier this year?

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Scott Linehan won’t return as LSU football’s passing game coordinator in 2021.

When LSU football head coach Ed Orgeron hired Scott Linehan earlier this year to succeed Joe Brady as the Tigers’ passing game coordinator, I thought the move was a bit odd.

Linehan hadn’t been a college assistant since 2001 at Louisville. He had spent nearly two decades on an NFL sideline, mostly as a head coach or an offensive coordinator.

So why make the move to the college ranks after all that time in the NFL?

And if you’re LSU, why pursue a guy who was so far removed from the college game?

Coaching is coaching. I get it. But the college football world is a lot different than the NFL. Dealing with recruits, young players who are living on their own for the first time, shaking hands with boosters. It’s a lot.

Is it possible there was an ulterior motive for hiring Linehan at LSU?

I think it’s possible.

Did LSU football hire Scott Linehan so they could land Garrett Nussmeier?

When it was reported this week that Linehan wouldn’t be returning to LSU in 2021, it actually surprised me a little bit.

After all, the offense wasn’t really the problem for the Tigers in 2020. Inexperience, injuries, and opt-outs were the only factors that kept the offense from being a juggernaut once again. It seemed — on the surface at least — that Linehan did a good job working alongside offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger.

This seemingly odd decision is what got me thinking about whether or not there was a different reason that Linehan was hired last winter.

It’s certainly plausible that Orgeron brought Linehan to Baton Rouge to guarantee that four-star quarterback Garrett Nussmeier would sign with LSU.

Nussmeier’s father, Doug, and Linehan are close. They’ve been on several coaching staffs together. The presence of Linehan all but assured the Tigers of landing Nussmeier, the nation’s No. 8 rated pro-style quarterback.

Now, I’m sure some folks will point out that Caleb Williams was the big quarterback prize in the 2021 recruiting class. That’s true if you go by rankings. But LSU’s decision to take a commitment from Nussmeier before Williams made a decision indicated that Nussmeier was the Tigers’ first choice all along.

If he was that high on their board, then I can see why Orgeron wanted to bring Linehan, an odd fit for the Tigers, on staff.

Next. 3 options to replace Scott Linehan. dark

Championships are won with championship-caliber quarterbacks. If that’s how LSU views Nussmeier, then it would be a no brainer to bring a coach like Linehan to Baton Rouge to ensure they land his commitment.