LSU Football: Defensive coordinator option from NFL emerges

LSU football coach Ed Orgeron (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
LSU football coach Ed Orgeron (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

LSU football’s search for a new defensive coordinator continues.

In recent days, I’ve hit on several options to replace Bo Pelini as LSU football‘s new defensive coordinator.

Unsurprisingly, new names seem to be emerging almost daily.

The latest name to emerge in the Tigers’ search for a new defensive coordinator is from the NFL.

And he has a strong connection to LSU head coach Ed Orgeron.

The latest defensive coordinator option for LSU football

According to 247Sports, New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen is an option to replace Pelini in Baton Rouge.

Nielsen has worked on Sean Payton’s staff in New Orleans since 2017. He’s built a strong reputation for his work with defensive linemen.

A great example of the work Nielsen has done with defensive linemen is former Tennessee Vols defensive tackle, Shy Tuttle.

Tuttle was undrafted out of Tennessee. He was essentially an afterthought after battling through injuries in college. But under the guidance of Nielsen, Tuttle has become a key part of the Saints’ defensive line rotation. It’s easy to focus on Nielsen’s work with the big names (guys like All-Pro defensive Cameron Jordan), but it’s his work with under-the-radar players like Tuttle that I find impressive.

Nielsen’s connection to Orgeron is what makes him an obvious option for the Tigers. Nielsen played under Coach O at USC in the late 90s/early 2000s. He then worked as a volunteer assistant under Orgeron at USC in 2002.

When Orgeron became the head coach at Ole Miss in 2005, he brought Nielsen to Oxford to serve as his defensive line coach.

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The only concern with hiring Nielsen is his lack of experience as a defensive coordinator. Nielsen’s only defensive coordinator experience came in 2012 at Northern Illinois (serving as a co-defensive coordinator) and 2008/2009 as the defensive coordinator at Central Connecticut State.

Nielsen’s NFL experience, however, makes him an attractive option. And I’d say the last coach that Orgeron swiped from the Saints (Joe Brady) worked out pretty well.