LSU Football: Tigers dodged a potentially bad situation

LSU Football head coach Ed Orgeron (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
LSU Football head coach Ed Orgeron (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

LSU football went through a lot of changes this offseason.

Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron had to replace five assistants (two on the offensive side of the ball and three on the defensive side of the ball).

Coach O made hires on the offensive side of the ball relatively quickly, bringing in Jake Peetz and DJ Mangas from the Carolina Panthers to serve as LSU’s new offensive coordinator and passing game coordinator, respectively.

The defensive side of the ball, however, was a different story.

LSU football dodged a potentially bad situation

Orgeron initially targeted Cincinnati Bearcats defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to replace Bo Pelini.

Freeman interviewed with the Tigers in Baton Rouge, but he ultimately decided to take the defensive coordinator job at Notre Dame. That wasn’t much of a surprise — Freeman is a midwest guy who has spent most of his career in Ohio/Indiana.

After missing on Freeman, Orgeron interviewed Mississippi State defensive coordinator Zach Arnett. For whatever reason, Arnett and the Tigers weren’t a good match for each other.

Next on the list was New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen.

This is where LSU dodged a potentially tough situation.

Nielsen appeared to be on the verge of taking the defensive coordinator job at LSU. The two sides were working on a deal.

The deal, however, was held up due to language in Nielsen’s contract with New Orleans. LSU and Nielsen weren’t able to work through the holdup. Nielsen stayed with the Saints after receiving a raise and an assistant head coach title.

Despite the raise, Nielsen’s time in New Orleans still might be coming to an end.

The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman reported this week that Nielsen interviewed for the Green Bay Packers’ defensive coordinator vacancy.

I don’t know whether or not Nielsen will get the job, but it’s clear he’s on the radar for these types of jobs.

Now, imagine if LSU would’ve hired Nielsen, only to see him leave for the NFL a couple of weeks later.

That would’ve put the Tigers in a tough spot and possibly embarrassing situation.

Fortunately for LSU, the deal with Nielsen didn’t work out and they landed with a solid hire in Daronte Jones, who previously served as the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive backs coach.

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Everything works out for a reason. And I think it’s clear that this situation worked out for the best for LSU.