Pelini, who served as Les Miles’ defensive coordinator in Baton Rouge from 2005-2007, was a successful head coach at Nebraska with years of defensive experience.
But unfortunately for the Tigers, the hire didn’t work out.
LSU’s defense was terrible in 2020, giving up 34.9 points per game (No. 98 in the nation).
Pelini and the Tigers parted ways after the season.
Orgeron spoke with numerous candidates to replace Pelini — and offered the job to a couple of them — before settling on Minnesota Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones.
So far, the move is working out (though to be fair, we’ve yet to see Jones’ defense in action during a regular-season game).
Last week, while at SEC Media Days, Orgeron provided some unique praise for his new defensive coordinator.
Ed Orgeron’s unique praise for LSU football’s new defensive coordinator
When Orgeron set out to hire new assistants after the 2020 season, he made it a point to go with youth. Coach O wanted coaches who connected better with players.
And that’s exactly what he’s getting with Jones.
Orgeron told reporters last week that Jones communicates better with players than any assistant he’s ever had (via Jacques Doucet).
“His meetings are very entertaining,” said Orgeron. “He’ll play music. He’ll get up there and dance.”
“He gets the excitement back in the game, but he also is a very disciplined coach. A very structured coach, a very organized coach.”
It sounds like Orgeron is getting exactly what he wanted from Jones.
Now we just have to see if Jones’ approach translates to a better defensive product on the field this fall.
I have a feeling it will.