LSU Football: Brian Kelly’s defensive coordinator hire should be obvious

Mandatory Credit: Patrick Dennis-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Patrick Dennis-USA TODAY Sports /

Earlier this week, I suggested that new LSU football head coach Brian Kelly should take a look at Georgia Bulldogs assistant Will Muschamp for the Tigers’ defensive coordinator position.

After thinking about it for a couple of days, I’ve changed my mind.

Muschamp could still be a decent hire, but he wouldn’t be without risk. The former Florida and South Carolina head coach could be a similar hire to Bo Pelini in 2020.

And that’s not what anyone in Baton Rouge wants.

Sometimes it’s not easy for former head coaches to adjust to being an assistant. It didn’t work well for Pelini and it’s no guarantee that it would work well for Muschamp.

The parallels between Muschamp and Pelini are aplenty. Former LSU assistants who were part of national championships and went on to be head coaches that were fired.

Perhaps LSU should be cautious about going down that road again.

The obvious defensive coordinator choice for LSU football

The obvious and easy answer for Brian Kelly is to just retain Daronte Jones.

Jones, who was hired at LSU by Ed Orgeron before the 2021 season, settled into the defensive coordinator role nicely last season.

It was a bit of a rough start for Jones, but he eventually helped LSU’s defense improve from No. 98 in the country in 2020 to No. 59 in the country this past season.

That’s especially impressive when you consider that LSU’s defense dealt with multiple injuries to key players (cornerbacks Derek Stingley Jr and Eli Ricks, specifically).

Jones didn’t have much defensive coordinator experience when he took the job last year (he was a defensive coordinator at Bowie State in the late 2000s, otherwise he had been a position coach for his entire career). It’s reasonable to suggest he’s only going to get better from here as he gains experience.

Plus, Jones has built some key recruiting relationships over the last year. He would be a major asset to Kelly on the recruiting trail.

Next. The 5 best moments of the Ed Orgeron era at LSU. dark

Retaining Jones makes a lot of sense for Kelly. Sometimes the answer is obvious. This is one of those times.