The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

LSU Injects Its Staff With The Energy Of Youth

13 days ago
Kevin Scarbinsky
Photo: Fred Daniels

The 2019 LSU Tigers put together a season for the ages, running the table, winning the SEC championship and capturing the national title while shattering offensive records along the way.

The 2020 LSU Tigers, with so many of those record-setters gone to the NFL, led by Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow, lost as many games as they won.

The 2021 LSU Tigers? To be determined, but the Tigers will be markedly different in one notable area - on the sideline. Head coach Ed Orgeron has hired six new assistant coaches, including both coordinators. If there's a theme running through his rebuilt staff, it's youth.

Defensive coordinator Daronte Jones, who arrived from the Minnesota Vikings, is 42. Offensive coordinator Jake Peetz, from the Carolina Panthers, is 38. It's hard not to notice the difference in their ages compared to the coaches they're following, 53-year-old DC Bo Pelini and 62-year-old OC Steve Ensminger.

"Our (new) coaches didn't know this, but when I was interviewing them, I was pretending I was one of our players, and I wanted to see how well they would communicate to our players," Orgeron said. "Coaches are going to know a lot of football, but it's how much that they can get to our players and how much our players will know."

Orgeron said his new assistants on average are 20 years younger than their predecessors, but more importantly, "every one of these coaches made an A-plus in communication with our players."

Peetz and passing game coordinator DJ Mangas are tasked with bringing back the explosive 2019 spread offense led by wunderkind Joe Brady, who left after that magical season to run the Carolina Panthers' offense. Peetz and Mangas worked under Brady at Carolina last season. Mangas also worked with Brady as an analyst the year before at LSU.

That doesn't mean the Tigers are expecting quarterback candidates Myles Brennan, Max Johnson and Garrett Nussmeier to put up numbers like Burrow did when he won the 2019 Heisman.

"I don't know if we're going to see another Joe Burrow," Orgeron said. "I hope we do. I can't wait to see him. I hope that Max, Myles, or Garrett becomes like that. But the type of offense we're going to run, the style of offense of 2019, the type of checks that we had, the type of protections, that's the stuff I'm talking about now. I want to see the same type of plays, I want to see the same type of adjustments that were so successful for us."

Veteran offensive lineman Austin Deculus offered an observation about the 2021 Tigers.

"It's going to be a very energetic offense," he said, "just like the 2019 season."