After a 2-2 start to the season, change is on the horizon in Baton Rouge.
Les Miles and Cam Cameron are out at LSU, and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron is slated to take over the Tigers on an interim basis.
The coaching search will kick off immediately as members of the university prepare to conduct a wide-ranging evaluation. Here are 10 potential candidates that could replace Miles at the helm of the LSU program:
10. Art Briles
The former Baylor coach was the architect of some of the nation’s most prolific offensive attacks. Briles’ tenure in Waco, Texas came to a screeching end after details surfaced that the university mishandled sexual assault investigations, including several instances against Bears football players.
That investigation led to Briles’ dismissal from Baylor, which emerged as a power in the Big 12 under his direction. The question is whether LSU would be willing to overlook that added baggage to fix its offensive shortcomings.
9. David Shaw
Shaw was not a household name when he replaced Jim Harbaugh as Stanford’s head coach. However, he has become just that, turning the Cardinal into a perennial Pac-12 powerhouse.
If he’s able to maintain that level of success in the same conference as Southern Cal and Oregon, then perhaps LSU would be interested in seeing how Shaw would fare in the SEC. Keep in mind that Christian McCaffrey is a Heisman Trophy contender in Shaw’s offense.
8. Lane Kiffin
Kiffin has become one of college football’s best coordinators since taking over in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He was on the sidelines for Alabama’s national championship victory last January, and he is finding success again this season, this time with a freshman quarterback.
Kiffin’s success with the Tide has helped us forget about his failures at Tennessee, Southern Cal and with the Oakland Raiders. Nonetheless, as one of the better recruiters in the country and the architect of a high-octane offense, Kiffin will emerge as a candidate for numerous head coaching jobs.
7. Bobby Petrino
Like Kiffin, it’s easy to forget about the headlines Petrino generated while coaching at Arkansas. Still, he’s resurfaced and fixed his image, and now is leading No. 3 Louisville to a magical season.
Petrino is notorious for his potent offensive style. He did it at Arkansas with Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson. He’s doing the same with Heisman contender Lamar Jackson.
6. Dan Mullen
Mississippi State became a power seven years ago when Mullen took over. The former Florida offensive coordinator is a member of the Urban Meyer coaching tree and has helped develop notable quarterbacks such as Alex Smith, Tim Tebow and Dak Prescott.
Mullen already knows what it takes to recruit in the SEC and compete in the West Division.
5. Bill O’Brien
O’Brien is set up very well as the head coach of the Houston Texans, but should his team take a disappointing turn this fall, his name could emerge.
A Bill Belichick disciple, O’Brien left his post as the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator to take over Penn State in the aftermath of the Joe Paterno scandal. He helped guide Christian Hackenberg to the best season of his college career.
Should O’Brien not remain with Houston beyond this season, he’s certainly a candidate to return to the collegiate ranks and perhaps resurrect the LSU offense.
4. Mike Gundy
Miles took the route from Stillwater, Okla., to Baton Rouge. Perhaps Gundy would do the same.
Gundy has been a part of the Oklahoma State program for 15 years, serving as offensive coordinator from 2001-04 and head coach since 2005. He has a 96-49 record in that span, including a 6-4 mark in bowl games.
His offenses regularly rank among the best in the nation, and he potentially could bring that run-and-gun style to LSU.
3. Ed Orgeron
Orgeron has assumed head-coaching responsibilities at LSU on an interim basis. According to a source close to the program, if Orgeron is successful, there’s a high likelihood he could restructure his contract to become the Tigers’ head coach.
Orgeron is in his second season as the defensive line coach and replaced Frank Wilson as the Tigers’ recruiting coordinator in February. Orgeron boasts an immaculate coaching resume, which includes head coaching stints at Ole Miss and Southern Cal, the latter on an interim basis.
A Louisiana native that has been in the SEC for much of his career, Orgeron is an obvious choice to replace Miles on a full-time basis. It would be one of the better hires from a recruiting standpoint and to maintain stability in the coaching staff.
Orgeron was 10-15 as Ole Miss’ head coach from 2005-07 and 6-2 at the helm of USC in 2013 after Kiffin was fired.
2. Jimbo Fisher
Fisher was the top coach on LSU athletic director Joe Alleva’s wish list last November when Miles was sitting on the hot seat. Fisher did not have an interest in relocating to Baton Rouge — then, at least — which led to Miles returning to the Tigers in 2016.
Fisher was on LSU’s staff when Nick Saban was the head coach of the Tigers, and he also spent two seasons working under Miles. In Baton Rouge, he helped develop quarterbacks such as Josh Booty, Rohan Davey, Matt Mauck, JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn. With Fisher as offensive coordinator, LSU made seven consecutive bowl game appearances, won a pair of SEC championships and helped the team post a 70-20 record, including a victory in the 2003 BCS National Championship.
One of the best football coaches in the country, Fisher is an obvious target to again succeed Miles. The question is how he views the move from the ACC to the SEC.
1. Tom Herman
No. 6 Houston has been one of the best stories in college football the past two seasons, thanks largely due to Herman.
The most popular pick to receive a hefty raise at the end of the season, Herman has guided Houston to defeats of Fisher’s Florida State squad in last season’s Peach Bowl and preseason darling Oklahoma to start 2016.
Another member of the Meyer tree, Herman is the most popular name being floated around on LSU’s campus this fall. With LSU forced to pay millions to buy out Miles’ contract, the question is how wide it can open up the wallet to entice Herman.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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