Looking back at Pete Jenkins’s legacy as LSU’s defensive line coach
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The end of an era
LSU announced Sunday that defensive line coach Pete Jenkins will be retiring at season’s end. Jenkins spent 22 years coaching in the SEC, including three stints at LSU during which he produced more than 30 NFL defensive linemen and two All-Americans.
Jenkins should and will go down as one of the greatest assistant coaches in LSU history. In his first 11 years at LSU (1980-90), he helped develop names like Henry Thomas and Roland Barbay. When he came back to LSU in 2000 and 2001, he coached legends like Jarvis Green and Marcus Spears to the school’s first SEC title since his last stint with the team. Then in 2016, Jenkins came back to the Bayou to help one of his old proteges, Ed Orgeron, after he learned Coach O had the chance to earn his dream job.
Having never been a college head coach, Jenkins won’t ever be fully respected or embraced by college football fans nationally. In a lot of ways, Jenkins will be remembered the same way you’d remember a senator who never ran for president, or the best home run hitter in minor league history. But Jenkins’ legacy and the ascent of LSU football are intertwined.
He was there when the Tigers found success in the ’80s, averaging seven wins a season. He was there when Nick Saban arrived to pull the Tigers out of the dregs of the ’90s. And he was there when Orgeron came to reinvent the suddenly-stale Tigers out of the Les Miles era.
Twenty-nine-year-old assistant Dennis Johnson will have pretty big shoes to fill stepping in for Jenkins. Whether he’s up to the task is yet to be seen. But Jenkins is a giant in LSU coaching history. That much is for sure.
Elsewhere in coaching drama
As per reports from Chris Landry of Landry Football, LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada might spend this offseason pursuing a head coaching job at a Group of 5 school.
Expect LSU OC MATT CANADA to pursue GROUP OF 5 HC jobs this offseason—despite the turnaround to their season, things continue to be strained btw him and HC Ed Orgeron following their post Troy loss meeting with the AD…….
— Chris Landry (@LandryFootball) November 26, 2017
The possibility of this happening isn’t absurd. Canada isn’t known as a long-term installment as an offensive coordinator, as three of his four jobs prior to LSU lasted exactly one season. Orgeron even brought up a contingency plan if Canada were to leave before the bowl game in his postgame news conference after the Texas A&M win.
Given Orgeron’s smaller contract relative to other SEC coaches, LSU should be able to hire whichever offensive coordinator it wants. Money shouldn’t be an object, just as it wasn’t for Canada or Dave Aranda. The question is who. Up-and-coming offensive coordinators don’t grow on trees. This will be a make-or-break hire if it comes down to this, and it’s hard to say there’s any one leading candidate ripe for the picking.
So the drama
If you spent Sunday reliving LSU’s win over Texas A&M or watching the New Orleans Saints or doing any number of things that wasn’t constantly refreshing Twitter, you probably missed a huge chunk of SEC football news. Here’s a smattering of some of the headlines you might’ve missed:
- Tennessee hired Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano as its next head coach, until it didn’t.
- Florida named Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen as its next head coach.
- One day after a loss to LSU, Texas A&M fired coach Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies are expected to announce Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher as their next coach Monday.
- Ole Miss dropped the interim tag and named Matt Luke its full-time head coach.
- Two names emerged as the lead candidates for Arkansas‘ head-coaching search.
- Mississippi State has a few options to replace Mullen.
Checking in with the ‘croots
Sunday was the first day of the contact period, when coaches could visit recruits face to face. As such, there’s plenty of recruiting news to cover. Here’s a quick look at some of the stories:
- The Tigers nabbed a commitment from a JUCO offensive tackle.
- LSU went in-home with 4-star QB Justin Rogers.
- Coach O shed some light on the Tigers’ contact period plan.
- The full list of recruits who visited LSU-Texas A&M.
The week in NFLSU
As is the case every Sunday, former LSU football players had a huge day in the NFL. This included a matchup between three of the most beloved Tigers ever, a big day for a rookie having a standout season, another consistent performance from one of LSU’s star products and more.
Here are some of the highlights of Sunday’s action:
- The Arizona Cardinals defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-24 in a game that featured LSU legends Leonard Fournette, Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson. Fournette rushed 12 times for 25 yards, and Mathieu starred with 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 PBUs and an interception and Peterson added 4 tackles of his own. After the game, Fournette and Mathieu swapped jerseys.
- Buffalo Bills rookie Tre’Davious White sealed the Bills’ 16-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs with an interception returned 63 yards in the fourth quarter Sunday. The pick was White’s second of the year, and his pass breakup earlier in the game put him within shooting distance of the NFL lead with 14.
- His Miami Dolphins got beat by the New England Patriots per usual, but wide receiver Jarvis Landry added another 8 catches and 70 yards to his impressive season.
Today in made-up holidays
It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving, which makes it “Cyber Monday” here in the United States. Any sale you can think of finding online, it’s there.
So if you didn’t get all your holiday shopping done on Black Friday, this is your moment. Plus you won’t have to endure trampling to get your gifts. Added bonus.
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