The hype surrounding this weekend’s matchup between LSU and Texas A&M has focused on Les Miles, who could be coaching his final game for LSU. That makes it easy to forget that the Tigers will be squaring off with a former coach when the Aggies visit Baton Rouge, La.
Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis held the same position for LSU just a year ago. Chavis served on LSU’s staff from 2009-14, but he left for Texas A&M after his relationship with athletic director Joe Alleva deteriorated over a contract dispute and turned into a legal battle.
Chavis’ departure was anything but smooth, and many of the players did not hear about the news until after LSU’s loss to Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl. Defensive lineman Lamar Louis said he was upset by the way he learned of the coaching move, according to The Advocate’s Ross Dellenger.
Louis added that he understood how the business side of college football dictated the decision.
“At the end of the day, college football has turned into a business,” Louis said, according to NOLA.com’s Jerit Roser. “It’s a business. It’s the mini-NFL.”
During his final season with the Tigers, Chavis was the architect of the nation’s fourth-best scoring defense and ninth-best unit in terms of total yards allowed. LSU’s defense has regressed under first-year defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, with the Tigers ranking 58th in scoring defense and 35th in total defense.
Conversely, the Aggies’ defense has improved drastically during Chavis’ first season. Texas A&M has improved from 77th in scoring defense (28.1 points allowed per game) to 34th (21.8 points allowed per game). The Aggies have also jumped from 104th in total defense to 49th.
If Miles is indeed coaching for his job this weekend, he will have to beat his former coordinator to give himself a shot at retaining it.