LSU is reportedly very pleased with interim head coach Ed Orgeron’s performance since taking over the program, but should the Tigers go in a different direction, a few coaches have emerged as frontrunners.
According to SB Nation’s Steven Godfrey, Orgeron “would be the favorite” if LSU had to name its new head coach today. His chances of winning the job will reportedly go up if the Tigers can beat Alabama this week.
If things don’t work out with Orgeron, however, there are four candidates with support from LSU’s boosters and administration.
The four targets, in order of support, are:
- Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
- Tom Herman, Houston
- Jim Mora, UCLA
- Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
Fisher is the target with the most backing, according to Godfrey. The Seminoles coach has achieved “cult status” among the boosters in Baton Rouge. However, Godfrey noted that LSU AD Joe Alleva supposedly wants “a total refresh in culture,” something he wouldn’t get by conceding to the boosters who support Fisher.
Herman has been the hottest name on the coaching market all year, even despite Houston’s recent struggles. His coaching job against Alabama as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator in the 2014 playoff also helps his case among boosters.
However, the second-year head coach is expected to listen to Texas if the Longhorns make a coaching change.
“If Charlie Strong doesn’t survive 2016,” Godfrey said, “LSU boosters are hesitant to lock into a bidding war with the Longhorns for a two-year AAC head coach with no direct ties to Louisiana.”
Mora has connections to Louisiana in recruiting and is the son of a former New Orleans Saints head coach. His ability to develop players and willingness to try new things on offense reportedly make him attractive compared to former head coach Les Miles.
Holgorsen also has support because of his offensive acumen.
“A faction of LSU boosters in Houston consider (Holgorsen) an offensive mind who’s never been given elite talent to work with,” Godfrey said. “It also helps that of the coaches in the Mike Leach air raid tree, Holgorsen has embraced the run more than others.”
Godfrey also listed a fifth, more vauge possibility: “A candidate who is young and offense-minded.” It’s clear based on all of these possibilities that most people involved in this decision want someone willing to be more flexible on offense than Miles was.
And that brings things back to Orgeron. The Tigers’ offense has already become far more effective than it was with Miles at the helm, and Orgeron has re-energized the program. LSU’s pursuit of any of those possibilities depends on Orgeron’s performance over the last four games. If his team continues to play well against tougher competition down the stretch, Oregon may be in good position to keep the job.
“If Ed Orgeron came in and interviewed at a program the size of LSU and offered top-level recruiting and this staff running a high-scoring offense, you’d probably hire him,” a source told Godfrey.