LSU has identified several possible candidates to replace defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, according to NOLA.com’s James Smith.
San Francisco 49ers linebackers coach Clancy Pendergast, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, former Nebraska and current Youngstown State head coach Bo Pelini, and Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda were listed in Smith’s report as potential replacements for Steele.
Pendergast has mainly bounced around the NFL throughout his career, coaching for six different NFL teams since 1995. Before landing in San Francisco, Pendergast was the defensive coordinator at USC in 2013. He also spent a brief stint from 2010-12 managing California’s defense.
Venables is one of the top rising coordinators in the country, but he has said in the past that he has no interest in leaving Clemson. The undefeated Tigers ranked 18th in the nation in scoring defense, giving up an average of 20.2 points per game this season.
Pelini is in his first season as Youngstown State’s head coach after being ousted from Nebraska last year. He went 5-6 in his first season and could be looking for a more glamorous job, even if it’s a coordinator position. Pelini has ties to LSU as Les Miles’ first defensive coordinator from 2005-07. His performance at LSU ultimately earned him the head coaching job at Nebraska. Smith reports that some LSU insiders are concerned about Pelini’s explosive personality.
Aranda might be the top defensive coordinator out there after leading Wisconsin to the top-ranked scoring defense in 2015. According to Smith, Aranda is a sleeper candidate. However, a substantial pay raise may be enough to lure Aranda to Baton Rouge, La.