LSU readies for 2015 season with new defensive hires

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
From left to right, new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, head coach Les Miles and new defensive line coach Ed Orgeron. Photo by LSUsports.net.

After a nearly two-week long coaching search, LSU has found their new defensive coordinator.

The Tigers' search went through big names that included Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, former Arizona Cardinal defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and current Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop.

In the end, LSU settled with a guy that knows the SEC West like the back of his hand, Alabama linebackers coach Kevin Steele.

Steele has a long and accomplished resumé.

Steel has coached in both college and the NFL. He was the head coach at Baylor from 1999-2002.

He later served four years at Florida State under legendary head coach Bobby Bowden before becoming the Alabama defensive coordinator in 2007.

He also served as defensive coordinator at Clemson from 2009-2011. In his final year there, the Tigers won the ACC title and made the Orange Bowl. They ranked No. 13 nationally in points per game.

He then went back to Alabama where this past year, he served as their linebackers coach.

Steele is also known for his ability to recruit talent. He helped the Tide bring in last year's top-ranked recruiting class.

But when it comes to filling John Chavis' shoes as a defensive coordinator, he'll have his work cut our for him.

Chavis' defenses were consistently ranked near the top of college football. Just this past season, the Tigers finished the regular season No. 1 in the SEC for total defense.

However, the cupboard certainly won't be bare for Steele.

Though LSU loses underclassmen Kwon Alexander, Danielle Hunter and Jalen Collins and also senior leaders Jermauria Rasco and Ronald Martin, the Tigers still bring back a very talented unit.

Breakout middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith returns along with emerging defensive tackles Davon Godchaux and Christian LaCouture.

In the secondary, Tre'Davious White, Jalen Mills, Dwayne Thomas and Jamal Adams all return. The Tigers will also be introducing the second-ranked cornerback prospect in America in Kevin Toliver II.

Just a day after Steele's hire, LSU made even a bigger splash as they hired Louisiana native Ed Orgeron as their new defensive line coach.

Orgeron is widely-hailed as one of the best recruiters in the country.

Besides being a top-notch recruiter, he has an accomplished history working with defensive lines.

From 1988-92, he coached Miami's D-line and worked with guys like Cortez Kennedy, Russell Maryland and Warren Sapp.

He was the defensive line coach at USC on two different occasions. Most recently, he coached there from 2010-13.

When Lane Kiffin was fired midway through the season, he took over as interim head coach and guided the Trojans to a 6-2 record.

Orgeron wanted to take over the position full time, and his players lobbied for him to do so but when USC decided to bring in someone else, he left.

He did have one stint as a head coach back in 2005 for Ole Miss. He coached the Rebels for three years.

With Orgeron being brought in as the new defensive line coach, former defensive line coach Brick Haley went from being considered as the new defensive coordinator to not having a job on the staff.

LSU is discussing a new role for Haley but in the meantime, both Alabama and Texas A&M are interested in adding him to their staffs.