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The news broke late Saturday morning early afternoon that the LSU Tigers have decided to part ways with head coach Ed Orgeron. This ended the speculation of when the news would come down about the future of the head coach that won a national championship less than two years ago. This had a very Gene Chizik at Auburn feel to it.
The difference being the off-field issues under Orgeron to go along with a 9-8 record following the season of perfection. It is out in the open now and the school begins the hunt for the next head coach at LSU. We have heard a few names which we will begin to look at.
James Franklin, Penn State
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Frankin has been tied to both opening with LSU and the USC Trojans. Trojans fired their head coach Clay Helton and began their search for the next head coach already. Now LSU joins the fray and the Penn State head coach makes sense. Whether or not he would leave for Baton Rouge is another story entirely.
Franklin spent three seasons as the Vanderbilt head coach from 2011-13. During that time he won 24 games. Since that time, the Commodores have won a combined 29 games. He has proven that he can win at a program that hasn’t had much sustained success. What could he do with a loaded LSU program that recruits itself?
Mel Tucker, Michigan State
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Mel Tucker wasn’t a name on the radar just a couple of weeks ago when we began speculation. However, on the Fox pregame show on Saturday, Bruce Feldman stated that influential people in Baton Rouge are high on the current Michigan State head coach.
Tucker worked under Saban at LSU in 2000 as the defensive backs coach. He is very familiar with the SEC. He worked again with Saban at Alabama in 2015 before three years at Georgia as the defensive coordinator under Kirby Smart. Tucker currently has the Spartans as a top 10 team with a 7-0 record. A name to keep an eye on.
Luke Fickell, Cincinnati
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If there is a non-Power Five head coach to observe it is Luke Fickell. He has absolutely turned the Cincinnati program around after taking over as the head coach. He has the Bearcats among the top three teams in the country with an unblemished record and in the CFP conversation.
After a 4-8 start in 2017, He is 34-6 in the last four seasons at the head coach. He was with the Ohio State program from 2002-16 as an assistant and interim head coach in 2011. Fickell is on the rise and could be one of the up-and-coming coaches that get a call from Woodward. We have heard his name among the top coaches in contention for LSU if the job opened up, we will find out how serious his candidacy is.
Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss
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Two weeks ago it seemed as though Lane Kiffin was among the top names to be considered. We will mention him here once again, but that talk has seemed to simmer down a little bit.
The big question for Kiffin has to do with getting a read on Woodward, would he bring in a coach known for the attention off the field? Especially after what they went through with Orgeron? Sure Kiffin will bring eyeballs but can he do enough to compete with the Alabama’s and Georgia’s of college football?
I wouldn’t write him off the list just yet.
Mario Cristolbal, Oregon
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If you want an elite recruiter that can improve the offensive line immensely, check out Oregon’s Mario Cristolbal. The Ducks head coach can recruit with the best of them, he did so at Alabama under Nick Saban.
He served under Saban as the recruiting coordinator, offensive line coach, and assistant head coach at Alabama from 2013-16, before leaving for Orgeron. He took over as head coach in 2018.
Joe Brady, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator
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We will bring back Joe Brady to this list based on one fact, this offense hasn’t looked the same without him. He doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of what Scott Woodward is likely looking to hire as head coach and honestly not sure if he wants to recruit. A phone call should be made regardless.