Hurricanes defensive coordinator Blake Baker finalizing deal to join LSU, according to report

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David Furones, South Florida Sun Sentinel
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Miami Hurricanes defensive coordinator Blake Baker is finalizing a deal to join the LSU coaching staff, according to a Thursday Sports Illustrated report.

The report said Baker, who also coached linebackers at Miami, will be linebackers coach for the Tigers.

Baker is set to leave UM after two seasons when many initially believed the team would part ways with him at season’s end because of the poor defensive performance in the 62-26 regular-season finale loss to North Carolina.

Earlier in January, however, coach Manny Diaz provided Baker with his vote of confidence by retaining him as defensive coordinator, albeit with the caveat that Diaz would take over defensive play-calling duties.

Baker first came to Miami in January of 2019 after he spent four seasons as defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech, succeeding Diaz there. He was safeties coach the one year Diaz was DC at La. Tech in 2014 and also served as a graduate assistant on Diaz’s Texas defense in the early 2010s.

He now joins Tigers coach Ed Orgeron’s staff after he already named Daronte Jones as LSU’s new defensive coordinator, grabbing him from his previous post as Minnesota Vikings defensive backs coach.

The Miami defense gave up program worsts of 556 rushing yards and 778 total yards in the Dec. 12 loss to UNC. That was followed by allowing Oklahoma State to score touchdowns on its first three drives in the 37-34 Cheez-It Bowl loss on Dec. 29 in Orlando. It created a 21-0 deficit the Hurricanes could never fully rally back from.

UM ranked 51st nationally in scoring defense in 2020, allowing 27 points per game.

A potent defense has been a trademark for Miami since Diaz came on board as defensive coordinator in 2016. While showing flashes of dominance in 2020, that was not the case in the final two losses, the previous defeat at Clemson in October, much of the 44-41 win at North Carolina State or parts of the 25-24 win at Virginia Tech, both in November.

When Diaz and the Hurricanes announced the addition of defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, the return of defensive line coach Jess Simpson and the promotion of assistant recruiting director DeMarcus Van Dyke to cornerbacks coach, it was said the moves were completing the team’s 2021 coaching staff.

UM will now have another move to make after already replacing former safeties coach Ephraim Banda, who took the defensive coordinator job at Utah State, moving former defensive line coach Todd Stroud to senior football adviser and previous cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph to a role in the recruiting department.