By Irwin Fletcher
When LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward said, “The search for a new football coach begins today,” the speculation began to swirl all over college football. With many potential coaching candidate names being thrown around, no one really knows what direction Woodward will go.
What we do know is Scott Woodward is not scared to go after big name coaches and will try to make it four straight LSU football head coaches who have won a national championship while roaming the sidelines of the real Death Valley.
Woodward’s first order of business when he arrived in Baton Rouge was to lure Kim Mulkey, Baylor women’s basketball coach and Louisiana native, to LSU and find a replacement for retired baseball coach Paul Mainieri. It did not take Woodward long to find a replacement in Jay Johnson from University of Arizona.
The LSU job is without a doubt a premier one in college football. There are top notch facilities, an extremely fertile recruiting area within Louisiana and virtually no in-state competition. Most of LSU’s rivals have two major colleges within their state. This forces those schools to split recruits, fans and money.
The job does come with some drawbacks as well. The biggest obstacle for any coach in the SEC West is Nick Saban. Saban has been dominant during his time in Tuscaloosa. The other hurdle for the next LSU coach will be the double-edged sword that is the fanbase. The Tigers have one of the most rabid fan bases in the nation. This is great on those Saturday nights in Tiger Stadium when LSU is winning, but when the Tigers are being pushed around all over the field, the fans demand answers.
The next head coach who leads the Tigers into the pantheon of concrete and steel that is Tiger Stadium will inherit a roster loaded with talent that rivals any school in the country. Some of these talented players are Kayshon Boutte, JaRay Jenkins, Max Johnson on offense and Maason Smith, Eli Ricks and BJ Ojulari on defense. The new coach will walk into Baton Rouge with plenty of stars to help turn the Tigers around immediately.