Shortly after having the interim tag removed from his title Saturday, LSU football coach Ed Orgeron talked about recruiting the juniors who may be thinking about leaving the Tigers for a shot at the NFL.
The same may apply to his coaching staff — especially highly respected defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. But Orgeron and athletic director Joe Alleva said there's no indication Aranda may want to leave after one season with the Tigers.
LSU will sweeten the compensation package for Aranda, a source confirmed, in a new deal that could be finalized soon. The Tigers are moving quick, after Tom Herman was named Texas' coach on Saturday. Herman was part of the Cal Lutheran football program at the same time as Aranda, and reports surfaced Saturday that he'd be interested in acquiring his old college buddy.
Herman was believed to be the leading candidate for LSU's opening until athletic department officials abruptly ended discussions with him and his agent early Saturday morning. But keeping Aranda around after his defense, which gave up just 11 touchdowns in the first 10 games and ranked 14th in the nation in fewest yards allowed before Thursday night’s wild 54-39 victory at Texas A&M, was already a priority for LSU officials.
“He’s happy. … I’m happy,” Orgeron said when asked about Aranda during his introductory news conference Saturday. “Dave and I have a great relationship. I totally expect Dave to be with us. We understand he’s one of the top guys in the country. People are going to come after him.
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“I had a great conversation with him this morning,” Orgeron added. “He hasn’t mentioned anything about that to me. I feel confident Dave is going to be with us.”
Orgeron, who took over on an interim basis when Les Miles was fired Sept. 25, mentioned Aranda and his staff in his opening remarks, saying he planned to take his time and assemble “the best staff in America.”
“We have some great coaches on our staff right now, led by Dave Aranda,” Orgeron said. “He is the best coordinator in football. We plan on him being with us. … We’re happy that Dave is an LSU Tiger — I promise you that.”
With Orgeron expected to be paid significantly less than what Miles was making or what they would have had to commit to Herman, school officials are expected to be able to retain Aranda with a nice raise and perhaps a promotion to assistant head coach to go with his coordinator duties.
LSU defensive line coach Pete Jenkins will remain on Ed Orgeron’s staff in the same capacity…
Orgeron’s five-year deal is expected to be in the $3 million to $4 million range, allowing the Tigers to pay their coordinators at least $1.5 million each per season.
Aranda, whose previous coaching stop was Wisconsin, signed a three-year contract in January that paid him $1.2 million a year. During the search process for a new head coach, Aranda expressed interest in remaining with the program, sources told The Advocate.
When asked whether more of a financial commitment will be made to Aranda, Alleva said, “I think the world of Dave Aranda. … It’s our full intent to keep him here.”
Alleva said he hadn’t spoken with Aranda since deciding to promote Orgeron, but he said he and the new head coach were constantly talking to him.
Alleva said he wasn’t aware that any other university had called to talk about Aranda before noting the school will pay what it takes to bring top assistants to LSU. Presumably that includes keeping Aranda on staff, but other suitors may be lining up soon, considering what his defense did this season.
LSU is sticking with Ed Orgeron, giving the interim football coach his dream job on a perman…
Under Aranda, LSU gave up 16.4 points and 323.0 yards per game — including just 121.8 yards on the ground. Only Ole Miss (21) and Texas A&M (39) scored more than 20 points against the Tigers in their 11 games.
“I think anyone would come after him because he’s the best in the country,” Alleva said. “So when you have a guy like that, you've got to try to keep him, and we’re going to do everything to try to keep him.”