LSU moved into the next step in its search for a defensive coordinator with at least one candidate.
Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop will interview for the job soon, multiple sources told The Advocate on Tuesday afternoon. Shoop is expected to interview with coach Les Miles after a week of flirtation between the two sides.
LSU’s search for a replacement for John Chavis entered its second week with a host of candidates and possibilities, but Miles has officially interviewed very few coaches.
Shoop will join the list, according to sources close to the LSU search. The talks with Shoop are serious, according to a source close to the coach.
The 48-year-old Shoop just completed his first season as coordinator with the Nittany Lions, following coach James Franklin from Vanderbilt. Penn State’s defense this season ranked second nationally in yards allowed, giving up 278 a game.
Shoop served as defensive coordinator for three seasons at Vanderbilt, helping Franklin and the Commodores win 24 games in 2011-13. Vandy was never outside of the top-25 in total defense those three years.
Shoop, a Pennsylvania native who played receiver at Yale, has stints as defensive coordinator at Yale (1994-96), Villanova (’97), UMass (’06) and William and Mary (’07-10).
The Tigers have no shortage of candidates for a gig that’s getting a host of interest from around the nation. A salary for the new coordinator is expected to be similar to that of Chavis, who made $1.3 million a year, the third-highest of any assistant in the nation. Shoop’s salary at Penn State remains undisclosed, but it’s likely to be much less than $1.3 million a year.
Miles, an offensive-minded coach who rarely dabbles in the defense, is taking time with the search and knows the importance of the hire, sources said. Still, a hire is expected by the weekend.
The recruiting dead period ends Jan. 15, beginning a wild final three weeks leading to National Signing Day on Feb. 4.
Whoever replaces Chavis will be the fourth defensive coordinator at LSU in Miles’ 10 years: Bo Pelini (2005-07), co-defensive coordinators Bradley Dale Peveto and Doug Mallory (2008) and Chavis (’09-14).
Shoop’s name has been linked to the job for the past several days. He’s highly interested in the position, sources told The Advocate over the past week.
So are others, including one on staff.
Haley, 48, has been on LSU’s staff since 2009, the year Chavis started with the program. Haley was a defensive coordinator once: for three years at Baylor in 1999-2001. He could move into the role of coaching linebackers, also. He coached linebackers at Baylor and has been a linebackers coach at three other stops during his coaching career.
Shoop has never worked with any position group outside of defensive backs. Chavis coached linebackers. Corey Raymond is LSU’s defensive backs coach, and Peveto serves as special teams coordinator as well as defensive assistant, assisting with defensive backs in 2014. Peveto has a history of coaching linebackers.
Alabama linebackers coach Kevin Steele continues to be a candidate, too, sources said. Miles met with Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, and possibly others, in Dallas over the weekend, but his candidacy is not serious, a source said.
Stoops was demoted at Oklahoma, the school announced Tuesday. Formerly the sole defensive coordinator, Stoops is now listed as a co-defensive coordinator.
Talks between LSU and former NFL and Pac-12 defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, a popular early name in the search, have cooled, sources said over the weekend. Meanwhile, another early name mentioned, former Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin, is expected to join Michigan’s staff.
Former Ole Miss coach and longtime Southern California defensive line coach Ed Orgeron has not been contacted by LSU about its coordinator opening, but he remains a viable option as a position assistant on the defensive side of the ball.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.