LSU defensive line coach Pete Jenkins will remain on Ed Orgeron’s staff in the same capacity, while offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger will move into a different role next year, Orgeron confirmed following his introduction as the Tigers’ full-time head coach Saturday.
Aside from his intention to keep defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, Orgeron has made no other commitments about retaining any other current LSU staff members.
“Those guys are great guys for us,” Orgeron said. “We’re going to evaluate the staff as we go along. I’m happy to have Pete Jenkins. I know he’s going to stay with me another year."
Orgeron wasn’t certain what position Ensminger, who was the tight ends coach before Orgeron became interim head coach four games into this season, would take.
“I think Steve Ensminger is going to be a Tiger with me,” Orgeorn said. “I love him. I spoke to Steve this morning. He’s always going to be with me. He's always going to have a place with me. He knows that.”
Asked about pursing a new recruiting coordinator — a position Orgeron held before his promotion — the coach said he was pleased with the job wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig has done in that role since late September. But Orgeron was adamant all staff members would be evaluated after the bowl game, wanting them to focus on the recruiting season.
LSU has lost just two of its 20 commitments for the 2017 recruiting class since Les Miles was fired.
“We’re going to take our time,” Orgeron added. “We’re going to take our time and bring the best staff that we can in. I don’t see anything happening in the immediate future, but it may.”
Jenkins, the 75-year-old Macon, Georgia, native who Orgeron considers his mentor, filled Orgeron’s role as the Tigers defensive line coach when Orgeron was named interim coach. Jenkins did the same when Orgeron, replacing Lane Kiffin, became the interim coach at Southern California in 2013.
Kiffin, the current offensive coordinator at Alabama who Orgeron worked for at Tennessee, is one of the reported candidates to be the Tigers’ next offensive coordinator.
Jenkins, who has spent more than four decades in coaching, is in his third stint with LSU under his fifth head coach. He worked in Baton Rouge from 1980-1990 under Jerry Stoval, Bill Arsparger and Mike Archer, during which the Tigers won two Southeastern Conference titles. He joined Nick Saban’s LSU staff for 2000 season, and the Tigers claimed another league championship a year later.
Jenkins, who also tutored Aranda, stepped away from coaching from 2000-2006 before joining the Philadelphia Eagles staff for three seasons. He didn’t get back into coaching until he joined Orgeron at USC in 2013.
Under the direction of Aranda and the combined tutelage of Orgeron and Jenkins, LSU’s veteran-laden defense ranks 19th in the country against the run (121.82 yard per game) and is tied for 29th nationally in sacks (28). Defensive end Arden Key ranks eighth in the country and leads the SEC with 10 sacks.
The Tigers’ opponents are scoring touchdowns on only 26.7 percent of trips to red zone, which leads the country.
Ensminger, the Baton Rouge native who is in his seventh year at LSU, helped revitalize a stagnant offense after a 2-2 start. Since Ensminger took over for Cam Cameron, LSU is averaging 475 yards and 32.4 points per game. The offense has been particularly balanced under Ensminger’s direction, averaging 210.5 passing yards and 264.5 rushing yards per game.
LSU recorded the most yards against an SEC opponent in a 42-7 victory against Missouri on Oct. 1. Leonard Fournette set the program’s single-game rushing record against Ole Miss on Oct. 22, and it was then broken by Derrius Guice on Thanksgiving night against Texas A&M.
Guice and quarterback Danny Etling became the first 200-yard rusher and 300-yard passer in the same game in LSU history against the Aggies.
However, the Tigers were shut out against Alabama on Nov. 5 and scored just 10 points in five red zone trips against Florida on Nov. 19.
Graduate assistant Eric Mateos was promoted to tight ends coach when Ensminger became offensive coordinator. Orgeron plans to meet with his staff Sunday morning.
“We’re going to go back in this afternoon and start making decisions,” Orgeron said. “We’re going to make decisions now, and things may happen at the own pace that it needs to happen. It’s an evaluation process.”