LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron said Monday the Tigers were overjoyed to hear in a hastily-called team meeting late Sunday afternoon that defensive line guru Pete Jenkins would be joining the coaching staff.
While some players were still reeling from the firing of coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Orgeron seemingly perked them up when he announced Jenkins, who served two stints at LSU (2-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) during a 4½ decade career in college and pro coaching, would be his replacement.
“Our team went crazy and I'm sure our LSU fan base went crazy,” Orgeron said of Jenkins, who worked under four Tigers coaches – Jerry Stovall, Bill Arnsparger, Mike Archer and Nick Saban – from 1980-90 and 2000-01.
On Monday, junior defensive tackle Greg Gilmore said he was pleased to know that Jenkins would be coming in to take over for Orgeron while he assumes Miles’ responsibilities. Jenkins has worked with collegiate defensive linemen, including Gilmore, at Traction Center for Sports Performance in Baton Rouge.
Orgeron tweeted a picture of Jenkins meeting with the team for first time Tuesday.
“I know everything about coach Pete,” Gilmore said. “We have worked with him a number of times since coach ‘O’ has been here. I called him a couple of times for help with my technique and he’s kind of overseen my development.
“When I don’t understand a certain technique, I can call him. He puts it in crazy ways to help me visualize playing the technique. There will be no drop-off in (defensive line) coaching when it comes to that aspect.”
From the moment he was asked to take over as interim coach for the LSU football team Sunday …
Even though he is called on to take some snaps as a standup linebacker in defensive coordinator’s Dave Aranda’s 3-4 scheme, sophomore Arden Key will likely be one of the players who’ll benefit from Jenkins’ expertise.
Key already has 6.5 quarterback sacks this season and his 1.63 average per game leads the nation after four weeks. The speedy, 6-foot-6, 240-pounder is the first LSU player to record a sack in each of the Tigers first four games since safety LaRon Landry in 2004.
Key also has racked up the most sacks for an LSU player in the first four games of a season since 1980. The NCAA rarely included sacks in game stats prior to that season.
Though hasn’t physically worked with his new position coach, Key said he has gained further knowledge of playing his position through phone calls with Jenkins, a man Key considers a defensive line “guru.”
While a defensive line coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, Jenkins worked with former NFL defensive end Jevon Kearse, a player Key admires.
“The defense is about to be way better than it once was because we got coach O and his mentor, coach Pete Jenkins, coming in,” Key said. “And then you got coach Aranda. That’s too many brains. The more know, the more power.”
Key’s goal of 20 sacks this season might increase with the addition of Jenkins, he said.
“It might be 30,” Key said.
James Bewers contributed to this report.