LSU football has entered a new year and coach Ed Orgeron has five vacancies to fill on his coaching staff, including a new offensive and defensive coordinator.
Oftentimes these coaching searches heat up after the majority of the NCAA's bowls have completed, and, since teams also seek out coaches in the professional ranks, once the NFL regular season has finished as well.
These hires may be the most important of Orgeron's five-year tenure in Baton Rouge so far. The football program had a disappointing season following its 2019 national championship, although the Tigers salvaged a 5-5 record with thrilling wins over Florida and Ole Miss in the final two games.
LSU will return its entire starting defensive line next season.
After the season concluded, LSU parted ways with defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and passing game coordinator Scott Linehan — coaches who had just completed only their first seasons after Orgeron hired them earlier that year.
Orgeron will be looking to make the right hires this offseason, while also finding a new offensive coordinator to replace Steve Ensminger, who voluntarily retired from on-field coaching to become an analyst on staff.
Defensive line coach Bill Johnson also retired to become an analyst, and, along with the departure of safeties coach Bill Busch, with whom LSU parted ways, Orgeron will also have to fill two assistant spots on the defensive side. Here, Orgeron can be flexible and use the spots for different kinds of coaches, such as a linebackers coach.
LSU linebacker Jabril Cox has officially declared he will enter the NFL draft.
No coaching hires have yet been made, but there are plenty of reports circulating about potential interest, meetings and interviews.
Cincinnati defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman is expected to interview with LSU for the same job later this week, according to WLWT-Cincinnati. He's reportedly garnered interest from several schools and may also have interest in being a head coach.
The 34-year-old Freeman is a former Ohio State linebacker who retired from the NFL due to a medical condition after one season, then began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater. He's led Cincinnati's defense since 2017, and, this year, he was a finalist for the Broyles Award for nation's top assistant coach.
On the offensive side, Orgeron is reportedly pursuing two coaches who work under Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady, who helped engineer LSU's record-setting offense as passing game coordinator in 2019.
This week, LSU is meeting with Carolina quarterback coach Jake Peetz and offensive assistant DJ Mangas, according to Yahoo Sports. Peetz is reportedly targeted as the offensive coordinator, Mangas as passing game coordinator.
LSU's top pass rusher on the defensive line will return for another season.
The 37-year-old Peetz has spent seven seasons as an assistant in the NFL, four in the NCAA, most of which were spent as a quarterbacks coach. He's twice been an offensive analyst at Alabama, and, after spending the 2018 season with the Crimson Tide, he joined the Panthers initially as a running backs coach before moving again to quarterbacks this season.
Mangas spent one season as an offensive analyst with LSU in 2019, joining the Tigers staff after serving two seasons as the offensive coordinator at William & Mary. He played wide receiver for the Tribe from 2008-11, where he was teammates with Brady, who played from 2009-12.
LSU punter Zach Von Rosenberg has announced that he will enter the NFL draft, ending a decorated career that lasted five seasons in Baton Rouge.