Nielsen & Mauti: Saints Camp 8/13/17

Defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen instructs outside linebacker Michael Mauti (56) during Saints training camp in 2017.

LSU remains in the middle of finalizing a complex deal with New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen to make him the Tigers' next defensive coordinator.


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"The deal is not done yet," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said in a Tuesday morning radio interview with WNXX-FM's "Off the Bench," but he confirmed that the athletic department views Nielsen as a "primary candidate" and is pushing toward making the deal happen.

"There are still some things to work out," Orgeron said.

News of the process was first reported by NFL Network's Jane Slater, who reported that Nielsen met with Saints coach Sean Payton and told him of his intention to take the LSU job earlier today. Slater later reported that the Saints may not be signing off on the move over a dispute in Nielsen's contract language that may not support a move to the college level.

Orgeron said Monday evening in a radio with WWL radio that Nielsen is "obviously a prime candidate" for defensive coordinator, and that the athletic department is "in the process" of finding out who they're going to hire and are "very close" to a decision.

The 41-year-old Nielsen has just finished his fourth season as New Orleans' defensive line coach, a job he acquired after spending four seasons at North Carolina State as the Wolfpack's defensive line coach, recruiting coordinator and run game coordinator. Nielsen was named a candidate in 2015 for the Broyles Award, given annually to college football's top assistant coach.

Most notably, Nielsen has a strong connection to Orgeron. Nielsen played for Orgeron as a defensive tackle at Southern Cal from 1998-2001, and he later served as Orgeron's defensive line coach at Ole Miss from 2005-2007.

Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.