The LSU Tigers reportedly have a shortlist of five head coaching candidates right now.
It’s not a huge sample size yet, but from the looks of things, Ed Orgeron is the change the LSU Tigers needed this season. It’s hard to argue with the results thus far. Orgeron has won his first three games at the helm, all while averaging 41.67 points per game. The Tigers needed an overhaul on offense, and the Larose, Louisiana native has delivered.
Upon the announcement that LSU was naming Orgeron the interim head coach, popular belief was that he would simply be a bridge to the end of the season when the Tigers would be able to bring in a high-profile coach, such as Houston’s Tom Herman. But that narrative is quickly changing with each successive game.
According to Steven Godfrey of SB Nation, who spoke with several sources close to the program, the job is now Orgeron’s to lose. “If, at this moment, LSU were to name its next head coach, Orgeron would be the favorite” Godfrey writes. Considering the vast improvement shown under his watch, it makes sense.
If things begin to trend downward for Orgeron and LSU during the month of November, which, given the Tigers’ schedule, is a possibility (vs. Alabama, at Arkansas, vs. Florida, at Texas A&M), LSU has a shortlist of four other coaches to turn to according to Godfrey’s sources.
In order, the Tigers are eyeing Jimbo Fisher, Tom Herman, Jim Mora and Dana Holgorsen. If none of the aforementioned come to fruition, LSU will look to bring in an up-and-coming offensive-minded coach. It’s clear the Tigers want to reverse the recent fortune of the offense.
Fisher, who has one national and a record of 73-17 at Florida State, and Herman, who is arguably the hottest name after a two-year tear with Houston, have long been considered the leading candidates. Fisher’s name has been tied to the program over the past couple of seasons while LSU contemplated letting Miles go.
But neither are a surefire hire. LSU may be battling programs like Texas for Herman, while it’s hard to imagine Fisher making what would widely be considered a lateral move to the toughest division of football in the nation.
Mora and Holgorsen are interesting choices given that neither has had top success. After his first three seasons, UCLA has begun trending downwards under Mora, who is now 40-21. Meanwhile Holgorsen is just 42-29 overall and has only won more than eight games once in Morgantown. That came during a 10-win season while West Virginia was still in the Big East; since joining the Big 12 the Mountaineers have gone 7-6, 4-8, 7-6, 8-5 and are currently 6-1. Holgorsen entered the season on the hot seat, but has since flipped the narrative. Mora, meanwhile, is the exact opposite, now facing questions after a disappointing season where UCLA was expected to compete for a conference title.
The shortlist, however, could be a moot point if Orgeron continues to deliver just what LSU is looking for – offense and wins. Over the next four weeks we’ll find out if he’ll be the successor to Miles, or if the Tigers enter the end-of-the-year head coaching sweepstakes.