Around this time last year Les Miles was in search of a tight ends coach, nabbing former LSU quarterback Steve Ensminger on Feb. 25.
The late addition pushed back the start of spring practice, but don’t expect that to be the case in this year’s search to fill the void.
On Thursday Miles confirmed that nobody had been hired for the position and that a decision could come beyond the start of spring practice, which is set to begin on March 11.
“We would prefer him for that date, but not necessarily,” he said. “We want to get the right guy. We will take our time with the decision.”
Three names have surfaced in the search.
First came former Miami defensive coordinator John Lovett and Stanford special teams coordinator Brian Polian, then later Corwin Brown, who was recently informed by Bill Belichick that he would not be returning as the New England Patriots safeties coach in 2011.
“The guys we have interviewed have done a great job,” Miles said. “We don’t expect to take a side step in special teams. We expect to be better. That’s the push.”
While he did not get name-specific, Miles said that the candidate would need to have both experience in recruiting and be able to lend his efforts at another position, preferably on the defensive side.
Robinson, who served as the special teams coordinator in Baton Rouge from 2008-11, worked extensively with Brick Haley and the defensive line.
Lovett, the first candidate to interview, coached alongside current LSU offensive line coach Greg Studrawa at Bowling Green from 2005-06. He was the special teams coordinator and a defensive assistant for North Carolina for two seasons before joining Randy Shannon’s staff as the defensive coordinator at Miami. Al Golden, who replaced Shannon this past season, did not retain Lovett.
Polian, who interviewed the day after Lovett, joined on at Stanford after the 2009 season. Polian coached special teams for five seasons at Notre Dame, where Charlie Weiss promoted him to coordinator in 2008. Polian also helped out with defensive backs and later linebackers, and he quickly gained recognition for his efforts on the recruiting trail.
Brown, who coached for one season in New England, is the most recent name to surface. Before his eight years in the NFL he played defensive back for Michigan – while Les Miles was on staff. Like Polian, Brown spent time in South Bend, Ind. He coached under Weiss for three seasons, where he served as defensive coordinator for the Fighting Irish from 2007-08. In 2009 he became co-defensive coordinator. He also had coaching stops with the New York Jets and the University of Virginia.
Miles did not say whether or not any more candidates would be interviewed.