Possible LSU Defensive Coordinator Candidates

Here's a look at possible candidates to replace John Chavis as LSU's defensive coordinator

Now that LSU has an opening at defensive coordinator, Les Miles will be launching a search for John Chavis’ replacement.

Here are five names that would make sense to fill the opening:

Kevin Steele – Alabama Linebackers Coach

Steele is one of two coaches early reports have connected to the opening. Currently the linebackers coach at Alabama, he rejoined the Crimson Tide coaching staff in 2013 as the director of player personnel. His coaching career started in 1980 as a grad assistant at his alma mater, Tennessee. His most recent sting as a defensive coordinator came from 2009-12, when he held that position at Clemson. He was fired after Clemson saw a decline of a unit that finished 2010 at No. 13 in the nation but surrendered 70 points to West Virginia in the 2011 Orange Bowl, his final game with the Tigers. His time in Alabama though as rejuvenated his career, and he’s been recruiting a similar footprint for the Crimson Tide.

Ed Orgeron – Not Currently Coaching

Orgeron has been the other name reportedly under early consideration for the job. He spent this past season outside college football after taking over for Lane Kiffin as the interim head coach at USC in 2013. He was not retained though, and has since been waiting for a new opportunity. The Larose native has reportedly been itching to get back to Louisiana though, and a job with the flagship university would likely be enticing. Orgeron has never been a defensive coordinator though, and his coaching experience has been mostly been with the defensive line. Orgeron’s an ace recruiter though and would be the guy that can attract big-time talent to Baton Rouge.

Brent Venables – Clemson Defensive Coordinator

Venables is one of the hotter defensive coaches on the market right now after leading Clemson to a No. 1 ranking in yards allowed per game. He’s considered one of the top defensive minds, but he’ll be tough to take from Clemson. According to details released regarding his contract, Venables would be obligated to pay Clemson the total annual amount of supplemental income multiplied by the remaining years on his contract plus 25 percent of his base salary should he accept a lateral coaching position elsewhere. His next move will likely be as a head coach, but he’ll be one the fans will want to see in consideration.

D.J. Durkin – Former Florida Defensive Coordinator

Durkin’s another popular defensive coordinator on the marker right now, but he might not be for long. Durkin’s expected to join Jim Harbaugh’s staff as the defensive coordinator at Michigan. That deal’s been discussed for the last couple weeks, so it’s probably too late in the game for LSU to make a run. But if there’s still an opening, LSU would be wise to consider him. He coached linebackers during his five years at Florida and consistently kept the Gators near the top of the nation in defensive rankings. He would be familiar with the SEC footprint in recruiting, though he’s likely heading to the B1G.

Gene Chizik – Not Currently Coaching

Chizik’s most recent coaching stint may have left a sour taste, but don’t forget what he did as a defensive coordinator. Back in 2004 as the DC at Auburn, Chavis had the nation’s best defense on a team that went undefeated but missed out on a shot at the national title. He earned the Broyles Award that season, then became a head coach a few seasons later. Chizik spent the 2014 season in the studio for the SEC Network but is itching to get back in the coaching profession. He’ll likely want to be a head coach again one day, but the defensive coordinator spot at LSU would be a good way to get his name back on the national landscape.

Clancy Pendergast - Former USC Defensive Coordinator

Reports Wednesday afternoon indicated that LSU has reached out to Pendergast to gauge his interest in replacing Chavis. Pendergast took the 2014 season off after spending 2013 as Lane Kiffin's defensive coordinator at USC. If LSU wanted to dump into a well of NFL experience, Pendergast would be a strong candidate. He spent 1995-2004 in the NFL with several teams, six of those seasons as a defensive coordinator. LSU has had success in the past targeting former NFL assistants, and maybe the Tigers would strike gold again with a guy like Pendergast. Plus, Miles has some familiarity with Pendergast as they were both on the Dallas Cowboys' staff from 1998-2000.

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