LSU DC search taking on NFL flavor

Could LSU raid the NFL to fill its defensive coordinator opening? Several professional assistants have reportedly been connected to the job in recent days

As the LSU defensive coordinator search approaches its third week, it’s starting to take on a professional flavor.

At least five coaches currently in the NFL have reportedly been connected to the LSU opening. Les Miles has proven he likes to dip into the pro waters to pull assistant coaches, with guys like Cam Cameron, Adam Henry and Brick Haley coming to LSU with NFL experience.

Now it’s looking possible that another NFL guy is added to this staff as defensive coordinator.

Multiple reports indicated that Miles spent part of the weekend in Chicago interviewing potential candidates. The Advocate followed that up Monday with two assistants from the Chicago Bears’ staff that are potentially in the running.

Mel Tucker was the Bears’ defensive coordinator for the past two seasons. He’s been an NFL DC with four different teams since 2008 after entering the league as a DB coach for the Cleveland Browns in 2005. Tucker has been in Baton Rouge before, serving as Nick Saban’s defensive backs coach in 2000. He left after one season though and spent the next three at Ohio State before jumping to the NFL.

The other Bears assistant connected to the LSU gig is Jon Hoke. He’s been the DB coach in Chicago since 2009, holding that same position for the Houston Texans from 2002-08. Before that he was in the collegiate game though, serving as the Florida defensive coordinator from 1999-2001.

Both Tucker and Hoke will be looking for new jobs after the Bears decided to fire head coach Marc Trestman following a disappointing season.

On Tuesday, connected another NFL assistant to the LSU opening. Matt Eberflus has been the Dallas Cowboys LB coach since 2011 after spending 2001-08 as the defensive coordinator at Missouri.

An interesting connection between the three names mentioned above is that all are Ohio natives, as is Les Miles. It’s been something that’s popped up with several candidates mentioned thus far, and may add to some sort of comfort level for Miles.

The NFL speculation really picked up last week when Mike Detillier went on ESPN Radio and said he’d heard LSU was targeting a coach still in the NFL Playoffs. While that could have also included Eberflus at the time, another name that popped up to fit that criterion was Ron Zook. He’s currently serving as an assistant special teams coach for the Green Bay Packers after spending the previous two years out of coaching.

Zook was the head coach at Florida and Illinois until he was fired from the latter following the 2011 season. added one more NFL assistant to the mix this week in former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. He was let go Monday as part of a house cleaning in Denver, but Del Rio is expected to stay in the NFL and will likely be the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

Now not all recent speculation has the Tigers targeting NFL guys. The Advocate reported Monday that Alabama defensive coordinator has been contacted by LSU. Smart’s already one of the highest paid defensive coordinators in college football, but ESPN Radio’s Charles Hanagriff reported there is interest from Smart.

It’s believed that Smart wants to escape from the shadow of Saban and prove himself at a place where he’s the man in sole charge of the defense. He has head coaching aspirations, and he’s seen what getting away from Saban has done for guys like Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain. Fans have started pining for Smart, and he certainly seems the ideal college candidate if the Tigers don’t end up raiding the NFL for its DC opening.

Premium members can stay up to date on all the latest reports and rumblings regarding the LSU DC search by heading to the TSD Message Board at the link below.

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