Miles Talks Coaching Carousel

Prior to LSU's bowl game in 2008, there were major changes to the defensive side of the staff. A season later, the offense welcomes two new coaches: Frank Wilson and Billy Gonzales.

After a five-loss season in 2008 in which the defense looked lost against nearly every offense they faced, LSU got rid of co-defensive coordinators Doug Mallory and Bradley Dale Peveto, as well as line coach Earl Lane.

However, all three former Tiger coaches stayed on staff through the bowl game against Georgia Tech.

This December, after the LSU offense finished 108 out of 120 teams in total offense, the coaching changes happened a little quicker.

Last month, running backs coach Larry Porter accepted the head coach job at Memphis.

Wide receivers coach D.J. McCarthy, who was rumored to be on the way out after three seasons on staff, resigned last week.

Miles moved fast and filled both vacancies, bringing Florida wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Billy Gonzales on board to serve as the Tigers’ wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator.

Gonzales served under Urban Meyer since the 2001 season, and this past year helped the Florida offense rank first in the SEC and 12th nationally in total yards with 442 per game. The Gators averaged 217 yards passing per game.

“Billy has experience in the passing game, and he brings different ideas,” Miles said. “I would like Billy to step in and get going with practice. There is a lot of shared offense there, and he would be on point pretty quickly.”

Miles hopes that Gonzales will help improve upon offensive coordinator Gary Crowton’s passing attack, which finished ranked 99th in the country with an average of 180 yards through the air per game.

“[Gonzales] will add some strategy to things,” Miles said. “They will bounce ideas off each other. I think it will help our offense.”

LSU filled the running backs coaching void with another SEC hire, former Tennessee assistant coach Frank Wilson. A Louisiana native, Wilson has quickly gained a reputation as a strong recruiter in the South.

In a short stay at O.P. Walker High in New Orleans, Wilson resurrected the down-and-out program as head coach from 2000-03, a stretch where his teams won two district titles and played in the Class 4A state title game, losing to a John Curtis team the Chargers had beaten earlier that season.

Wilson was named Class 4A Coach of the Year in 2002 and 11 players from that team received Division I football scholarships, the most in the nation. He then spent a year as New Orleans Public School Athletic Director before taking jobs with Ole Miss, Southern Miss and then Tennessee.

"Frank has been on the road on our behalf already,” Miles said. “His background in this state is enjoyable.

“I think both guys will be great additions to the staff, and I know our players look forward to being coached by them.”

Unfortunately, while Miles hoped that both coaches would be hands on during Monday’s session, the Tigers will have to wait a little longer before either Gonzales or Wilson is able to begin taking part in practices and team meetings.

“You can only have nine [assistant coaches],” Miles said. “The interesting piece is that we can have nine coaching, and one in the perimeter.

“We would like to have coach Porter with the team through bowl season. Obviously, he is recruiting for Memphis and not LSU, so that is an issue.”

Monday afternoon, Gonzales and Wilson were on hand for practice, while Porter remained on the road recruiting for Memphis.

“The two new ones watched practice from the perimeter,” Miles said. “All they did was meet players and watch practice.

“We don’t know the relationship coach Porter will have, or if we will be allowed to use him in bowl practice. That is what we are waiting on, and that is the reason we are a little slow for the coaches to get here. I expect we will have that all ironed out quickly.”


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