Steele, Orgeron formally join forces at LSU
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) LSU coach Les Miles has known all about his two prominent new assistants for years and is eager to see how they work together on defensive strategies and on the recruiting trail.
Miles formally introduced defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron on Wednesday.
Miles said he had his eye on Steele since the latter left Clemson’s staff after the 2011 season. Miles’ first three LSU teams faced Mississippi teams coached by Orgeron from 2005-07.
”I have wanted to hire coach Steele for some time,” Miles said. ”Were it not for his Clemson buyout, he would have been here a while ago. Coach Orgeron’s Ole Miss teams played so hard. He has great enthusiasm for the state of Louisiana. Both will have a great impact on our defense.”
Steele is replacing John Chavis, who had been the Tigers’ defensive coordinator for the past six seasons. Chavis two weeks ago to become the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M. LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley has been reassigned in the athletic department.
Steele and Chavis are friends who grew up in the same part of South Carolina. During the one year Steele did not coach following his departure from Clemson, he spent a lot of time at LSU meeting with Chavis.
”I know the program pretty well,” Steele said, noting that his son was a graduate assistant for Miles for three years. ”This is an amazing opportunity. Without question, LSU football has always been about relentless pursuit, great effort and attacking, dominant football. I hope to keep that rolling.”
Both Steele and Orgeron have been named National Recruiter of the Year from multiple organizations – Steele in 2005 at Florida State and Orgeron in 2004 at Southern California.
”These two guys give us the opportunity to have an excellent recruiting staff, probably the best I have had,” Miles said. ”These guys bring a lot more energy in the room as regards recruiting. These two hires will be met with great enthusiasm. Both guys will go out and represent LSU real well.”
The Tigers are coming off an 8-5 season and finished out of the national rankings for the first time in six seasons.
Steele has been a defensive coordinator twice before – at Alabama in 2007 and at Clemson from 2009-11. Steele was coach Nick Saban’s first defensive coordinator at Alabama. Steele was fired at Clemson by coach Dabo Swinney following the 2012 Orange Bowl, a 70-33 loss to West Virginia.
Steele returned to Saban’s staff as director of player personnel in 2013. Last season, Steele went back to being on-field assistant, coaching inside linebackers. Steele had one head coaching stint with Baylor from 1999-2002, going 9-36.
Steele said he has already ”watched all the tape” of LSU’s defense.
”I am familiar with what the scheme was here,” he said. ”I have to determine what style will give us the best way to influence the offenses in this league.”
Orgeron, a Louisiana native, finally gets to coach at his home state’s flagship university. He was a freshman on the 1979 LSU football team, but transferred to Northwestern State.
”I grew up in south Louisiana watching LSU,” Orgeron said. ”I feel like I’m at home. …I can’t wait to go out there to recruit with that big LSU on my chest.”
Orgeron has been on several major college coaching staffs, including Miami and Southern California, and has worked in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints. Orgeron also was an assistant coach at Tennessee and Syracuse. As head coach at Ole Miss, he went 10-25.
Orgeron’s most recent job was his second stint at Southern California. He was hired by coach Lane Kiffin as the Trojans’ defense line coach and recruiting coordinator in 2010. When Kiffin was fired early in the 2013 season, Orgeron was named interim head coach.
Southern California went 6-2 with Orgeron in charge. However, Steve Sarkisian was hired as the Trojans’ head coach following the 2013 season. Orgeron did not remain at USC and did not coach this past season.
”I became more mature after coaching at Ole Miss,” Orgeron said. ”In those eight weeks (as head coach) at USC, I treated the players like my sons. I am now here at LSU to be a defensive line coach. I am going to bring my enthusiastic, aggressive style. I came here to be part of a great staff.”