Intrigue among the LSU assistants

Even before Fonzie landed in Tuscaloosa this week, there was a lot of speculation that a bunch of LSU assistant coaches might be on the move this off-season.

The Advocate (the Baton Rouge daily, not the national gay newspaper) has a roundup of the latest stayings and goings around campus, and there are some compelling developments today.

A big rumor has been that offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher would jump ship to join Saban at Alabama. He”d also been talking to Florida State about their vacant OC job, but apparently that potential move has been halted. But the real interesting thing is the potential domino effect of Saban”s move that could land Fisher a big-time head coaching gig.

Apparently the Dolphins are considering Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey to fill Saban”s spot, and if that happens the Wreck – and their Athletics Director Dan Radakovich, who used to be an assistant AD at LSU – may tap Fisher for their head coaching job. That would beat the hell out of that UAB job, wouldn”t it Jimbo?

I would have understood Fisher”s move to FSU. Bobby Bowden could retire sometime soon, so getting a coordinator position and having a little patience could pay off. Moving to Alabama to coach for Saban? Other than maybe having more control over the offense that wouldn”t seem like a wise move for Fisher. He”s at worst a couple of years away from a decent head coaching job, and LSU will remain a better place to put up good offensive numbers. If Fisher ends up at Alabama, I think that says something not-great about Leslie.

Defensive coordinator Bo Pelini seems determined to move right to a decent head coaching gig, and apparently he”s under consideration for the Minnesota job. Having gotten serious consideration from Michigan State, it would seem a program like the Gophers would be ready to bring Pelini in.

In the case of Fisher and Pelini, those guys are clearly looking for a head-coach slot or career-building moves that will help them land significant head coaching gigs. And you can”t blame them for that.

One move that troubles me, though, is offensive line coach Stacy Searels” defection to Georgia to become their offensive line coach. A lateral move for a guy without ties to the new school (Searels is from northwest Georgia but played at Auburn) always raises concerns. Sure, maybe the guy always loved UGA – just not enough to go there – but his quote in the Advocate is curious:

“I’m tremendously excited about coming to Georgia and working for coach (Mark) Richt and the rest of the staff,” Searels said according to a Georgia news release. “I’m looking forward to being part of the Georgia football program that has such great tradition and one that I know has a great future.”

What does he mean by “one that I know has a great future”? That seems to say he doesn”t believe his current program has a great future. Maybe he butted heads with Leslie and just threw in that parting jab. But it seems he was not a happy camper for whatever reason.

Feeling better about LSU is strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt, who turned Saban down flat. I don”t know what the training facilities are like at Alabama (I imagine they ain”t bad), but I would bet the money LSU has put into their facilities over the past five years is an appeal to a strength coach. And it”s nice to win at least one small battle with Fonzie.

I think it”s pretty clear that Fisher and Pelini will be gone very soon. Along with the slow bleed of Saban”s recruits to graduation and the NFL, rebuilding the coaching staff (always the price of success) will be one of Leslie”s biggest challenges in the years to come.

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