The staff shakeup at LSU continues as, the same time the school announced that Bo Pelini will not return as the team’s defensive coordinator, it was reported that passing game coordinator Scott Linehan will also be parting ways with the program. 247Sports reports that Linehan, who like Pelini arrived after the post-national championship exodus, is expected to return to the NFL after less than one year on the LSU offensive staff.
Linehan was hired to replace Joe Brady, who was hired away by the Carolina Panthers as an offensive coordinator after a record-setting season as the Tigers’ passing game coordinator in 2019. Ed Orgeron expressed confidence that Linehan would help “expand” the LSU passing game, enhancing the spread concepts adopted by Brady and current offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger with his experience as an NFL coach and offensive coordinator.
Ultimately, the absence of Brady, Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase and eventually Terrace Marshall as well limited the potential for the Tigers’ passing game to live up to the standard set by the national championship-winning unit in 2019. LSU started the season with Myles Brennan at quarterback, moved on to true freshman TJ Finley because of injury and finished the year with true freshman Max Johnson under center. The midseason opt-outs of Marshall and former five-star tight end Arik Gilbert made it even more difficult for the offense to get settled during a season already filled with disruptions.
LSU did rank fourth in the SEC in passing touchdowns (24) and passing yards per game (312.2), trailing only Florida, Alabama and Ole Miss in those categories. But while there was plenty of production, there was not as much efficiency as the Tigers were right in the middle of the league at No. 7 in team passer rating and next-to-last in the league in completion percentage.
The departures of both Pelini and Linehan indicate an acknowledgement with Orgeron and those within the program that 5-5 was not an acceptable result, regardless of what success might have come in the previous season. Now all eyes turn to LSU and what hires might be made next as the Tigers look to return to SEC title contention in 2021.
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