I wondered about this yesterday, after I saw Bill Connelly’s SP+ preseason rankings. The unadulterated good news for LSU is that Bo Pelini is gone. The defense will be better by default. What about the offense, though? Yes, it underperformed last season. Orgeron’s fix is to do the time warp again.
Ed Orgeron picked up the phone, called Joe Brady and asked for help.
The LSU coach wants to turn back time and replicate the 15-0 season that was powered by a record-breaking offense led by a Heisman Trophy quarterback and wunderkind coach who revamped the passing offense in 2019. That coach was Brady, 30, who worked alongside veteran coordinator Steve Ensminger to rethink the way LSU plays on offense, particularly with elite receivers such as Ja’Marr Chase on the roster.
Brady, now the offensive coordinator with the Carolina Panthers, made a quick recommendation: hire the men who coached under me for one season in the NFL.
Panthers quarterbacks coach Jake Peetz was hired Wednesday as LSU’s offensive coordinator and former LSU analyst DJ Mangas will be the passing game coordinator.
The hires send a clear message: Orgeron wants to party like it’s 2019, and he wants that offense to rumble through the SEC for the foreseeable future.
Just like Brady, neither of these two has much of a track record to rest on.
Peetz, 37, has been a journeyman mostly as an analyst and position coach since starting his career in 2006 at Santa Barbara City College. He has held nine different titles for four different programs, mostly in the NFL, in nine seasons. He served two stints as an analyst at Alabama before serving as the running backs coach and quarterbacks coach in the last two seasons with the Carolina Panthers, respectively. He has never called plays.
Mangas, 30, played alongside Brady at William & Mary and later sat beside him as an analyst in the LSU press box during the 2019 season. He joined Brady at Carolina, where he was Peetz’s assistant.
Mangas has play-calling experience, but his offenses were among the worst on the FCS level in 2017 and 2018, when he was the second-youngest offensive coordinator in college football. The Tribe averaged 15 and 13.6 points per game, ranking 112th and 121st out of 124 teams on the FCS level.
That’s a lot of trust. And it’s not like Orgeron’s going at half measures, either, as LSU plans to go “all spread” this season, whatever that winds up meaning.
The good thing is that there’s plenty of talent to work with. Will Coach O’s gamble pay off — again?