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Coaches Who Could Fit What LSU is Looking For to Run Football Program

Tucker, Fisher among the early pool of candidates the Tigers could turn to

LSU is now officially in coach search mode and from what we know about the process in Baton Rouge, it's one that will be cast with a long list of potential candidates for Scott Woodward and company.

Woodward is likely to cast a long net with this hire as it's one that will define his legacy at LSU. 

"Everyone is fair game," an industry source told Sports Illustrated. “No coach is too big for his courtship except for Nick Saban or Kirby Smart."

Here are a few names that are already surfacing as potential options as head coaching options:

Mel Tucker (Michigan State)

Tucker is a name that has really come up in the last few weeks as a potential replacement for Orgeron. He has a history at LSU, serving as the team's defensive backs coach in 2000 and is known as a strong recruiter.

There have also been multiple reports, including from The Athletic's Bruce Feldman, that Tucker is regarded "very highly" by many within the LSU administration.

"Mel Tucker was an assistant at LSU on Nick Saban’s staff. He knows the SEC very well also," Feldman said. "But would he make another move? Remember, he was at Colorado, now Michigan State. Would he make another big move in a short period of time? But this I do know: People inside LSU who matter, they are really high on Mel Tucker.”

James Franklin (Penn State)

Franklin is one of the more accomplished coaches on this list whose career at Penn State has been up and down, highlighted by a 11-2 records in 2017 and 2019 that resulted in Fiesta and Cotton bowl wins. He has SEC experience, leading Vanderbilt to one of its best stretches in 2012 and 2013 with back-to-back 9-4 campaigns. 

There's no indication Franklin is looking to move on from Penn State but LSU is one of those jobs with resources that are hard to match. It would be a splashy hire for Woodward and met with praise from the Tigers' fan base. 

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Lane Kiffin (Ole Miss)

A name that needs little introduction, bringing Kiffin to Baton Rouge would continue the string of "one of a kind" personalities to take over the LSU program. An offensive mind who has the Rebels on the brink of their best season in recent memory, Kiffin has a long track record in college, first with USC, then at Alabama as the Crimson Tide's offensive coordinator before earning the FAU job and eventually Ole Miss.

He's one of the brilliant offensive minds in the game but at times can become his own worst enemy. Bringing Kiffin aboard would be a move that at the very least would be extremely entertaining as he's known for having one of the unique personalities in college football.

Joe Brady (Carolina Panthers)

Brady is a long shot to become the next LSU coach as there have been multiple stories about how he prefers the "X's" and "O's" that strictly come with the NFL game as opposed to having to orchestrate recruiting as well. There's also a belief that Brady is primed for an NFL head coaching position sooner than later, particularly with the work he's done with Sam Darnold this season.

He reached superstar status as a coach with that 2019 season with the Tigers but immediately left for the NFL when that opportunity presented itself, despite Orgeron's best efforts to keep him in Baton Rouge. It would be a cool story but it's not happening.

Luke Fickell (Cincinnati)

Fickell is another intriguing name as he's built the Cincinnati program from the ground up and led it to a 6-0 record and No. 2 ranking in the country. Cincinnati boasts a 37-5 record over the last four seasons under Fickell and is primed for a College Football Playoff berth. 

Like Franklin, Fickell would be another one of those splashy hires from Woodward but that USC job looms as well and Fickell could be a prime candidate as it would reunite him with athletic director Mike Bohn, who hired Fickell at Cincinnati.

Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M)

Fisher hasn't reached the level of success with the Aggies that many expected when he took over. But it's impossible not to consider him a potential candidate considering the relationship hew has with Scott Woodward. Of course Fisher is one of those big names, who won a national championship at Florida State and as an offensive coordinator under Nick Saban.

How realistic is Fisher returning to Baton Rouge? It's not totally out of the realm of possibility. He was under strong consideration during that 2017 offseason before ultimately going to Texas A&M and if Woodward really wants him, a change of scenery might be best after an overall disappointing run with the Aggies.