Everyone on the Bayou has one question on their mind. Who will be the next head coach of the LSU Tigers, and that is a loaded question.

You know the big names being tied to the job. Is it really coming down to Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher or Michigan State’s Mel Tucker? Are there more names involved?

Fisher denied any speculation about the LSU job in his press conference in which he said “I’m not going anywhere.” Tucker is perceived to have an offer in his hands to stay in East Lansing for the foreseeable future. Is it true that neither is looking at LSU or are we getting some misdirection?

We look at what industry experts and insiders are talking about.

Brody Miller of the Athletic

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Miller discussed the biggest name in connection with the LSU job, Jimbo Fisher. He denied any speculation on Monday but as Miller points out, he will continue to be linked to the job due to his ties with the university and Scott Woodward.

Still, this won’t be over in most people’s minds until a new coach is speaking at that LSU introductory news conference. Woodward will likely work his old friend until the very end and keep making him say no. – Miller on Fisher (subscription required)

The other names mentioned by Miller:

  • Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma

  • Matt Campbell, Iowa State

  • Mel Tucker, Michigan State

  • Mark Stoops, Kentucky

  • Matt Rhule, Carolina (NFL)

  • Billy Napier, ULL

The name James Franklin gets tossed around when it comes to the LSU job but it isn’t even on the table according to those behind closed doors. Something the Athletic has repeatedly said as well.

Adam Rittenberg of ESPN

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Rittenberg echoes the thoughts of myself and Miller when it comes to Jimbo Fisher. Texas A&M writers and fans claim that he won’t leave, even Fisher himself has said it.

If Fisher wants to add another national championship to his tally, history says LSU is the move. Texas A&M has spent money for decades with little to show for it. LSU, meanwhile, has won three national titles with three different coaches since 2003 and always has the potential to break through, despite the drama and dysfunction around the program. – Rittenberg on Fisher (subscription required)

Coaches listed as candidates for LSU:

  • Luke Fickell, Cincinnati

  • Mario Cristobal, Oregon

  • Matt Campbell, Iowa State

  • Mel Tucker, Michigan State

  • Dave Aranda, Baylor

  • Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports/The Athletic

Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

On Breaking The Huddle with Joel Klatt, Feldman states that it likely comes down to either Jimbo Fisher or Mel Tucker. If Fisher is indeed out as he states and Tucker looks to sign a long-term deal with the Spartans then it could be back to the drawing board for the LSU Tigers.

Chip Patterson and Tom Fornelli, CBS Sports

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

One name that knows the landscape of LSU is Dave Aranda. He spent time in Baton Rouge under both Les Miles and Ed Orgeron. His defense was one of the catalysts along with Joe Burrow that led them to the 2019 CFP national championship. Look at the job he has done for the Baylor Bears. He completely turned them around from 4-6 to 8-2 and is in contention for the Big 12 Championship. Plus Lincoln Riley is coming to the SEC soon and Aranda has that offense figured out.

“I’ve reached the point where I know we’ve talked about LSU,” Fornelli said. “Obviously James Franklin’s name (comes) up and (we talk) about Mel Tucker. What about Dave Aranda for the LSU job. … This is not only a coach who’s been an excellent defensive coordinators entire career. He’s a coach who showed growth. You don’t see a lot of guys show growth. Honestly, once they get to the top spot, they feel like ‘alright, this is who I am. I got here. Let’s go.’ He saw the problems he had last year with that team.

“He went into the offseason and said, ‘alright, these are our weak spots. This is what I need to fix. This is what I need to address.’ He went out and he did it and now look at Baylor. It’s a legitimate Big 12 title contender in one year because they were bad last year man. That is a quick turnaround. It’s not like he brought in a bunch of crazy transfers and overhauled the roster. He overhauled his approach, he overhauled his coaching staff and it’s paying immediate dividends.”

Patterson added Aranda made adjustments as LSU’s defensive coordinator in 2019 to make the defense elite after an early season slump. He said it is evident Aranda can just adjust on the fly and turn a unit or program around. – 247Sports

New Blood or another retread head coach?

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The book on athletic director Scott Woodward is well documented. He likes the big fish or at least that is what they are saying. Look at his first stop, he hired the hottest coordinator on the market when he brought Steve Sarkisian to the Pacific Northwest. When he left for Southern California, Woodward went to Boise State to get Chris Petersen. Neither fit the mold of “Big Fish.”

At Texas A&M Woodward hired Fisher, who was a big name. Since returning to LSU he has hired Kim Mulkey from Baylor who was a big name in the women’s basketball circle. Then he added Jay Johnson of Arizona, who was viewed as one of the top coaches in college baseball.

Rather than go for the big name, perhaps someone in their own backyard would do well on the job? Billy Napier has worked with Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban. Napier also knows the landscape of recruiting in the state of Louisiana. Maybe not the sexy hire, but maybe some new blood is what they need in Baton Rouge.

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