Coach Les Miles, left, congratulates MVP Jeremy Hill after LSU defeated Iowa 21-14 in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day in Tampa, Fla. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, January 09, 2014 12:42 PMLSU running back Jeremy Hill will be back for his junior season, but a new coach will be paving the path up front for the Tigers’ leading rusher.
The school announced Wednesday that popular offensive line coach Greg Studrawa will not return and “will pursue other opportunities.”
Studrawa spent seven seasons at LSU, joining the staff in 2007 for the Bowl Championship Series national title run. He added the role as offensive coordinator for two seasons, 2011-2012, as an emergency fill-in when newly hired Steve Kragthorpe was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Studrawa gave up his coordinator duties this season with the hiring of Cam Cameron and concentrated solely on the line again.
“Studrawa was a big part of our success here,” head coach Les Miles said in a school news release. “We won a lot of games, including the national championship and four straight 10-win seasons.
“We appreciate all that Greg did for this program and wish nothing but success for him and his family in the future.”
Historically Miles has usually waited until after national signing day (Feb. 5 this year) before hiring new assistants.
Studrawa’s departure came a day after Gannett Louisiana first reported that Hill has surprisingly decided to return to school, even though as a third-year sophomore he was eligible for the NFL draft.
Hill, who rushed for 1,401 yards and 16 touchdowns, capped his season with an MVP performance in the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl 21-14 victory over Iowa, when he ran for 216 yards and a pair of scores.
Hill is also reportedly trying to convince junior offensive lineman La’el Collins, a high school teammate of Hill’s at Redemptorist High in Baton Rouge, to stick around for his senior season.
Among LSU underclassmen, only defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson have formally announced their intentions to leave school early for the draft.
But 1,000-yard junior receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham will reportedly announce soon that they will make themselves available for the draft. Guard Trai Turner has joined a Florida-based company that trains athletes to make maximum impressions at the NFL combine.
Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the draft.
LSU Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette said Hill met with head coach Les Miles on Monday and that Miles had met with Turner and Collins on Sunday.
If Hill does indeed stay, LSU’s backfield could be loaded as the nation’s No. 1 recruit, running back Leonard Fournette, has verbally committed to sign with the Tigers, and second-leading rusher Terrence Magee will also be back.
Hill has had off-field issues. He was suspended from the team in April for his part in a fight outside an off-campus bar that was recorded by a cellphone. He was reinstated in August. At the time he was on probation for an incident which occurred while he was in high school. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile after being charged with the more serious offense of oral sexual battery.
LSU to interview Sale
Pete Roussel, of the website CoachingSearch.com, reported Wednesday night that McNeese State offensive line coach Rob Sale will be interviewed as a potential replacement for Studrawa.
Sale has worked at McNeese the past two years. This season he helped turn two former defensive linemen into honorable mention all-Southland Conference players and also tutored SLC Offensive Lineman of the Year Arinze Agada.
Sale spent 2007-11 at Alabama as an offensive video assistant under Nick Saban. Sale played at LSU and is a 2003 graduate of the school.