Scooter Hobbs column: Hints to next coach remain state secret

Published 12:00 pm Friday, November 19, 2021

Scott Woodward seems bound and determined to take all the fun and amateur detective work out of this latest LSU football coaching search.

The LSU athletic director plays a different game of due diligence.

Maybe it’s already a done deal — behind closed doors — signed, sealed and overpaid, just waiting on reliable delivery.

Or at the least Woodward might know who it is going to be.

Or who he thinks it might be.

Or — help us here — who he wants it to be.

But, if he does, he’s not saying anything.

That’s probably the prudent move.

When he does know, I’m sure he’ll let everybody else know. Probably throw a big media shindig for the occasion. Fireworks, balloons, the works.

Thus far, however, it’s been … crickets.

And yet no one whose life revolves around Tiger Stadium seems concerned about the chronic lack of leaks.

We are seeing amazing patience in the LSU fandom. They seem to be trusting their athletic director.

What a concept, huh?

Woodward, after all, is the only athletic director who has ever lured coaching heartthrob Jimbo Fisher away from another school to be his own head football coach.

That was during Woodward’s hitch at Texas A&M, of course, and he’s not likely to be able to repeat that stunt now that Jimbo has settled in, recruited well and evidently taken to ranch living in College Station like an Aggie cowpoke.

But we’ve been warned not to put anything past Woodward when it comes to flashy hires.

That’s his speciality.

And it’s hard not keep staring at Fisher’s mega-salary and not notice the lack of a buyout clause for potential suitors.

Probably nothing there.

But Woodward also made waves while at Washington as the guy who finally got red-hot Chris Peterson to leave Boise State for the Huskies.

Now, back home at LSU, he tuned up for this biggest assignment by hitting home runs in women’s basketball (Kim Mulkey) and baseball (Jay Johnson).

So he generally gets his candidate.

But very quietly.

For now, whatever he knows, thinks or desires about his next football coach, it’s all staying within a circle so tight even the internet sleuths can’t penetrate it.

Not that it hasn’t tried.

But the frustration has been enough that even social media has been reduced to outclevering each other with obviously wild and silly “rumors” from “good sources” and “a guy who …”

Nothing of substance — just reminders that things can and often do change from day to day, sometimes hour to hour.

Oh, there has been enough scuttlebutt to set the wheels in motion to get big raises and extensions for most of the head coaches with a winning records this season.

You’re welcome, Mel Tucker, and stay in touch from Michigan State. Woodward doesn’t mind throwing large chunks of money around. You never know.

But on Thursday, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley was the hot flavor of the day for no apparent reason other than he already has a perfectly good job with the Sooners, but is the kind of coach LSU should be going after an Atlanta talk show host speculated about it, apparently in good faith.

Meanwhile, the Lane Kiffins and Dave Arandas and Mario Cristobals will keep popping in and out for occasional cameos while Billy Napier remains less than an hour away at Louisiana-Lafayette.

But Woodward seems to have little interest in tipping his hand … on or off the record.

Apparently you’ll know when he wants you to know.

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at scooter.hobbs@americanpress.com