Orgeron finds defensive coordinator, Saints don’t want to give him up

Scooter Hobbs

Ed Orgeron may have made his choice for LSU’s new defensive coordinator.

But there’s a complication.

He apparently has tabbed New Orleans Saints’ defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen for the job, as reported Monday by the NFL Network’s Jane Slater.

But Slater also reported that the Saints are fighting the move based on the language in his NFL contract that would prevent him from getting out of it for a college job.

Orgeron told a New Orleans radio station Monday that Nielsen was a “prime candidate” for the job.

Nielson just finished his fourth season with the Saints, but his ties to Orgeron go way back. The 41-year-old Nielsen played noseguard at Southern Cal from 1998 to 2001 when Orgeron was the Trojans’ defensive line coach and later was Orgeron’s defensive line coach while he was head coach at Ole Miss from 2005-2007.

The Saints’ job was Nielsen’s first after working his way up through the college ranks.

He’d spent the previous four years as North Carolina State’s defensive line coach, where he was a 2015 finalist for the Broyles award as the nation’s top assistant coach.

If an LSU deal is finalized, Nielsen would replace Bo Pelini, who was fired after LSU had its worst statistical defense in history as the centerpiece for a disappointing 5-5 season.

Orgeron, who brought in Pelini to switch to a 4-3 defensive alignment from the 3-4, has said since the season ended that going forward he wanted to be flexible, not married to either scheme.LSU head coach Ed Orgeron want to hire Ryan Nielson as the Tigers next defensive coordinator, but the New Orleans Saints, Nielson currently employer, are willing to give up their defensive line coach.

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