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Ex-Nebraska coach Bo Pelini's tenure as LSU's defensive coordinator is over after one season

Nick Bromberg
·2-min read

Bo Pelini will not return for a second season as LSU’s defensive coordinator.

LSU announced Monday night that it had “agreed to mutually part ways” with the former Nebraska head coach. It’s worth wondering how mutual that decision was given how terrible LSU’s defense was during 2020.

Pelini, a former LSU assistant, came back to the school to replace Dave Aranda after Aranda was hired as the head coach at Baylor. While the 2019 national title-winning LSU team lost a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, the regression under Pelini was staggering.

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 24: Bo Pelini of the LSU Tigers reacts against the South Carolina Gamecocks during a game at Tiger Stadium on October 24, 2020 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
LSU's defense allowed more than 40 points in five games in 2020. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

LSU allowed 35 points a game

LSU gave up 35 points per game in Pelini’s only season with the team. And that somehow seems low. The Tigers allowed 44 points to open the season in a loss to Mississippi State and then gave up 45 two weeks later to Missouri. LSU allowed at least 40 points in five of its 10 games in 2020. That average was buoyed by allowing seven points to lowly Vanderbilt.

"While this year has been challenging in many ways, the decision to return to LSU – a place that I love with many wonderful memories – is something that I'm thankful for,” Pelini said in an LSU statement. “However, after meeting with [Ed Orgeron] and discussing the future of the program, we have mutually decided that it's best we part ways," Pelini said. "I wish nothing but success for LSU, Coach O and the players that I thoroughly enjoyed coaching and getting to know this year. I was proud of how hard our team competed down stretch, the way our young guys stepped up and were developing and the overall direction we were headed.”

This was Pelini’s first season at the top level of college football since he was fired at Nebraska after the 2014 season. Pelini was the head coach at Youngstown State for five seasons before coming to LSU.

Pelini was 67-27 in his time at Nebraska from 2008-2014 and his teams went 39-17 in conference play. Those are both winning percentages that Nebraska fans would love to see their team have. Nebraska has won nine games in a season just once since Pelini was fired. That came in 2016 under coach Mike Riley and it’s also the only winning season the Huskers have had in the post-Pelini era.

LSU finished the season after beating Ole Miss on Saturday. The Tigers are not playing in a bowl game because of a self-imposed bowl ban for NCAA violations.

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