LSU Hires Steve Ensminger As Offensive Coordinator
LSU has hired tight ends coach Steve Ensminger as their next offensive coordinator. The Tigers were under scrutiny this season for the way Matt Canada was calling plays. Ensminger is a former LSU quarterback who played in Death Valley in the late 1970’s under head coach Charles McClendon. The hire comes nearly one week after Canada mutually parted ways with the program.
This hire means a lot for the LSU Football program. Ensminger helped Ed Orgeron get promoted to head coach after the 2016 season. He served as the interim OC for the final eight games that year after Cam Cameron was fired along with Les Miles. He was named the tight ends coach when LSU hired Matt Canada. Reports were swirling earlier this week that Ensminger could be promoted, and some Tiger fans were unhappy with that news. The former Tigers quarterback brings forth a run heavy offense, but expect the Tigers to throw the ball a lot also. The big question surrounding the hire is whether Ensminger can develop Myles Brennan or Lowell Narcisse into mature, complete quarterbacks. The starting job at LSU is expected to be up in the air headed into spring practice.
First Choice, Easy Decision
Hiring Ensminger was a given easy decision for Orgeron and athletic director Joe Alleva. Though Tiger fans vocalize their displeasure with Alleva, he has done things for the football program lately. This news also raises Orgeron’s stock in Baton Rouge, as he was under scrutiny through the season along with Canada. But making this move should ease things, at least for a while.
Ensminger definitely was not a top choice to be the next OC by the fans. But this is exactly what LSU needed. A veteran on the staff, Ensminger will provide a scheme that Matt Canada failed to come through with. With multiple talented running backs on the depth chart, rushing the ball should be no issue next season. But the question will be at quarterback. Brennan and Narcisse both will have a new scheme to learn. If Ensminger can develop both players to utilize them in the offense, Tiger fans will be happy. Brennan is the favorite for the starting role in 2018.
The one scheme that was talked about throughout the 2017 season was using one of these freshman quarterbacks in a red-zone role. That could become the case next season. Narcisse is the better rusher, but Brennan has the better throwing arm and accuracy. If Ensminger wants to succeed with this offense, he needs to use both quarterbacks in quality roles. This is a huge promotion within the program, though. LSU could have hired someone else and waited months to make a decision. Making the quick move could end up a success, or a failure. But many fans despise this hire for the reason that the fan base doesn’t think Ensminger is the right answer.
In 2016 when he was the interim, LSU averaged 41 points in six of their final eight games. They won all six of those games where they scored at least 40 points. The two losses being to Florida and Alabama, where the team only scored a combined 10 points.
Steve Ensminger does have a rough past as an assistant. He was fired from Clemson during a staff-wide home cleaning. At Auburn in 2008, Ensminger was also let go during a staff-wide firing. What he accomplished in 2016 will hopefully transition into his new full-time position as offensive coordinator.