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LSU, defensive coordinator Bo Pelini mutually agree to part ways; Bill Johnson, Bill Busch, Scott Linehan also leaving

LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini
LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini(Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV (custom credit) | WAFB)
Updated: Dec. 21, 2020 at 10:45 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The LSU football program and defensive coordinator Bo Pelini have mutually agreed to part ways after just one season, the university announced Monday, Dec. 21.

Officials said LSU and Pelini agreed to a financial settlement to end Pelini’s employment agreement with the university. As part of the agreement, Pelini will accept a one-time payment in lieu of the liquidated damages detailed in his contract.

“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,” said Pelini. “However, after meeting with Coach O and discussing the future of the program, we have mutually decided that it’s best we part ways. 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.”

“I am grateful to call Coach O, a friend, and I am thankful for the opportunity to come back to LSU, but I have decided to move on in my coaching career. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Coach O, the staff, the players and the entire LSU community. I will be pulling for the Tigers wherever my next stop may be,” Pelini added.

It has also been learned safety coach Bill Busch and defensive line coach Bill Johnson will not return. Busch joined the LSU coaching staff in 2018. He helped to recruit Joe Burrow and others.

LSU safeties coach Bill Busch and defensive line coach Bill Johnson
LSU safeties coach Bill Busch and defensive line coach Bill Johnson(Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV (CUSTOM_CREDIT) | WAFB)

Reports surfaced Monday night that passing game coordinator Scott Linehan is also departing after a single season in Baton Rouge. According to Shea Dixon with 247Sports, sources said Linehan is expected to return to the NFL.

LSU passing game coordinator Scott Linehan
LSU passing game coordinator Scott Linehan(Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV (custom credit) | WAFB)

Pelini was the defensive coordinator who had a hand in the 2007 BCS National Championship. He was brought in to replace Dave Aranda’s 3-4 defense with a 4-3 scheme to provide more pressure on SEC passing games but his defense failed miserably.

The Tigers were ranked No. 124 out of 127 FBS teams, allowing 492 yards per game. They were ranked No. 126 in passing defense, giving up 323 yards per contest. They were tied for No. 98 for allowing 34.9 points per game.

The news came as no surprise after stumbling out of the gate against Mississippi State with blown coverages and huge amounts of yardage allowed and the trend continuing through the final games of the season.

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The real surprise was that head coach Ed Orgeron said in the offseason that the defense would be better than Aranda’s when LSU won the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship.

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