LSU hires two of Joe Brady's assistants to run offense as it attempts to get back to 2019 heights

Nick Bromberg
·2 min read

If you can’t get Joe Brady back you might as well hire two of his assistants, right?

LSU said Wednesday that it had hired Carolina Panthers assistants Jake Peetz and DJ Mangas to run the team’s offense. Peetz will be LSU’s new offensive coordinator while Mangas will be the team’s passing game coordinator.

"Both Jake and DJ come highly recommended from one of the premier and innovative offensive coaches in the game in Joe Brady," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said in a statement. "Jake brings 10 years of NFL experience with him to our staff. He spent a season coaching alongside and learning from [Joe Brady] so we couldn't be more excited about Jake joining our staff. His knowledge of football combined with the players we have on our roster will make for a dynamic offense for LSU in 2021.”

Brady was LSU’s passing game coordinator in 2019 as the team’s record-breaking offense led the Tigers to an undefeated season and the national title. Brady, who came to the Tigers after he was an assistant with the New Orleans Saints, was hired as the Panthers’ offensive coordinator ahead of the 2020 season.

Without Brady in Baton Rouge this past season, LSU’s offense took a major step back. It was improbable that LSU’s offense was going to hit the heights it did in 2019 with Heisman winner Joe Burrow, numerous offensive linemen, receiver Justin Jefferson and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the NFL and star wide receiver Ja’marr Chase opting out. But the step back was even bigger than most people expected.

The LSU offense averaged 32 points per game in 2020, 16 points fewer than it did in 2019. Most strikingly, the offense averaged just 5.5 yards per play in 2020 after averaging nearly 8 yards per play in 2020.

That struggle was a big reason why offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger — the Tigers’ coordinator in 2019 too — was moved into an analyst role after the season.

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 28: LSU helmets on the bench prior to the Peach Bowl game between the LSU Tigers and the Oklahoma Sooners on December 28, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LSU went 5-5 in 2020. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Peetz was Carolina’s QB coach

Peetz comes to LSU after working for the Panthers the last two seasons. He was the team’s running backs coach in 2019 and moved to coach quarterbacks in 2020 under head coach Matt Rhule. Before he coached at Carolina, Peetz was an offensive analyst at Alabama for a season after coaching for three seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Mangas spent one season in Carolina. He came to the Panthers with Brady after he served as an offensive analyst during LSU’s title-winning season.

LSU went 5-5 in 2020 and the Tigers are still looking for a new defensive coordinator. Former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini lasted just one season as the LSU defensive coordinator after he replaced Baylor head coach Dave Aranda as the Tigers’ defensive leader.

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