LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini is leaving the program after one difficult season in which the Tigers allowed six opponents to gain more than 500 yards, a person familiar with the situation said.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Monday because the terms of Pelini’s departure were not final and had not been announced.
Pelini, who was hired after Dave Aranda left the Tigers to become Baylor’s head coach, signed a four-year contract with LSU worth more than $9 million. He would still be owed nearly $7 million under the terms of his contract, but could agree to a buyout for less than that as coaches routinely do when leaving earlier than planned.
Pelini was in his second stint as defensive coordinator at LSU, having served in the same capacity under Les Miles when the Tigers won a national title in the 2007 season. Pelini left LSU to become Nebraska’s head coach in 2008 and was Youngstown State’s head coach for five season before returning to LSU.
This year, he inherited a defense decimated by the 2020 NFL draft and subsequent opt-outs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
LSU was forced to play numerous freshmen and other players with relatively little experience, and coverage busts were frequent, with opposing players running free for big gains.
LSU allowed five opponents to score more than 40 points, starting with a season-opening, 44-34 loss to Mississippi State in which the Bulldogs passed for 623 yards.
LSU allowed 650 total yards in a 55-17 loss to rival Alabama on Dec. 5.
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