Speculating options for LSU’s new defensive line coach

  • icon
  • icon
  • icon
  • icon

Karl Dunbar

With Jamar Cain’s departure to the NFL, LSU head coach Brian Kelly has to find a new defensive line coach.

An experienced head coach is always ready for such occurences, checking his rolodex for the best candidates that he can find. It’s an attractice job to be sure.

Here are 10 candidates, in no particular order, who I speculate could be on LSU’s radar.

Bo Davis, 52 years old, pulls in $875,000 with the Texas Longhorns as their defensive line coach. Davis played at LSU (1990-’92) and was a grad assistant for the Tigers as well (1995-’97). He knows the lay of the land in Louisiana and across college football. This is his second stint in Austin.

Davis served time coaching the Lions, Jaguars and Dolphins in the NFL. He also coached the defensive line at Alabama and worked on staff for three national champions. The native of Magee, Miss. also coached on LSU running backs coach Frank Wilson’s staff at UTSA. A top recruiter.

Walter Stewart, the defensive line coach at Cincinnati, played for Bearcats (2008-’12) where he started 41 games recording 17.5 sacks. A neck injury his senior year at Cincinnati kept him from getting a chance at the NFL.

The 33-year old who has also coached at Tennessee is an excellent recruiter. Very engaging with his players, Stewart is a high energy coach and instructor. He has a very bright future in coaching.

Karl Dunbar (pictured above) is now 55 years old. The Opelousas, La. native played for Tigers (1986-’89) and then two years in NFL with the Saints. Currently a defensive line coach with the Steelers, he has 17 seasons of NFL coaching experience. Dunbar coached at Alabama (2016-17).

One of the best in the business with a keen eye for talent, Dunbar would be an asset if he decided on a homecoming.With his help, Steelers superstar T.J. Watt was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Tosh Lupoi signed a three-year, $5.1 million deal with Oregon, so this is a very longshot. The 42-year old spent three years in NFL as a defensive line assistant with Jaguars, Browns and Falcons. One of the sharper minds in coaching, he was on the Alabama staff for five years (you may be sensing a trend here).

Marcus West, 39, was co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Charlotte. He has a solid reputation for developing players. West played one season with the Colts and two in CFL. He is currently the Buffalo Bills assistant defensive line coach.

Kelvin Bell interned in NFL for three seasons with four teams. Now the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Iowa, the native of Olive Branch, Miss. signed to play for Hawkeyes in 2000 but a knee injury ended his career the following season. The 2021 Hawkeyes defense forced 30 takeaways with 25 interceptions.

Joe Salave’a, 48, played eight seasons in NFL as nise tackle. The associate head coach, defensive line coach and run game coordinator at Miami now earns $550,000 per season. He was hired by Dan Lanning in 2022.

Rodney Garner, the defensive line coach at Tennessee, has spent 33 years coaching. All his years on the sidelines have come in the SEC, including stints at Georgia and Auburn. He is recognized for developing defensive linemen for the NFL. Garner played nose guard for Auburn (1985-’88). His cousin is Charles Barkley.

Elijah Robinson, 38, earns $875,000 as defensive line coach at Texas A&M. An elite recruiter who has turned down opportunities to coach in the NFL, the Camden, New Jersey native coached at Baylor under Matt Rhule and spent 10 seasons on staff at Penn State.

Mike Elston, 48, is Michigan’s defensive line coach. There is a tie between Elston and Brian Kelly since the former served on staff under Kelly at Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame. Elston is a Michigan grad who began his coaching career in 1997 in Ann Arbor. He has a three-year deal with the Wolverines worth $1.87 million.

  • < PREV Privateers drop rubber game at Lamar, 9-4
  • NEXT > Delgado takes 2-1 walkoff win over Nunez, improves to 3-0 in conference play

Rene Nadeau


Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…

Read more >