Sometimes in sports you miss on the first pitch. Sometimes you foul off the second one, too. LSU did just that in its attempt to replace Bo Pelini, but after trailing 0-2, LSU hopes it hits a home run with Daronte Jones.
There is no hiding the fact that when LSU introduced Daronte Jones Tuesday, it wasn't introducing its top candidate. After missing on Cincinnati defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, who went to LSU, and Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen, who stayed with New Orleans, for now, Ed Orgeron landed Jones. Former DC Dave Aranda recommended his former colleague; the two worked together at Wisconsin.
Jones comes with a long resume bouncing around football. While he's primarily served as a defensive backs coach at both the collegiate and NFL ranks, Jones did have a very successful stink as a Division II coordinator early in his career.
While Jones is a Maryland native, his coaching resume was essentially berthed in Louisiana. After serving as a graduate assistant at Lenoir-Rhyne, he was hired to coach safeties at Nichols before working at both Franklin and Jeanerette High schools.
"To me, Louisiana is important to me because that's where I grew into my coaching personality," he told reporters Tuesday. "You're still trying to find your own. Being in Louisiana, the mentors I was around, Coach Zeb Simon at Jeanerette High School, Darryl Daye and Jay Thomas, they gave me the confidence to be who you are. Don't try to be anyone else because they players are going to see through if you're genuine or not. Giving a coach that confidence at an early age, early in his career was the world to me."
Tuesday, Jones preached playing with a tough, "violent" mindset. He said LSU will continue building in its 4-3 scheme, something that was important to head coach Ed Orgeron when he hired Bo Pelini last winter, and something that was likely important this time, too. But Jones also said the scheme was less of a concern to him, as prioritizing players.
"We want to put our guys in the best position to make plays. We want to minimize error, make sure we're over-communicating, have an attacking-style defense where we can dictate the terms and play fast," he said. "These guys are here for their athletic ability. We're going to give them some techniques and fundamentals, and we're going to harp on that. We're going to be very detailed in that."
Jones spent 2020 with the Minnesota Vikings as the team's defensive backs coach.
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