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LSU assistant coaches Ensminger, Johnson retiring

December 23, 2020 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and defensive line coach Bill Johnson are retiring from their regular coaching duties but will remain with the program as analysts.

Those changes to coach Ed Orgeron’s staff were announced Tuesday, a day after LSU said defensive coordinator Bo Pelini was leaving the program.

LSU went 5-5 this season, one season after winning a national title. The defense struggled mightily in some games. But the offense was productive for much of the season despite top Tigers receiver Ja’Marr Chase opting out during fall camp and starting quarterback Myles Brennan playing only three games because of an abdominal injury.

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For most of the season, LSU relied on a pair of freshman quarterbacks and largely inexperienced receivers and tight ends.

The 62-year-old Ensminger played quarterback for LSU in the 1970s and spent two years in the NFL before moving in the early 1980s to a coaching career spent primarily in major college football, including stops at Georgia, Clemson, Texas A&M and Auburn.

He was offensive coordinator for the most successful Tigers team in history — the unbeaten 2019 squad that won a national championship with Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow at quarterback.

His most recent stint with LSU began in 2010 as a tight ends coach under previous coach Les Miles. Orgeron promoted Ensminger to offensive coordinator in 2018.

“Steve gave everything he had to LSU and I will always cherish the time we spent coaching together,” Orgeron said. “From a coaching standpoint, he’s the best. From game-planning to play-calling, Steve was outstanding. He developed our players on the field and he helped mold them into young men off the field.”

In 46 games with Ensminger as offensive coordinator, the Tigers averaged 37.4 points and 474.1 yards per game.

The 65-year-old Johnson joined Orgeron’s staff shortly before the 2019 national championship season. Johnson also was the defensive line coach for the New Orleans Saints in 2009, a season that ended with a Super Bowl title. He also has coached at Miami, Louisiana Tech, Arkansas and Texas A&M at the college level, and in the NFL with Atlanta, Denver and the Los Angeles Rams.

Orgeron said Johnson “stepped in and made an immediate impact with our defensive linemen two years ago.”

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