Brian Kelly and LSU continue to build their new look defensive staff. Following the arrival of defensive coordinator Blake Baker, LSU added two assistants to work with the defensive line: Bo Davis and Kevin Peoples.
For Davis, it was a return 20 years in the making as one of the most high profile assistants in the country returns to Baton Rouge.
Peoples comes with Baker after spending the last two years at Missouri together. He’s primarily set to work with pass rushers while Davis will handle the interior.
Here are some things to know about Peoples as he joins the LSU staff.
He has Louisiana ties
LSU has added Missouri defensive line coach Kevin Peoples to its defensive staff according to @PeteThamel
— Glen West (@glenwest21) January 12, 2024
Peoples spent four years as Tulane’s defensive line coach in New Orleans. That makes him familiar with the state, and specifically, one of the most talent dense cities in America.
Knowing how to recruit New Orleans is pivotal for an LSU assistant. And it’s a place that often requires a prior connection. Peoples checks that box.
He’s not a Louisiana native like so many assistants on this staff are, but four years is long enough to gain an understanding and connection with the area.
The addition of Peoples should help Brian Kelly continue his recent in-state recruiting success.
Missouri was eighth in sack rate last year
🏈 WK11 | SEC Football Player of the Week
— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) November 13, 2023
Under Baker and Peoples, Missouri ranked eighth nationally in sack rate last year.
Missouri EDGE Darius Robinson was one of the best pass rushers in the SEC last year, ranking fifth among SEC EDGEs with 41 pressures. Robinson is proof of what Peoples can do as a developer.
Prior to Peoples’ arrival, Robinson had 11 pressures in three years. With People, he racked up 60 in two years.
Missouri pass rushers Johnny Walker Jr. and Nyles Gaddy had solid years too, combining for 46 pressures.
Proven track record at multiple stops
— AYS Sports (@AYSSPORTS) January 12, 2024
With Peoples at Indiana in 2020, the Hooisers the led the Big Ten in sacks. Peoples is a veteran and he’s proven he can develop at multiple stops now.
According to PFF, Indiana’s Micah McFadden has the best pass rush grade in the Big Ten in 2020 while Jerome Johnson was also top 10 in sacks.
It was important for Kelly to get guys that could recruit on defense, but this unit is in dire need of some development too.
Guys like Bradyn Swinson and Sai’Vion Jones could be in for a breakout year in 2024 if Peoples’ track record is any indication.
Peoples and Davis bring stability to the defensive front
I harped on this a little in a Bo Davis column last week, but the point holds even stronger now.
LSU has cycled through defensive line coaches dating back to the Ed Orgeron days. LSU’s had plenty of coaching talent, but just because of staff shake-ups here and there, the position hasn’t had a consistent coach.
Davis and Peoples give LSU a chance to stabilize the defensive front. Having two on-field coaches that can work with the defensive line allows LSU to give certain players the individual coaching attention they need. It also offers insurance if Davis or Peoples were to leave.
LSU should feel good about where this room is at moving forward.