Report: Frontrunner for LSU DC job now expected to stay with Saints
UPDATE: ESPN now reports Ryan Nielsen will stay with Saints rather than come to LSU this season. The team is reportedly giving him a new three-year contract and the title of assistant head coach.
The #Saints are giving Nielsen a new 3-year contract and the title of assistant head coach, a source tells @MikeTriplett. Dan Campbell previously held the AHC title before taking the #Lions job. While Nielsen may become a college HC some day, his career path seems set in NFL now. https://t.co/GyVgTHSUqH— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) January 19, 2021
See our previous story below.
LSU has worked quickly to find it's next defensive coordinator, going after and landing Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen according to reports from a couple of NFL reporters.
Both Jane Slater and Mike Tripplett reported via twitter that Nielsen told Saints head coach Sean Payton of his intentions of coming to Baton Rouge to take over the college position.
Nielsen played for LSU head coach Ed Orgeron at Southern California and coached alongside Orgeron at Ole Miss.
LSU is looking for a change of direction following a miserable performance while under former defensive coordinator Bo Pelini.
Below is the official bio on Nielsen from the Saints website:
Ryan Nielsen is in his fourth season as New Orleans' defensive line coach in 2020. He has a history of developing players on the professional and college levels and brings abundant experience to the position. Since 2017, six different defensive linemen have produced multi-sack games and the New Orleans defense has gone the last 43 regular season and postseason games without allowing a 100-yard rusher.
In 2019, New Orleans ranked third in the NFL with 51 sacks with 38.5 of them coming from the defensive line. New Orleans also ranked fourth in the NFL in opponent yards rushing per game (91.3). Defensive end Cameron Jordan was again instrumental in the defense's success as he tallied a career-high 15.5 sacks, ranked third in the NFL and collected one more in the postseason. Jordan was selected to the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive season, as an Associated Press second-team All-Pro for the second straight campaign and NFC Defensive Player of the Week after a dominating performance with four sacks to tie the team record as the team also tied the club single-game record with nine takedowns. Second-year defensive end Marcus Davenport finished second on the team with six sacks and defensive end Trey Hendrickson added a career-high 4.5 takedowns.
In 2018, Nielsen tutored a front four that contributed to the Saints finishing tied for fifth in the NFL with 49 sacks and ranking second in the league in opponent rushing yards per game (80.2) and opponent yards per rush (3.6). Jordan enjoyed an outstanding season with 12 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins enjoyed a breakthrough season with a career-high eight sacks, the most by a Saints interior defender since 2001. Davenport was a PFWA All-Rookie selection with 4.5 sacks, Defensive tackle David Onyemata had a career-high 4.5 takedowns and Defensive end Alex Okafor chipped in four sacks and a fumble recovery.
In 2017, under Nielsen's supervision, Jordan became the first Saints defensive end to be named an AP first-team All-Pro. Jordan's elite season highlighted by a career-high 13 sacks, earned him numerous individual accomplishments, including his third Pro Bowl nod, his first NFC Defensive Player of the Week (Week Six) and NFC Defensive Player of the Month (November) honors.
From 2013-2016, he was the defensive line/recruiting coordinator/run game coordinator at North Carolina State. The 2016 season saw the Wolfpack rank eighth in the FBS in rush defense and lead the ACC, allowing just 108.6 rushing yards per game — the school's best mark since 2004. Junior defensive end Bradley Chubb recorded 22 tackles for loss, fourth in the country, while his 11 sacks were fourth in the ACC and 19th in the nation. He was named second-team All-ACC. A Broyles Award candidate in 2015/2016, given annually to college football's top assistant coach, Nielsen earned this recognition tutoring a Wolfpack defensive line that was part of a defense that ranked 29th in the FBS in opponent net yards per game. Defensive end Mike Rose was a second-team All-ACC selection after he finished second in the ACC in sacks and ninth in tackles for loss. In the 2018 NFL Draft, four linemen who Nielsen coached in Raleigh; Chubb, B.J. Hill, Justin Jones and Kentavius Street, were all selected.
Nielsen coached at Northern Illinois from 2011-12, including a 2012 season where he was the co-defensive coordinator/defensive line/recruiting coordinator and helped the Huskies to the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl. Two defensive lineman were first-team All-MAC selections in 2012, Sean Progar and Alan Baxter, while Nabal Jefferson was a National Scholar-Athlete and finalist for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy. In 2011, Nielsen coached Progar and Ron Newcomb to All-Mid American Conference honors.
Serving as the defensive line/special teams coach at Tennessee-Martin in 2010, the Skyhawks led the Ohio Valley Conference in total defense. From 2008-09, Nielsen was the defensive coordinator and coached the defensive line and linebackers at Central Connecticut State. In 2009, Central Connecticut won the Northeastern Conference title. Nielsen served as the defensive line coach at the University of Mississippi from 2005-07 under current LSU Head Coach and former Saints assistant Ed Orgeron, following one season at the University of Idaho, where he coached two freshman All-Americans. Rebels defensive linemen led the Southeastern Conference in sacks twice during his three-year stint. Nielsen got his start in coaching as a volunteer assistant at his alma mater, the University of Southern California in 2002.
Nielsen, a Simi Valley, Calif. native who started 30 games at defensive tackle at USC from 1998-2001, finished his college career with 107 career tackles and was voted the team's Defensive Lineman of the Year in 1999. He graduated with a degree in public policy in 2002 and went to training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles. He played for the Arena Football League's Los Angeles Avengers in 2004.
PLAYING CAREER: Southern California, 1997-2001; Los Angeles Avengers (Arena Football League), 2004.
COACHING CAREER: Southern California, 2002, Idaho, 2004; Mississippi, 2005-07; Central Connecticut State, 2008-09; Tennessee-Martin, 2010; Northern Illinois, 2011-12; North Carolina State, 2013-16; New Orleans Saints, 2017-.