January 02, 2013
ATLANTA — LSU got some good news during Saturday’s Chick-fil-A Bowl news conference.
While Monday’s game between LSU and Clemson was the primary topic, perhaps the most significant comments came from LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis when he was asked about being a head coach.
Twice Chavis has seemed like a logical candidate at Tennessee, where he played and was a very successful assistant for 20 years before being fired and joining the Tigers three years ago.
But twice the Volunteers passed on Chavis, most recently to hire former Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones earlier this month.
“My stance has always been the same,” Chavis said. “I want to win. Winning is most important to me, and I want to win at the highest level. I want to coach kids — and I use the word ‘kids.’ I enjoy being around young kids, and I want to be a part of their life and that’s the exciting thing. I can do that as coordinator.”
Chavis said he has passed on NFL opportunities because he wants to continue to coach those kids.
He doubles as LSU’s linebackers coach and said he would choose being a full-time position coach if he could no longer do both.
Of course, there’s no chance head coach Les Miles will ask him to choose between the two, but Chavis’ point was that he enjoys teaching players and helping them develop more than drawing up game plans.
Chavis said being able to win at the highest level as an assistant interests him more than having the title of head coach at a place that can’t compete at the highest level.
If given the opportunity to be a head coach at a program of LSU’s stature, he would, of course, consider it. But anything less is of no interest to Chavis, which is good news for the Tigers.
Chavis’ value is worth noting ahead of Monday’s game. A popular topic of discussion this week is comparing quarterback Tajh Boyd and the Clemson offense with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Aggies offense.
Both offenses are among the country’s elite and are guided by a dual-threat quarterback who’s difficult to simulate in practice.
Manziel gave LSU fits as he directed A&M to a 12-0 second-quarter lead before the Tigers adjusted and corralled Manziel, forced five turnovers and prevailed 24-19.
Chavis credited his players for the turnaround Saturday, but it was his astute changes to LSU’s pass rush and coverage schemes that gave the players the opportunity to turn it around.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Tigers need a similar early feeling-out period Monday before getting a better handle on Boyd and Clemson offense.
Chances are, Chavis will figure something out.
Perhaps someday a program comparable to LSU’s will figure out that Chavis deserves an opportunity to run his own team.
But if they don’t, it seems Chavis can be content staying right where he is for a long time.
And that’s good news for the Tigers.