After a good bit of speculation and rumors on this point, Miami Hurricanes DC Blake Baker officially accepted a position as the Linebackers coach with the LSU Tigers on Thursday night. The move was officially announced by LSU.
Hold That Tiger— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) January 29, 2021
Blake Baker is Callin’ Baton Rouge and will serve as the Tigers’ linebackers coach. pic.twitter.com/sEJ32fvGG0
A Louisiana native, Baker returns to his homestate to coach with Ed Orgeron and the Tigers.
A young coach at only 38, Baker has held defensive coordinator jobs at Louisiana Tech and Miami in his career. Baker worked under then succeeded Manny Diaz at LT when Diaz left that job for Mississippi State, and Baker once again teamed with Diaz at Miami when the former DC returned from a 2-week stint at Temple’s coach to take over the Hurricanes.
The pairing between Baker and Miami was really never a great one. Baker’s defenses, though similar in scheme to Diaz’s, never had the same levels of performance as when Diaz was in control of things. Diaz repeatedly had to interject himself into defensive meetings and practices in 2019 “to uphold the standard” as he put it.
In 2020, Diaz mostly left Baker to his own devices, but following a record-setting worst defensive performance in program history against North Carolina — a performance that saw Miami give up a program-worst 778 yards and 554 yards RUSHING to the Tar Heels — Diaz made the announcement following the season that he would return to calling defensive plays. Baker was then slated to stay on as DC and LB coach, but that demotion was writing on the wall that his time here was short.
Shortly after Diaz’s announcement that he was taking defensive playcalling back, rumors started that Ed Orgeron was interested in bringing Baker in to coach LSU’s linebackers. Over the past 2 weeks, those rumors only got louder, the reports more frequent, and, ultimately, Baker elected to leave for a demotion in title, but likely a lateral move in terms of responsibilities, and accepted the LB coach job at LSU today.
At only 38 years old, Baker is a young coach with a long career in front of him. He coordinated some good G5 defenses at Louisiana Tech, and coached DE Jaylon Ferguson into becoming the NCAA’s All-Time Sack Leader. I fully expect Baker to get another DC job and learn from the experience he got here at Miami. Because, sometimes, you learn more from things going wrong than things going right.
With Baker’s departure, Miami is in the market for a 10th assistant coach. The Canes could go a bunch of different ways here; they could bring in a DC/LB coach to call defensive plays, they could bring in a Co-DC/LB coach who won’t call defensive plays (because Manny Diaz will retain that responsibility), or several other options. It will be very interesting, to me, to see which way Diaz goes with the 10th assistant (and ostensibly the DC) job that is now open.
We wish Blake Baker the best as he departs Miami and continues his career at LSU and elsewhere in the future.
We’ll have more on where Miami will look for their 10th on-field assistant coach in the coming days.