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LSU hires Blake Baker: New Tigers defensive coordinator helped lead Missouri to an 11-2 finish in 2023

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LSU is hiring Missouri’s Blake Baker as its next defensive coordinator, the school announced on Friday. Baker spent the past two seasons at Missouri where he helped orchestrate a significant turnaround for the Tigers defense. Under his watch, Missouri finished 11-2 and knocked off Ohio State 14-3 in the Cotton Bowl to close out the season. It was Ohio State’s lowest point total since a shutout College Football Playoff loss to Clemson in 2016. 

LSU is expected to make Baker the highest-paid assistant in the country, with an annual salary exceeding $2.2 million, Yahoo Sports reports

Missouri ranked No. 4 in the SEC in scoring defense (20.8 PPG) and No. 5 in the conference in total defense (336.1) in 2023. The Tigers were also No 4 nationally in forced fumbles (17) and No. 11 in the country in sacks (39).

“Blake brings a wealth of experience and success as a defensive coordinator throughout his career, including the last two years in the SEC at Missouri,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said in a statement released by the school. “His ability to develop and motivate his players while putting together highly successful defenses sets him apart in his field. I am excited to welcome Blake and his family back to Baton Rouge.”

It’s a bit of a homecoming for Baker, who served as the linebackers coach at LSU during the 2021 season and also. His career has also included stops at Miami and Louisiana Tech.

Baker will be tasked with turning around what was one of the most disappointing units in college football in 2023. The Tigers dismissed a majority of its defensive staff earlier this week — including former defensive coordinator Matt House — as part of massive overhaul. LSU ranked No. 105 in total defense and No. 81 in scoring defense and allowed almost 28 points per game. In three losses this season, LSU allowed just over 47 points.

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