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After one stint in Louisiana as a player (2003, 2005-2007) and two as a coach (corners, 2019-2020, defensive coordinator, 2022-2024), Lamar Morgan is reportedly leaving the Ragin’ Cajuns to coach the corners and safeties for Sherrone Moore’s staff on the Michigan Wolverines.

Head coach Michael Desormeaux is looking for a new defensive coordinator for the first time in his stead at Louisiana, and he may not have to look far to find one. Let’s take a look at some defensive coordinator replacements for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

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Louisiana Defensive Coordinator Candidates Following Lamar Morgan’s Exit

Desormeaux took over at the helm in Louisiana after the 2021 season following Billy Napier’s departure to Florida.

A former quarterback for the Ragin’ Cajuns (2004-2008), he was elevated to head coach after six seasons in Lafayette as an assistant, including one season as co-OC and tight ends coach in 2021.

He and Morgan were teammates at Louisiana and were both assistants on staff for the 2019-2020 seasons before Desormeaux hired Morgan away from Vanderbilt following the 2021 season. Louisiana went 12-14 the last two seasons with the two serving as head coach and defensive coordinator.

With Morgan off to Michigan, the offensive-minded Desormeaux is left looking for his defensive accomplice. There will be plenty of suitors for the position for a program that has won four Sun Belt championships (co-champions, 2005, 2013, 2020, and outright, 2021).

Jeff Burris, Louisiana Cornerback Coach

Internal hires for coordinators are common when the previous coach wasn’t fired, so there’s a good chance Desormeaux will make an in-house promotion. The current Louisiana head coach was an internal hire himself, after all.

Jeff Burris, a former first-round NFL Draft pick (1994), has been on staff with Desormeaux since the 2021 season.

He played 10 years in the pros and has been a defensive position coach at the collegiate or pro level since 2011, including stops as a Miami Dolphins assistant defensive backs coach (2013-2015), Notre Dame defensive analyst (2016), and Louisiana Tech corners coach (2018-2020).

The 51-year-old hasn’t been a DC before but has over 20 years of experience playing and coaching at a high level. Not to mention, Louisiana tied for the third most interceptions in the Sun Belt last season (13) and tied for the most pick-sixes (three).

Mike Giuliani, Louisiana Outside Linebackers Coach

Like Burris, Mike Giuliani has been on Desormeaux’s staff for both of his seasons at the helm. They were assistants for former coach Napier from 2019-2021, with Giuliani as inside linebackers coach. He switched to outside linebackers last season.

Also like Burris, he hasn’t been a DC but has collegiate and professional coaching experience. Starting as a video assistant for the New York Giants (2011-2012), he moved on to a defensive assistant role with the New York Jets (2013-2014), before completing the New York pro football trifecta as a linebackers assistant with the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016).

He moved on to college after that as a quality control coach at Arkansas (2017) and a graduate assistant at Louisville (2018) before joining the Ragin’ Cajuns.

While Giuliani and Burris haven’t been DC’s, there could be potential for a co-coordinator tag for both of them here.

Scott Stoker, Louisiana Inside Linebackers Coach

Scott Stoker was just hired to oversee the inside linebackers last month. Still, he brings a wealth of coordinator experience, something that is lacking in the other two internal candidates for DC listed above lack.

He was the DC at McNeese State (2000-2001) before being hired as head coach at Northwestern State. Stoker amassed a 44-37 record and a 2004 Southland Conference in charge of the demons from 2002-2008.

He then took the DC job at Sam Houston State (2009-2012) and UTEP (2013-2015). He even took over as interim DC for ULM in 2020 after coaching the DBs there for four seasons.

Stoker has been at Tarleton State the last two seasons as OLB coach (2022) and safeties coach (2023) before Desormeaux brought him in three weeks ago. He’s the new guy on staff, but he’s been around the block and back in his time. That experience might go a long way if the Ragin’ Cajuns keep it in-office.

Patrick Surtain Sr., Florida State Defensive Backs Coach

If Desormeaux does decide to bring someone in from the outside, adding somebody like Patrick Surtain Sr. would be a splashy acquisition that would pay instant dividends on the recruiting trail.

Surtain is a former All-Pro defensive back for the Miami Dolphins and has been on staff at FSU as a DB coach since last season.

He was the DC (2015) and then head coach (2016-2021) at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida. He jumped to the NFL as defensive back assistant for the Dolphins (2022) before joining FSU.

Surtain has way less collegiate experience than any candidate on this list, but he is a Louisiana native, and his name brings a lot of cache. At the very least, it’s a fun prospect for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Manny Michel, Former DC Nicholls State/ULM

Michel has ties to Louisiana and is a more experienced option, but he hasn’t been on staff since he was a defensive line analyst for Ed Orgeron at LSU in 2020. Orgeron said Michel is a “tremendous recruiter, knows Louisiana in and out” after he hired him.

Before that, Michel was the DC and DL coach at Nicholls State (1995-1998), co-DC and DL coach at ULM (co-DC/DL, 1999-2008, DL, 2016-2017), and the DL coach at McNeese (2009-2015).

There’s a chance Michel is retired after coaching for over 30 years, but the 64-year-old might have one more in him if the Ragin’ Cajuns want an experienced coordinator who knows Louisiana.

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