Bradley Dale Peveto back to LSU…is it a good hire?

Multiple sources are reporting that Bradley Dale Peveto, who coached special teams and linebackers from 2005-2007 before a promotion to co-defensive coordinator in 2008, will return to LSU as special teams coach for 2014. Peveto then spent four years as head coach of Northwestern State in Natchitoches. Last season, he was special teams coordinator/safeties coach for Kentucky under Mark Stoops.
Peveto is best remembered at LSU for his disastrous 2008 campaign as Co-DC, but he spent more time at LSU as a special teams coach. His most notable moment as ST coach was the behind-the-head fake field goal toss against South Carolina in 2007, back when Les Miles was carefully curating his "Mad Hatter" persona.
LSU has become accustomed to spectacular special teams of late, so will Peveto's units carry on that mantle? More past the jump.
The special teams in Baton Rouge have not just been good lately, they've been astounding. LSU has had a top 10 special teams unit for the past four years or so, with no sign of slowing down. The impressive part about is that LSU has done this with two separate coaches, which gives hope that Peveto should be able to simply carry the mantle.
But, since Peveto has already been here as ST coach, we have some numbers we can compare against. The infographic below charts the LSU special teams since the time of Peveto's arrival through this past season. While each year there's a bit of up and down depending on the metric, there are some things we can learn from Peveto's last stint in Baton Rouge vs. LSU's last 6 years.
The individual metrics for Peveto are a bit of a mixed bag. His first year, 2005, LSU was spectacular in coverage & effective in punt returns. It gets muddled after that. His 2006 units were poor in coverage and  mediocre in returns, while his 2007 units improved on coverage but got worse returning. What these stats don't show is what Peveto is most known for: his trickery. I've already mentioned the behind-the-head toss from the '07 season, but Peveto has a penchant for creativity when it comes to coverages and fakes.
It's what happened after Peveto left that's remarkable. LSU has had above average cover units (except for extreme outlier 2013 kick return defense) every year since his departure. While it could be that LSU has had superior coaching since then, the Tigers also have had more true athletes on the team in recent years. Chavis' emphasis on athletic, speedy defenders has kept the special teams well stocked with optimal players.
Not only have the Tiger coverage teams improved, but the return game has also improved since Peveto moved on. Most of that can be attributed to whom LSU has had back there in recent years. It reads something like a who's who of LSU football: Trindon Holliday, Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Odell Beckham, Jr. Could it be Peveto was earmarking the wrong players for returns? If so, we might not see the same electrifying returns we've seen in recent years. Sure, guys like Chad Jones had their great moments, but the return guys recently have been stellar.
FootballOutsiders.com's FEI ratings shine a bright light on LSU special teams. They've been top 10 every year since 2008. The metric only goes back to 2007, but Peveto's units grade out only at 36th. That's not bad in and of itself, but when LSU has been so dynamite of late, it's a considerable step back. It's an admittedly small sample for Peveto, as his 2005 unit would likely grade out well, but his only year at Kentucky saw the Wildcats special teams deteriorate from the previous season.
Recruiting is an integral part of any assistant coach's job & Peveto will need to shore up Louisiana recruiting while also working his Texas roots. Information is somewhat sparse on his efforts when he was last in Baton Rouge, but Rivals has him listed as the lead recruiter for Andrew Crutchfield (K, 3*), T-Bob Hebert (OL, 4*), Josh Jasper (K, 3*), John Williams (ATH, 4*), Perry Riley (LB, 3*), Kelvin Sheppard (LB, 3*), Steven Singleton (OL, 3*), and co-recruiter for Al Woods (DT, 5*).
Jasper was the most accurate kicker in LSU history when he left, while Riley, Sheppard, & Woods had successful tenures in Baton Rouge. He won't have to pull in guys like Frank Wilson & Brick Haley do, but he will need to carry his weight on the recruiting trail.
This hire is neither an improvement nor a noticeable downgrade. Peveto's track record blows no one away & his recruiting prowess is good, but not great. While you'd like to see LSU go out and hire some hot name, this is someone Miles is very familiar with and likes. If anything, we'll see more fireworks from the special teams units & maybe new ways to flip a football out of a holder's hand. But, if Peveto can just sustain what LSU has been doing, then nothing else will matter. The Tigers are a fantastic special teams group & Peveto just needs to keep it that way.
Cameron Roberson

About Cameron Roberson

I muse and ramble about LSU sports daily. History buff & creative thinker. Coming at you from the Deep South & the heart of LSU Land, Baton Rouge.