Earl Lane enters his third season with LSU in 2008, serving as the Tigers defensive line coach. Lane joined the Tiger coaching staff in the spring of 2006 following a 10-year career at South Florida.
The 2007 season proved to be one of the best ever for LSU in terms of defensive line play as Glenn Dorsey won numerous awards, including the Lombardi, Outland, Nagurski and Lott Awards. Dorsey was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, while also making numerous All-America teams on his way to becoming the most decorated defender in school history.
The 2007 season also saw the return of Kirston Pittman to the lineup after he had missed the two previous seasons with injuries. Pittman stepped right in and made an immediate impact on his return to the lineup, recording 68 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 14 quarterback hurries.
As a unit, LSU’s defense ranked No. 3 in the nation in total defense, allowing 288.8 yards per game. The Tiger defensive line contributed by combining for 23.5 sacks and 44 tackles for loss. Following the 2007 season, Dorsey was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, marking the fifth consecutive season the Tigers had a player drafted in the first round.
In his first year with the Tigers in 2006, Lane helped continue the recent trend that has seen LSU put together one of the best defensive lines in all of college football. Under Lane’s watch, the Tigers had one player picked in the NFL Draft (Chase Pittman ? 7th round Cleveland Browns), one player earn first-team All-America honors (Glenn Dorsey), another player be named a first-team Freshman All-American (Ricky Jean-Francois) and a fourth defensive lineman named second-team All-SEC (Tyson Jackson).
Dorsey was also a first-team All-SEC selection, while Jean-Francois earned freshman all-league honors. LSU accomplished all of this on the defensive line in 2006 despite having three starters from its 2005 defensive front selected in the NFL Draft.
With only one returning starter on its defensive front in 2006, the Tigers didn’t appear to miss a beat as LSU ranked No. 3 in the nation in total defense (242.8 yards per game) and No. 4 in scoring defense (12.6 points per game).
LSU’s defensive front combined for 26 sacks as the Tigers led the SEC and ranked sixth in the nation in total sacks with 40. Tyson Jackson led all Tigers with 8.5 sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss, while Dorsey had 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. Dorsey and Jackson were both tabbed as preseason All-America selections heading into the 2007 season with several publications calling Dorsey the best defensive player in college football.
Prior to joining the Tigers in the spring of 2006, Lane helped build a South Florida football program from scratch. Lane was part of the first coaching staff, being hired in 1996 by Jim Leavitt. Lane spent all 10 years with the Bulls under Leavitt. During his tenure, South Florida began play in 1997 in the I-AA ranks, moved up to Division I-A in 2001 and earned the school’s first bowl bid during the 2005 season as a member of the Big East Conference.
Lane coached a defensive line that helped the Bulls rank among the top five in the nation in sacks in 2001 and 2002. In 2002, South Florida’s defensive line accounted for 33 of the team’s 45 sacks, while a year earlier they had 31.5 of the squad’s 41 sacks.
In 2005, the Bulls ranked No. 14 in the nation in scoring defense and were No. 18 in rushing defense on their way to reaching a bowl game for the first time in school history. USF lost to N.C. State, 14-0, in the Meineke Car Care Bowl to cap the 2005 season.
Lane is also known as a tremendous recruiter, something that is beneficial for the Tigers, especially in the state of Florida. Prior to his coaching stint at South Florida, Lane coached linebackers for one year (1993) at Bloomingdale High School, followed by two years (1994-95) as the defensive coordinator at Brandon High School in Florida.
Other coaching stops for Lane include: defensive coordinator at Tampa Catholic High School in 1980-81; defensive line coach at Tampa Chamberlain High School in 1982-83; defensive line coach at Tampa Gaither High School in 194-85; and defensive coordinator at Tampa Bay Vo-Tech in 1991-92.
Lane is a graduate of Northwood University in Midland, Mich., and H.B. Plant High School in Tampa. He and his wife Sharon have two sons, James and Sharrick, who is in his third year as a defensive lineman for the Louisiana-Lafayette football team.
The Lane File
Birthdate: April, 23, 1956
Hometown: Tampa, Fla.
Children: James (24), Sharrick (19)
High School: H.B. Plant High School
College: Northwood University (Mich.)
1980-81 Tampa Catholic High School (defensive coordinator)
1982-83 Tampa Chamberlain High School (defensive line)
1984-85 Tampa Gaither High School (defensive line)
1991-92 Tampa Bay Vo-Tech (defensive coordinator)
1993 Bloomingdale High School (linebackers)
1994 Brandon High School (defensive coordinator)
1996-2005 South Florida (defensive line)
2006- LSU (defensive line)
As a Coach
2005 Meineke Car Care Bowl (South Florida lost to Maryland, 14-0)
2007 Sugar Bowl (LSU def. Notre Dame, 41-14)
2008 BCS National Championship Game (LSU def. Ohio State, 38-24)