George Yarno put the experience he gained as a 13-year pro football player to good use last season as he established the LSU offensive line as one of the best units around. It took a while, but by the end of the 2001 season, the Tiger offensive line was considered to be one of the most consistent in the Southeastern Conference.
As a group, the LSU offensive allowed 19 sacks for the season, but only four over the final five weeks of the regular season. LSU also held three teams — Tulane, Arkansas and Auburn – without a sack.
Yarno did all of the despite having two first-time starters and one seldom starter as mainstays on the offensive line. True freshman center Ben Wilkerson earned Freshman All-America and Freshman All-SEC honors after starting the final nine games of the year for the Tigers. LSU posted an 8-1 mark with Wilkerson in the starting lineup.
Jason Baggett, who had six career starts prior to the 2001 season, started every game at right tackle and earned Second Team All-SEC honors for his efforts. Stephen Peterman, who spent the 2000 season as a defensive end, started 12 of LSU’s 13 games at left guard for the Tigers.
Rodney Reed, a Second Team Academic All-American and Dwayne Pierce held down the left tackle and right guard positions for the Tigers, while Rob Sale jockeyed between the guard and center positions for LSU.
Yarno came to LSU from Arizona State where he served as the Sun Devils’ offensive line coach during the 2000 season.
Yarno started his collegiate coaching career at his alma mater, Washington State, in 1991 where he served as the offensive line coach and the special teams coach thru the 1995 season. From there he moved to Idaho, serving as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for three years.
In 1998, Yarno moved to the University of Houston where handled the offensive line as well as serving as the assistant head coach for the Cougars for two years.
As a player, Yarno spent 11 seasons in the NFL, which included eight years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1979-83, 85-87). Yarno also played one each year with the Atlanta Falcons (1988), the Houston Oilers (1989) and the Green Bay Packers (1990). He also spent two years with the Denver Gold (1984-85) of the USFL.
At Washington State, Yarno was a four-year letterwinner on the defensive line for the Cougars from 1975 to 1978. He graduated with a criminal justice degree from Washington State in 1978. Yarno and his wife Cindy have three children, Josh (21), Adrianne (20) and George (17).
The Yarno File
Year at LSU: Second (appointed on Jan. 16, 2001)
Birthdate: Aug. 12, 1957
Children: Josh (20), Adrianne (19), and George (16)
High School: Ferris High School (Spokane, Wash.)
Alma Mater: Washington State ’78
1991-95 Washington State (offensive line/special teams)
1995-98 Idaho (offensive coordinator)
1998-99 Houston (assistant head coach/offensive line)
2000 Arizona State (offensive line)
2001 LSU (offensive line)