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LSU interim head coach Ed Orgeron fires up the LSU fans as the LSU football team walks down Victory Hill before the game Saturday Nov. 19, 2016, at Tiger Stadium.


Take the word “interim” off Ed Orgeron’s title, tear it up into little pieces and cast it on the November wind, preferably a wind blowing toward Tuscaloosa.

He’s LSU’s permanent coach now, a uniquely Louisiana man for a unique place.

There are a lot of smiling faces at LSU today as Orgeron is officially introduced. Orgeron and his family of course. His players, who took to his infectious, energetic style and had a lot of success in these last seven games, with a couple of clunky failures thrown in. And on the faces of a lot of LSU fans, for whom Orgeron fits the “us against the world” mentality that serves LSU best, the perennial underdog trying to take down the smart guys and the big money.

LSU targeted Houston coach Tom Herman first and thought it had him, at least until Texas sat down at the poker table. Texas was by most accounts Herman’s dream job. What would LSU have had to pay a coach who is long on potential but short on experience to get him to come to Baton Rouge instead of Austin? Seven, eight million a year for seven or eight years? It doesn’t compute. And it may not have worked even then.

By comparison, LSU got a coach for what will be in today’s landscape a bargain price ($3-4 million per year), betting that the skill and moxie he showed as interim coach will convert into something lasting and even more successful. To do that, Orgeron has to start by keeping highly regarded defensive coordinator Dave Aranda (he apparently will) and bringing in a high-powered offensive coordinator.


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Orgeron has targeted Alabama’s Lane Kiffin for that job, his friend and former boss at Southern California and Tennessee, the man Orgeron replaced at USC as interim coach when Kiffin was fired early in the 2013 season.

Getting Kiffin will be Orgeron’s biggest campaign promise. It will be the first big test of his administration, bigger even than winning whatever bowl game LSU winds up playing in late December or early January.

If Orgeron can do it, it would give LSU a staff that includes arguably the college game’s best defensive coordinator and its best play caller with a head coach who ranks among the very best recruiters in the college game.

Like our nation’s just completed presidential election, there are some for whom Orgeron’s hiring will not satisfy. Those who wanted a big name like Herman or Jimbo Fisher (or Jon Gruden, I suppose). Those fans won’t be satisfied unless Orgeron can win big, bigger even than the man, Les Miles, who LSU just fired.

It’s a tall order, maybe an impossible task. But it’s worth remembering that Orgeron was handed an almost impossible task in this seven-game “audition” and however it happened, he got the job done and got the job.

Coach O, LSU’s coach, once and for all.

Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.​