The case for Ed Orgeron at LSU is an easy one to make.
He was the perfect hire, a man of the people in south Louisiana, a relatable relative who gets the vibe and the flow of life here, the joie de vivre and the passionate obsession that is LSU football.
Ed Orgeron sped west down Interstate 12 toward Baton Rouge, blaring loud music and shouting …
The case against Ed Orgeron is an easy one to make as well.
He was an outlandish hire for LSU, an emotional choice after the school was shunned/used by Tom Herman’s agent to drive Texas to the bargaining table and jilted by Jimbo Fisher, who may well have come back a year earlier. Ask yourself if Florida State would have probed Orgeron’s interest in its job had Fisher been the one to replace Les Miles, and the answer is no. There is likely no other Power Five conference job that Orgeron could have landed, given the wreckage of his head coaching tenure at Ole Miss a decade ago.
The question of where to come down on Orgeron’s hiring isn’t one with an easy answer.
Change. That has been Ed Orgeron’s watchword since the day he was named LSU's interim head coach 10 months ago.
It’s funny, the situation that LSU traded for by firing Miles and hiring Orgeron after a successful interim stint. In Miles, LSU had a coach that a lot of national voices covering college football couldn’t understand wanting to replace. He is the winningest LSU coach of the Southeastern Conference era with his .770 winning percentage tucked under the high dome of his white hat. But those voices weren’t here on the ground day in and day out during the latter years of the Miles era, when the wins tapered off and the frustration with a stale and stubborn offense mounted.
In Orgeron, LSU has a coach viewed more positively at home than abroad. You could hear the whispers in July at SEC media days. There were a lot of folks who couldn’t understand why LSU would gamble the fortunes of its pride-and-joy program on a coach who went 10-25 at Ole Miss, including a 3-21 SEC record.
Those numbers don’t lie. Orgeron’s twin 6-2 interim stints at Southern California and LSU don’t lie, either. But cold numbers and outside-looking-in viewpoints don’t tell the whole story.
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Though his view of the world was rooted in his Midwestern sensibilities, Miles was a better fit at LSU than many LSU fans would care to admit. And Orgeron is a great fit as well, though in a different way.
If the rest of the world says, "Let’s do things one way," Louisiana wants to do it another way. They come for our Mardi Gras and our Sugar Bowl and our deep sea fishing, but they really don’t understand our accents and our coffee and why we like to actually season our food so we can taste it. If you don’t realize your non-Mardi Gras parades are boring because you don’t throw beads and cups and stuffed animals, you really don’t get this place.
Orgeron does. He’s got Louisiana mud in his veins, a couple of oyster shells in his voice box and a tanned complexion that looks like it was burnished by squinting into 10,000 sunsets on the deck of a shrimp boat at the end of a productive day in the Gulf.
He says he has learned from his mistakes at Ole Miss, the mistakes of trying to micromanage every aspect of the program. He’s more willing to let his coaches coach this time, entrusting the defense (Orgeron’s specialty) to the mainframe computer mind of Dave Aranda and putting faith in the helter skelter approach of new offensive coordinator Matt Canada. You think it doesn’t take some confidence to make a decision like that, to make that big a change in LSU’s offensive philosophy and parade it in front of 100,000 offensive coordinators in the stands?
HOOVER, Ala. — In a navy suit with an LSU pin affixed to his lapel, Louisiana’s tanned and b…
HOOVER, Ala. — The day he left Ole Miss 10 years ago after being fired as the Rebels head co…
It takes confidence to pursue a job as big as LSU's after failing at a place like Ole Miss and be convinced you have the answers to succeed this time. It’s the tantalizing aspect to the Orgeron story, to see if the local boy can make good and one day hold up a championship trophy to the glistening faces of his kinfolk and say — no, bellow — “Look at what I brought you!”
From the Pilgrims to the Acadians to the Irish, to the people who leave everything they know behind in whatever home they come from, this is the land of second chances. Who's to say Orgeron doesn’t deserve his second chance? Who can say it won’t, or shouldn’t, work?
With a job as lucrative as LSU's, you can always find another mercenary to scoop up the riches and prowl Tiger Stadium’s sideline. But unless you’re bringing back Nick Saban or bringing in Urban Meyer, every hire would have brought his own risks.
This time, the job belongs to a guy who, if he wasn’t coaching football, could be working at a plant on the river. He’s no rock star like Saban or Meyer, but an everyman.
Orgeron is so much like so many of us. Flawed, perhaps, but a fighter. He’s got his dream tiger by the tail, and who wouldn’t wish for a chance to make their own dream come true?
Maybe the case for Orgeron's hiring is easier to make after all.