The meetings in LSU’s football operations facility Monday were not limited to players only.
LSU athletic director Joe Alleva met with head coach Ed Orgeron and his two coordinators in what Orgeron described as a “very positive” gathering about the program’s “direction,” he said Wednesday on the Southeastern Conference teleconference.
Alleva and Orgeron called the meeting, Orgeron said, and it was triggered, he admitted, by last week’s 24-21 loss to Troy in Tiger Stadium – LSU's first nonconference home loss in 17 years.
The discussions between offensive coordinator Matt Canada, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, Orgeron and Alleva unfolded in Orgeron’s office, and they centered on “accountability,” a source familiar with the discussions told The Advocate. The four left the meeting in agreement on the direction of the program.
“It was a gut-check meeting,” the source said. “It was more that guys need to look each other in the eye and tell each other how it is.”
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Orgeron suggested as much in follow-up questions about the meeting on the SEC teleconference Wednesday.
“I think the reason why Joe wanted to do it and I wanted to do it is because we’re not playing very well,” Orgeron said. “We all know that. We wanted to see what we could correct, and we threw everything out on the table. I thought it was very positive.”
The Trojans delivered an early-season blow to Orgeron’s first full season as coach, hammering the Tigers in a game that Troy, at one point, led 24-7 in front of a one-fifth-full Tiger Stadium.
It resulted in a busy few days at LSU’s football operations building.
First, there was a players-only meeting immediately after the game. Orgeron held a meeting with offensive leaders on Monday, and players in turn held meetings with teammates.
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The gatherings, in part, seemed to center on LSU’s offense. Players said the Tigers played a different offense in the first half against Troy, one more similar to the scheme Steve Ensminger used last year as the interim coordinator. They switched back to Canada’s offense in the second half.
Orgeron acknowledged earlier this week that he made changes to Canada’s scheme, but he announced the offensive coordinator now has full control. Center Will Clapp on Tuesday said Canada delivered offensive players a message Monday: “We’re going to get back to us,” he told them.
The meeting between Alleva, Orgeron and the coordinators happened after the coach's afternoon news conference with reporters Monday, resulting in the offensive players meetings and others.
“Laid out everything on the table," the coach said of the meeting. "What direction we’re going to go, how can we fix it. It’s been a very positive week. Joe and I meet all of the time. We said, ‘Let’s bring in the coordinators,’ both he and I. ‘Let’s talk to them, see what’s going on.’
“We feel like we have two very good coordinators. He wanted to know what was going on, what we could do better. We all got on the same page. Very positive.”
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Afterward, the coach held his meeting with team leaders, picking a player or two from each position group and allowing them "to voice their opinion on what was going on and things we can fix," Orgeron said Wednesday.
"I let them voice their opinions in my office, and then I had them talk to the team and they voiced their opinions," he said. "When times are like this, you've got to throw it all out on the table and you've got to be honest. We've all got to look at ourselves. It was a very positive meeting. We'll see. Sometimes those things work, sometimes they don't."