LSU coach Ed Orgeron doesn't often respond to jokes made at the expense of his distinctive gravelly and Cajun-influenced speaking style.
But he does hear it. And he doesn't forget it.
He said as much Sunday morning at his final press conference before his LSU team faces Clemson in the College Football Playoff Championship Game in New Orleans.
"We're proud to be from Louisiana. I just feel at home here. People that made fun of my accent before, I thank them," Orgeron said. "That gave me internal motivation to do better, so I thank them to be motivators of my career."
Ed Orgeron asked about his accent, Cajun heritage. Explains his background, how he learned Cajun French. Thanks the folks who have made fun of him for his accent over the years for handing him the “internal motivation.”#LSU #CFPNationalChampionship pic.twitter.com/m5na5PGgGf— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) January 12, 2020
As he sat across from Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, he explained a bit about his background as a LaRose native with deep Cajun roots.
Orgeron began his college playing career at LSU before transferring to Northwestern State in Natchitoches. He returned to Baton Rouge as a defensive line coach before the 2015 season, taking over as the interim coach the following season before being elevated to the full-time coach the next year.
The moment is nearly here for Ed Orgeron and the LSU Tigers, a moment filled with obstacles that once made it seem like it would never arrive.
"I'm very proud of being Cajun. My grandparents didn't speak English, and my mother and father spoke Cajun French at the table and then when they wanted to talk about me they spoke Cajun French, so I learned Cajun French," Orgeron said. "So I'm excited to be at LSU at home where we're proud of our Cajun heritage."
Swinney, a native of Alabama, knows a bit about that Cajun culture himself. He says he's often asked about the unique nickname he's known by, and if he doesn't want to go into the full explanation -- he leans into the last few letters.
"Sometimes I just didn't want to tell [the story], so I'd say, well, I'm Cajun, D-A-B-E-A-U-X, Dabeaux, and I just go about my business," Swinney said, drawing laughs from the media on-hand. "I kind of feel at home here, too."
And the Clemson coach who has helped vault Clemson into its fourth CFP title game since the system was developed in 2014 has had high praise for the coach of the Tigers from Baton Rouge.
"I think, again, just being genuine in everything that you do, and man, that's what I love about Coach O, and have for a long time, not just since he's been at LSU," Swinney said. "He's one of the most genuine, passionate people that you see in this business, and it resonates with his players. That's why he's been so successful"
LSU and Clemson kick off at 7 p.m. Monday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (ESPN).
If Ed Orgeron was aware of the Italian Stallion's Cold War-era mission to Russia to avenge Apollo Creed, he wasn't interested in discussing it…
Ed Orgeron is always ready to talk football, but the LSU coach's eyes light up when he gets the chance to share his most recent dinner menu.
LAROSE — Tom Guidry pointed out directions from the passenger seat as the car swerved along Bayou Lafourche, passing parked boats and bridges …