Ed Orgeron remembers his first college football game vividly.
It was Sept. 6, 1980 and Northwestern State was playing Abilene Christian at home.
Orgeron hadn't been in Natchitoches long. He'd redshirted at LSU in 1979, where he said he only stayed two weeks, and he enrolled at Northwestern State in the spring of 1980.
By fall camp, Orgeron became the starting defensive end as a redshirt freshman.
And guess what offense Abilene Christian ran?
The triple option. The same concepts No. 6 LSU will face in its season-opener against Georgia Southern nearly 40 years later.
"I was nervous as heck," Orgeron said Wednesday morning, during the Southeastern Conference's weekly teleconference. "But, I mean, I couldn't tell nobody. But hey, you know, you're a rookie and all the guys took care of me. And I started as a freshman, which was kind of cool. And I just wanted to play hard, and I did."
Northwestern State beat Abilene Christian 31-10, and Orgeron had specific instructions on the defensive line on how to attack the triple option: When the offensive tackle releases inside, I want you to hit the fullback all night.
"That was my job," Orgeron said. "I had a good game. I hit the fullback pretty hard all night, caused some fumbles."
The Demons went 8-3 in 1980 under former head coach A.L. Williams, and Orgeron became a four-year starter on the defensive line.
And, just to show how small the world is, Orgeron's defensive line coach at Northwestern State was Bill Johnson, the man Orgeron hired this preseason to coach LSU's defensive line when Dennis Johnson suffered offseason knee injuries that restricted him to a wheelchair.
LSU starts the 2019 season against Georgia Southern at Tiger Stadium on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Other notes from the SEC teleconference:
- Orgeron said true freshman linebacker Donte Starks is still finishing a course that he must complete before he is academically eligible to join the team. "He hasn't finished that course yet," Orgeron said, "and I don't have any updates."
- Orgeron said true freshman safety Marcel Brooks, who was missing at practice Tuesday, will "be fine" and will participate in Saturday's game against Georgia Southern.
- LSU's defense will have to change alignments frequently against Georgia Southern's gun option attack, which uses multiple formations. "There's going to be a lot of adjusting with our defensive backs," Orgeron said. "We work very hard on it. Most of all, the front stays the same, and the (defensive backs) make the adjustment."
- Safeties coach Bill Busch is moving down from the press box to the sideline this season, and Orgeron said the move should help with overall communication. The focus is on "substitutions," Orgeron said. "Getting guys in. Having two signal callers. More or less an organizational procedure. Coach Bill Johnson is going to be on the sideline, but he just got in here. He’s just learning all our defensive stuff. Obviously he’s a phenomenal coach. He’s helped us a bunch on technique. We want Bill there to facilitate the ins and outs of the sideline procedure."