Ed Orgeron walked into T.J. Ribs on Wednesday night using the front door — far away from that back door Les Miles used to slip through each week.

Yes, Orgeron is serious about this change thing.

“You just got to do things different,” Orgeron said after his hour-long show. “If nothing changes, nothing changes (in the game). I am different. Although I love coach (Les) Miles, I do things different.”

In front of a packed crowd at the restaurant, Orgeron took phone calls, signed helmets and posed for pictures at his first radio show as LSU’s interim coach. He walked in, through that front door, to cheers. The 55-year-old Louisiana native pumped his fist and high-fived purple-and-gold clad fans, using that same energy and enthusiasm he’s been known for.


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He sat in the same seat his predecessor occupied just a week ago, settling next to play-by-play man Chris Blair — a pair of new guys at this weekly event in front of the biggest crowd in years.

The duo sat behind a wooden desk marked with a new insignia: “The Ed Orgeron Show.” It overlooked more than 300 patrons at the popular spot on Acadian Thruway, many of them from his home state and a few, even, with similar Cajun drawls.

“For the first time in the history of LSU football, we have a coach that doesn’t have an accent!” longtime live questioner Kent DeJean said to Orgeron.

“This is the first place,” Orgeron responded in his thick twang, “I've coached where they don't think I have an accent.”

The crowd erupted in laughter. One caller even spoke to the coach in French.

“I feel like being from Louisiana, I represent everybody in the state,” Orgeron said. “I feel the passion, the want-to to have success.”

Orgeron is changing so much at LSU, using a similar method he employed when taking over for the fired Lane Kiffin as the interim coach at USC in 2013. The Trojans finished 6-2 under Orgeron that season, but he did not get the full-time job.


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He’s determined to change that this time around. A caller asked how he could get the job for good.

“Been in this situation before. The best thing I could do is bust my tail to get the team to play at championship level,” Orgeron responded.

One of the things the Larose native is changing: the length of practice. He said LSU practiced Wednesday for 20 plays, as opposed to the usual 80 under Miles.

One of the things he’s not changing: the starting quarterback. Orgeron confirmed what he wouldn’t Monday, that Danny Etling — not Brandon Harris — will start for LSU (2-2, 1-1) at quarterback in the clash against Missouri (2-2, 0-1 Southeastern) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Tiger Stadium.

“He's done some stuff to exemplify that he's a leader on the team,” Orgeron said. “He makes good decisions.”

Orgeron opened up to his homestate peers. They did the same to him.

One caller invited him over for crawfish étouffée.

“I’ll eat it for breakfast,” Orgeron boomed.

He explained his nickname, Bébé. It means “baby,” of course. His father went by the nickname as the youngest of 13 children, and it was passed down to his son.

Orgeron doesn’t work his own Twitter, either, drawing laughter from his Cajun brethren in a packed house.

“I’ve done them before,” said the former Ole Miss head coach. “This is the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen. People are excited I’m from Louisiana representing the Tigers. Now we’ve got to go out and do the job.

“I think people have been waiting for this,” he said, “but all that’s going to go away when I walk into Tiger Stadium. We’ve got to win. I fully understand that.”

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.