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LSU coach Ed Orgeron holds a press conference in the Lawton Room in Tiger Stadium on team reporting day, Aug. 4, 2018.

LSU coach Ed Orgeron gave statistical glimpses into what went on during Saturday’s scrimmage inside Tiger Stadium.

Freshman tailback Chris Curry had eight carries for 35 yards. Linebacker Michael Divinity had one of his best scrimmages. Quarterbacks Myles Brennan and Joe Burrow (for what it is worth, Orgeron mentioned them in that order) each threw an interception. Burrow also threw a touchdown, which we assume was caught by Terrace Marshall.

The interceptions were not the extent of the day’s turnovers. Orgeron himself fumbled a great chance to make a great statement in the wake of junior wide receiver Drake Davis’ arrest for multiple counts of second-degree battery against his former girlfriend.

In a preseason scarred by the arrest of linebacker Tyler Taylor for his alleged role in a pawn shop burglary in Georgia and offensive lineman Ed Ingram’s suspension for violating unspecified rules (Orgeron for the first time Saturday described that as a legal issue but might have misspoken), Davis’ situation potentially could be the most serious.

It could also be the most fluid, as Davis’ attorney, Marci Blaize, told The Advocate. Davis' accuser said she is retracting the allegations.

Whether the case goes away or the investigation continues even after the victim has changed her story (district attorney Hillar Moore confirmed that it is), Orgeron missed a chance to take a strong stance regarding domestic violence when he met with media Saturday afternoon.

I asked him how he tries to educate his players about how to treat women. The response was a mixed message:

“Do the right thing,” Orgeron said. “It’s always about doing the right thing. It’s always about protecting the team. I think our administration does a great job of educating our guys the dos and don’ts. We’ve brought in several speakers. We’ve had several seminars for our football team throughout the year.”

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I do believe Orgeron wants to reach his players as people. Back on July 9, Orgeron brought in sports radio personality Rachel Baribeau to talk to his team in the same Lawton Room where he spoke to reporters Saturday.

Baribeau, who shares her story of herself having once the victim of domestic violence (she describes herself as a “victor,” and good for her), speaks to teams across the country about how to treat others and how to see themselves beyond the person in the uniform and helmet and cleats. She talks to players about being “kings” and finding their “queen,” and treating women as such.

“This is going to help us as a team,” Orgeron says in a video before Baribeau speaks. “This is going to help us grow as men. It’s going to benefit us all.”

Baribeau said Saturday night that Orgeron invited her to LSU last summer, but her schedule did not allow her to come to LSU until this year. Baribeau stressed that Orgeron was "incredibly engaged in my talk" and even stayed around after all the players left to offer encouragement to her about her life experiences. She asked players to protect one another — and in doing so, protect the team — with their actions.

That was likely the subtext for Orgeron's "protect the team" comment.

Did Davis get the message? I cannot tell you what is in his heart.

Still, Orgeron's “protect the team” comment was, at the least, a poor choice of words. Especially in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal and the ongoing investigation at Ohio State into whether coach Urban Meyer knowingly sheltered a serial spouse abuser, Zach Smith, on his staff.

We ask a great deal of our public figures these days to be all things and say all the right things. And anyone who says they have never said something they wish they had taken back is someone who is telling a lie right there.

But Orgeron had an opportunity, for whatever it was worth, to forcefully denounce domestic violence as despicable and intolerable, regardless of how the Davis case turns out. He could have said as much without having to go near “ongoing legal matter” territory.

He could have painted himself as the anti-Urban Meyer. Instead, the memorable sound bite is “protect the team,” which has a win-at-all-costs sound to it. Which is unfortunate, because it's just as easy to condemn what he said (or did not say) as it is to point to ways he has tried to tell his players about doing the right thing.

Orgeron said Saturday’s scrimmage brings the camp part of LSU’s preseason practice to a close. This week, the Tigers begin their two-week preparation for their Sept. 2 season opener against Miami.

It is a camp Coach O likely wants to see in the rearview mirror, given the arrests, suspensions and transfers (quarterbacks Lowell Narcisse and Justin McMillan), plus the denial of cornerback Kristian Fulton’s NCAA drug test tampering appeal to boot.

Maybe, though, this week can be a fresh start, with a renewed focus on football — and even more important, a reaffirmed commitment to making a stand against domestic violence.


Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.​