Sports Opinion: Coach O’s rise and fall at LSU


It is becoming more apparent that the success of the 2019 offense was due to direction from Brady and Ensminger and execution from Burrow, not from the coaching of Ed Orgeron.

Ed Orgeron, who was named Louisiana State University’s head coach four games into the 2016 season after the firing of Les Miles, recently announced that he and the LSU football program have mutually agreed to part ways at the end of the 2021 season. This obviously has implications in not only the grand scheme of LSU football but also has an impact on the landscape of football in general.

When selecting a head coach, one looks for a few characteristics. The prospective hire must be a strong leader that can create a winning culture, must have a brilliant offensive or defensive mind or must be a great team builder who can recruit with the best of them and secure a solid staff to support the program.

While I have not had enough interactions with Orgeron to tell if he is a good leader or not, the teams he has coached seemed to respect him and played hard for the program until this year.

The Tigers had the first-ranked offense in the entirety of college football not even two years ago, so he must be a brilliant offensive mind, right?

The Tigers have suffered tremendously due to the departure of passing game coordinator Joe Brady, who took a job as the offensive coordinator on Matt Rhule’s staff for the Carolina Panthers, and the loss of offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger to retirement.

It is becoming more apparent that the success of the 2019 offense was due to direction from Brady and Ensminger and execution from Burrow, not from the coaching of Orgeron.

Orgeron and his new staff have yet to match the productivity of that hyper-effective championship offense, currently averaging only 30 points per game as opposed to the unreal 48.5 points per game of the 2019 Tigers.

While Orgeron can attempt to encourage his team as the outspoken and energetic leader, his poor play calling, subpar hires and other controversies have made it clear that his time should be coming to an end.

Regardless of the team’s success (or lack thereof) this year, the LSU head coaching job is one of the most appealing destinations in all of football. There are currently many speculated candidates, but the options that make the most sense are Pennsylvania State University’s James Franklin, University of Mississippi’s Lane Kiffin and Michigan State University’s Mel Tucker.

Penn State, despite suffering a soul-crushing loss to Illinois in nine overtimes in their last outing, has been outperforming many people’s expectations for them in recent years largely because of the impact Franklin has had on the program. He is also widely regarded as one of the best recruiters in college football, which has to be a massive plus to LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodard.

Next on the list is Lane Kiffin, current head coach of Ole Miss, former head coach of Florida Atlantic University and coordinator of Alabama, and genius offensive mind. Kiffin is praised by football coaches and fans alike as one of the best play-callers in The National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Ole Miss has greatly benefitted from his direction, and quarterback Matt Corral has looked like a Heisman-level signal-caller under his command.

The final name in consideration is Michigan State’s Mel Tucker. Fox Sports Analyst Joel Klatt recently mentioned Tucker’s ties to the SEC through Nick Saban and Kirby Smart, and Tucker has found massive success as the Spartans’ coach this season.

Whether it’s one of the names mentioned here, or a dark horse hire like University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Billy Napier or Baylor University’s Dave Arranda, LSU’s athletic director Scott Woodard has a lot of careful consideration to do, and many calls to make. This decision could be one that makes or breaks LSU football for the next decade, so it is certainly not a decision to be taken lightly.