It’s difficult to summarize the coaching career of Ed Orgeron without using some sort of exasperating cliche. It is, if anything, a tale of rags to riches to rags and now back to riches again.
From working on a shrimp boat after a one year coaching stint at Mcneese State to becoming the head coach at Ole Miss and USC (on an interim basis) Orgeron’s coaching journey has been a series of trials and tribulations. After two-and-a-half years of being on the verge of unemployment once again, Orgeron has coached the LSU Tigers, his home state team and pinnacle of Louisiana sports to an undefeated season, an SEC Championship and a birth in the College Football Playoff.
Fox Sports’ Tim Brando calls his shot on Ed Orgeron over two years ago
After taking over on an interim basis for a fired Les Miles, Orgeron managed to lead LSU to a 6-2 record over the final eight games of the season. While many in Baton Rouge arduously lobbied for LSU administration to make a rousing outside hire, Orgeron was named permanent head coach on November 26, 2016.
“I think he has a chance to be one of the great stories in the history of not just LSU football but college football all together.” Brando said during the interview. “He’s been a workaholic his whole life. More than anything what impresses me is his candid approach to the position now.”
Orgeron has also endeared himself to past LSU legends like Michael Clayton, a member of the 2003 National Championship team and staunch program supporter.
“Coach O has been an LSU fan for so long, he remembers the LSU greats and remembers what we look like.” Clayton explained on a recent Saturday SuprEmaCy podcast interview. “We have a coach that represents LSU, not only for the players he coached, but the players that have been there and done that.”
Laying the groundwork
LSU entered the 2019 season as a team many in the media discussed as a “possible” threat to Alabama’s SEC West monopoly. They turned in a solid 10-3 season in 2018 and returned starting quarterback Joe Borrow, the Ohio State transfer that brought unprecedented attention to the team’s quarterback position.
The genesis of this LSU dream season can be traced back to SEC Media Days this past July in Birmingham, AL. Coach Ed Orgeron and Joe Burrow met with the media and each coyly laid out aspirations of a championship season.
“The experience coming back is the main thing…and there’s some new concepts I’m really excited about.” Burrow said at SEC Media Days. “The whole thing with this offense is getting our playmakers in space with accurate balls and timing.”
Burrow did more than simply get his playmakers in space this season as evidenced by his jaw-dropping numbers. Burrow broke the SEC single-season touchdown record (previously held by Missouri’s Drew Lock) with 48 and added 4,715 passing yards on top of that. On Saturday, Burrow will also add Heisman Trophy winner to his list of accolades, the school’s first since Billy Cannon back in 1959.
Ed Orgeron in his own words
“Joe Burrow changed our program around and gave us stability at the quarterback position. Orgeron explained back in July. “We’re about to see what Joe Burrow’s made of, I think he’s going to have a great year.”
Now, armed with the single biggest recruit of his coaching tenure and a #1 ranking heading into the College Football Playoff, Orgeron will finally have the opportunity to prove his detractors wrong once and for all. His strong words from SEC Media Days still ring true.
“Anyone that knows myself and our team, we’re made of grit.”