I know people who know LSU coach Ed Orgeron.
I’m from Cut Off. I still live there today. He grew up in Larose.
The two towns are about a pitch and a putt away from one another – connected by the same road everyone around here travels and split by Bayou Lafourche.
So I can say what I’m about to say as somewhat of an authority because unlike a lot of college football fans, I’ve known of Coach O long before he was the famous football coach that he is today.
Here goes and hold onto your seat a little, because this is sort-of a hot take: The Ed Orgeron that LSU hired to run its program is a much, much better coach than the guy Ole Miss hired 10 years ago.
Orgeron’s time with the Rebels was a disaster in the win/loss column, though it’s unfair to call the run an all-out failure because he did take an untalented team and supplied it with ample talent – a group his successor won a lot of games with.
But that Orgeron was a little bit looney.
I went back this past week and listened to some of his comments at SEC Media Days when leading the Rebels.
It was weird.
He was not very well-spoken.
Orgeron was brash – even somewhat combative to people who questioned his plan for the program.
He was … in over his head.
And it showed.
The Rebels quickly put him to pasture and he was sent back to the assistant coaching ranks – where he stayed for almost a decade after.
But like any good boxer, Orgeron didn’t just twiddle his thumbs after the Rebels’ job TKO’ed him.
The Ole Miss job made Orgeron a more patient man – quite frankly, a nicer man, too.
He learned that there are only 24 hours in a day, which taught him to delegate.
Orgeron learned that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Instead of shutting out assistant coaches, he learned to invite their input, which often brings fresh, new ideas to the room.
He implemented this new, improved style at USC and the Trojans won – enough that Orgeron should have been given the school’s head-coaching gig after it fired Lane Kiffin.
But it didn’t work out, so he found his way to LSU.
The Tigers didn’t make the same mistake that USC made.
They gave Orgeron a shot and now we’re here in 2017 wondering what will happen in the future.
I’m not here to predict wins or losses.
I think Orgeron will do fine at LSU, but I also know that Tiger fans are among the most illogical in college football, so no matter what he does with the program, there will always be some who are unsatisfied.
But I’m just here to state that 10 years have now passed since Ole Miss hired Coach O and gave him his first shot at being a head coach.
And a lot has changed since then.
The guy LSU has is better than the one Ole Miss had.
This version of Coach O has the same passion for winning, but knows how to channel it in a more productive way.
And that’s good for LSU’s future.