For LSU fans, the boos meant a release of pent-up frustration for a team’s continued spiral to mediocrity – too many losses for mediocre underdogs, the dismal failure to recreate that elusive Brady-Burrow magic and a point potential break for the mandate of Ed Orgeron.
The program that put together perhaps the biggest attacking season in college football history two years ago can’t even pull off clichés consistently. And after knocking out the coordinators on both sides of the ball in the offseason, all that’s left is to blame the head coach.
The gap between Alabama and Georgia and the rest of the SEC is widening, and LSU has reverted to the schedule it was all too often before the 2019 Magic Season – offensively dysfunctional, poorly trained and on the verge of collapse. . LSU is 8-7 since winning the national title with losses to unranked Missouri, Mississippi State, Auburn (2020) and UCLA, leaving Orgeron a necessary separate U-turn for keep his job.
“The obvious is the obvious,” said James Carville, a longtime political strategist and former LSU faculty member with deep ties to the state. ” It’s not complicated. I don’t think this is news to anyone.
Around the college sports industry, the LSU job posting has gone from being a possibility to a near inevitability.
LSU is an underdog at No. 16 in Kentucky this weekend, the start of games against four consecutive ranked opponents. After Kentucky, LSU faces No.20 Florida at home, then No.17 Ole Miss and No.1 Alabama.
There are few signs the Tigers can turn the tide, as they rank 128th in rushing attacking, 93rd in passing yards allowed, and have one of the worst offensive lines in the SEC. If Orgeron survives and keeps his job for 2022, it would be the best comeback of a career marked by them.
The boos echoing through Tiger Stadium on Saturday night heralded another sound throughout the sport – the ringing of cash registers. If there’s one thing opening up at LSU means, it’s an economic stimulus for sport. (And a competitor in the job market for USC, because there’s an argument, both are Top 5 jobs.)
LSU athletic director Scott Woodward thinks big and spends big
What is the quality of LSU work? The Miles and Orgeron, the last two coaches, won national titles there. And there aren’t many coaches who respect Miles or Orgeron as strategists or leaders. Great characters? Sure. One chews weed and the other runs across campus without his shirt on. Great personalities, certainly. Few are more fun to make prints.
But when it comes to high-end football coaches, Miles and Orgeron are not in the same sphere as other champion coaches of this generation – Nick Saban, Urban Meyer or Dabo Swinney.
The real star in Baton Rouge has always been the work of LSU itself – the local talent so rich and the fan base so passionate that even Miles and Orgeron were able to overcome their training shortcomings and win at the highest level. .
LSU athletic director Scott Woodward has always been a star hunter.
He hunted down the one star he ever wanted – the LSU AD post – and eventually found it after stints in Washington and Texas A&M. Woodward is a graduate of LSU, is originally from Baton Rouge, and Mark Emmert hired him there almost two decades ago.
Woodward’s distinct reputation as a sporting director is that of a leader who covets the biggest names. If Woodward was a buyer, he dated Hermes. Not the Marshalls. He likes big names, not big prizes.
Woodward’s refined taste transcends his coaching hires. The price doesn’t matter. Experience, victories and lively press conferences are its flavors. If there’s a problem, Woodward won’t hesitate to throw money at it.
And while Woodward has embraced the magic of 2019, there is little sentimentality in Woodward. He did not hire Orgeron. And he won’t hesitate to hire his own coach if LSU’s downfall continues.
In Washington, Woodward drew Chris Petersen from Boise State blue field after many – including USC – tried. At Texas A&M, he brought in his old friend Jimbo Fisher from Florida – more on him later – then Buzz Williams from Virginia Tech.
When Pearl Gatherers balked at Fisher’s gaudy $ 75 million deal, Woodward laughed as he said he paid market value for a national title-winning coach. Expect him to do the same, as Woodward won’t be shopping Wal-Mart for a sexy assistant or a fashionable Newcomer to the Group of Five.
Already at LSU, he hired three-time national title winner Kim Mulkey. Hunting big game is his only hunt.
Potential LSU candidates include James Franklin and Lane Kiffin
Who would Woodward target? The list will be short, as there aren’t many coaches who have the credentials, personality, and coaching skills to handle LSU.
Expect Woodward to go after Fisher, Penn State’s James Franklin, or Ole Miss Lane Kiffin’s head coach. The prevailing idea over former assistant Joe Brady is that he’s going to continue living in the NFL because he’s always loved finding a schematic advantage more than recruiting.
Franklin had a starring turn in the SEC, breathing life into Vanderbilt after a century of bad football. He’ll also be at the top of USC’s wishlist, and there could be hours of calling time on “The Paul Finebaum Show” on what’s a better job.
Woodward’s unbalanced deal in favor of Fisher at Texas A&M sets up a potential exit to Baton Rouge. The original deal had no buyout money for him to go to another job. Texas A&M just extended it on the same terms, with the understanding that, in essence, the Aggies are daring anyone to pay Fisher more than $ 9 million a year. Any dating Fisher would likely break through the $ 10 million barrier, but the good news for Woodward is that another reunion with his old friend Jimbo wouldn’t cost any buyout money because he left him friendly at home. coach from the start.
Kiffin in Baton Rouge would be a fascinating scene for his attack and penchant for popcorn antics. While LSU fans may cringe at some of the tweets and narcissism, they’ve also cringe at a lot of Neanderthal offenses over the past 15 years. Kiffin can bring luggage, but his teams can smack the ball and are fun to watch.
As for Orgeron’s departure, how LSU is positioning itself to save on a nearly $ 17 million buyout may be more interesting than watching the Tigers on the pitch this year. All buyouts in modern varsity athletics are points of negotiation. But LSU will be dealing with a stubborn coach who probably wouldn’t get another chance on a high-end payday. If you think Orgeron will take it easy, remember he left USC as a temp and had a temper tantrum when he didn’t get the full-time job. Orgeron only knows the running of the bulls.
There are other factors surrounding the Orgeron buyout, including being named in a Title IX lawsuit over alleged mismanagement of a rape allegation.
The backdrop to any Orgeron buyout talk is that the LSU administration is also facing its own alleged shortcomings in a series of ugly sexual misconduct cases. There could be high stakes between many flawed factions, none of which would particularly like to be removed.
Maybe things will change for Orgeron. The clichés will arrive in time, the boos will stop and Orgeron will be able to make another comeback. But right now the most audible noise is behind the scenes maneuvering for the opening of one of college football’s best jobs.
Starry work that quickly faded under Orgeron is poised to become the brightest piece of intrigue in an entire industry.