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The Prodigal Son Returns - Between Classes Magazine
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The Prodigal Son Returns

Story by Brandon Gallman

LSU got this one right. After dealing with the up and down years of Les “The Mad Hatter” Miles and the inability to recruit a QB that could simply run the offense efficiently, much less take the program to the same level as its heated rival Alabama, the Tigers needed to make a change. They let Miles go and decided to tab defensive line coach Ed Orgeron as interim head coach and Coach Orgeron made it very clear with the way his team finished the season, that he would not relinquish the role so easily. Turns out he will not be relinquishing the role at all. After some quick flirtation with FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher and the rejection of a contract offer, LSU officials decided Orgeron was the man for the job.

Orgeron led the Tigers to a 5-2 finish and held Alabama’s offense scoreless for 3 quarters. Of course there were up and downs to go with the year. One of the downs being a loss to a Florida team that with all due respect had one of the best defenses in the country but also seemed to have a lame duck offense. As an interim coach trying to prove you deserve the job for good, losing to both Florida and Alabama probably are not helpful. However, it seemed with the support and effort of his players and the overwhelming amount of love and support he has received from the Tiger community it seemed to be a perfect fit. He is, after all, one of them. 

Along with his strong defensive background and stellar recruiting skills, Orgeron is also a native son to the state of Louisiana, making this signing all the more perfect for this program.After being named the coach of the team for the foreseeable future Orgeron himself made statements that should have the LSU faithful giddier than an out of state coed headed down to Mardi Gras’ on someone else’s dime. Orgeron on his offensive plan “We’re going to look at recruiting the best offensive coordinator in football and bring him to LSU. I believe that nowadays, you have to run the spread offense, you have to have a dual-threat QB that can run and throw the ball, but have someone that knows how to run it.” 

Also, elaborating more on the hunt for an offensive coordinator “LSU deserves the best, the best in all coordinator positions, and I plan on doing that. The OC we’re going to bring — we have a few in mind — that can do all that.” LSU has always been known as a defensive stalwart and that’s not changing under Orgeron’s regime but the supporters of LSU should be excited to hear him ready to focus on some much needed changes for this offense. Between the athletes LSU already attracts, the ones Orgeron will likely be able to bring in, a change in offensive philosophy and a defense that will always be a strength of this program his plan to turn the program onto a perennial SEC and National Championship contender may not take very long at all. If one thing is clear though it is that Orgeron plans on taking care of home first before anything else. “The state of Louisiana first. 1-star, any star, I don’t care. We ‘gone get them. If we think they can be an LSU Tiger, and have the skill-set to be a Tiger, we’re going to get first. Obviously, if there’s a person with interest from Northeast or California … LSU has done a tremendous job recruiting. LSU will always be Louisiana first.” 

Orgeron is nothing if not proud to be a Louisiana native and is as proud of his state and community as they are of him “When you work hard with great integrity and around people who love football, my dad said: I don’t care what you do, just be the best at it. I love the people from Louisiana. I know Louisiana is happy today. Everyone is happy, and so am I.” That’s right LSU got this one right and the state of Louisiana is happy about it. 

Things are about to change for this program and it seems they will be good changes. Those changes are going to come fast for this program and if you ask Orgeron, hearing the sounds of that beloved chant “Geaux Tigers!!!” in Death Valley, while celebrating a National Championship, may be coming right along with them.

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