LSU is hiring Orgeron as permanent head coach. I give it two years

LSU coach Ed Orgeron celebrates with players after an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

“Me, me! Pick me as head coach!” (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

LSU is hiring Ed Orgeron as its permanent head coach — “permanent” in this case being until it takes LSU it has made an egregious error, which will probably mean 48 hours. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is a terrible move. This is the sort of move that makes every other program in the SEC West believe it has a real chance to finish no worse than second in 2017.

I understand that Orgeron was a fallback. I understand that Tom Herman, as you figured he would, regards Texas as the better job. But Orgeron should not be the second choice of a program of LSU’s caliber. (Correction: Former caliber.) Orgeron is not a head coach.

He had a chance at Ole Miss, which fired David Cutcliffe to make room for Coach O. An 0-fer was very close to how Orgeron fared in SEC play: He won three of 24 league games, at which point he was fired. He took over as interim coach for Lane Kiffin at USC — Kiffin is another who’s demonstrably not a head coach — and did well enough that the Trojans thought about keeping him around. They chose otherwise. Good move.

(Bad move: Hiring Steve Sarkisian instead. But it’s worth noting that when Sarkisian was himself dumped in midseason, that year’s interim coach — Clay Helton — did get the nod of Troy. Today USC is among the better-looking teams in the land.)

Orgeron can recruit. That’s great. Les Miles’ issues had nothing to do with recruiting. His teams simply forgot how to play offense. You’ll note that Orgeron’s LSU rang up 10 whole points against Florida — even Georgia matched that total — leading to the realization that the “O” in Orgeron didn’t stand for “offense.”

And LSU is hiring him anyway. Maybe he’ll bring his old pal Kiffin to Baton Rouge, in which case Kiffin will have positioned himself to become the interim replacement for the man who was once his interim replacement. Which would be weird. But no weirder than LSU doing this.

LSU is a top 10 job. Even if Jimbo Fisher balked at something — and I have to believe the only way LSU would hire Orgeron is if Jimbo balked — there were better options. Call Bob Stoops and see what he says. Call Larry Fedora. (And I’m not a big Fedora guy, given that he just lost to Duke and N.C. State.) Call Mike MacIntrye. Call P.J. Fleck. Call somebody who has actually had a winning season as a titular head coach.

Dial up anyone but “O.” He’s not a head coach. He’s the guy you tap — and then discard — after you’ve fired your head coach. Which LSU will again soon.

Oh, and one thing more: This only compounds — a hundredfold — the mistake LSU made last November. It had decided to fire Miles. It allowed itself to be swayed by public sentiment. Miles didn’t make it throughSeptember. Had LSU done the deed a year ago, it might have wound up with Fisher or Herman. It would never have been stuck with Orgeron.

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20 comments
Brandomonisha
Brandomonisha

I don't find Bradley's analysis ugly. Nor am I unsympathetic with Dawgs who take issue with the LSU blog on Tech rivalry day; and to the Dawgs, I fear that LSU will be in your shoes at the end of next season: having fired a Richt for a Smart, with a disappointing season to show for the cause of improvement.

In 2012, a Univ of Col and Chicago Loyola study found that, for successful schools (winning over.50), coach changes as a way of winning more are statistically, historically as bum as they are good. To quote an online report:

“Our findings have important practical implications for the high-stakes environment that is contemporary college football,” the authors write. “When a college football team’s performance is disappointing, the first and often only remedy administrators, fans and sports writers turn to is firing the coach. This is usually an expensive approach to solving the problem.”

“Despite the fanfare that often accompanies the hiring of a new coach, our research demonstrates that at least with respect to on-field performance, coach replacement can be expected to be, at best, a break-even antidote.”

Maybe next year, Smart will be smarter for UGA. But LSU needs to get rid of AD Alleva if things are to get better.

Joe in Co
Joe in Co

Mark, this is an uncharacteristicly mean-spirited piece from you. Previous commenters have noted that your argument is based heavily on the man's record 10 years ago. I find that troubling thinking for a couple of reasons, but mainly because it suggests that a man can't grow from his experiences. Maybe the AjC was your first writing job, and you've never made a mistake you regretted in the cold reckoning of time. But I'm guessing you had moments in your career when you looked back and realized how far you'd come as a writer over the preceding decade. I've been grateful for those moments in my career and I'm thankful for an employer who realized I wasn't the same professional at 35 that I was at 25. Good on LSU for giving the man a chance to prove his expertise now matches his passion.

DawgNole
DawgNole

The state's two major universities in their season finale--and you blog about LSU???

What a disgrace this paper has become.

dawg4u
dawg4u

@MaybeMaybeNot @DawgNole I believe you are correct that UGA has more talent than GT but they had more "fire in the belly" than we had today!

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

@DawgNole It has become such the norm and even expected that UGA collapses and can't put away and inferior team that it is not even worthwhile to comment on anymore.  


UGA loses to a Ga Tech team with much, much less talent at home.......yawn.  

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

You can't spell CKOKES without CKS. What a freaking Joke!!!!!Hey Bradley start the damn clock on Smart and his Idiot OC Chaney!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Buschleaguer

I liked "CKOKES" better.

But I feel your pain, Busch. How do you blow a 13-pt lead late after scoring 20 straight?! At home!

Brandomonisha
Brandomonisha

As a Tiger, agreed that Orgeron is a mistake on these counts:

1. Ed lost the number of games that got Miles fired (a move that ridiculously cost $13 million and robbed a great coach of the respect his body of work demands of loyal fans).

2. He ended the season worse than last season, which put LSU's winningest coach ever on the hotseat

3. He lost high profile games at home in BR, where the team historically plays its best.

4. He got goose-egged by Bama, which never happened in the regular season with Miles; it did happen at the championship which began the losing streak that cost Miles his job.

5. Whatever is thought Ed and his old school retreads have brought to play calling, the offense utterly self destructed against Florida.

6. All of the improvements and consistency defensive genius Aranda has brought fell apart against A&M, casting unwelcome doubt on cohesive game planning under Ed

7. Realize what can be attributed to the historically lousy head coach: despite some impressive stats racked up, the bald truth is that LSU tumbled out of rankings under Ed. The upjumped recruiter Coach Cajun Fries did this with a sterling stable of talent courtesy of Miles/Cameron. What more can be expected of him?

blogaboutyourdoginstead
blogaboutyourdoginstead

So, the only reasoning you give in discrediting Orgeron is his record at Ole Miss, three jobs and 10 years ago? How exactly does 6-2 at USC & 5-2 at LSU escape you? That's a 11-4 head coaching record in 3 more games than a full college football season, installing a different offense 4 games into a season at LSU, and setting a school record for yds gained against a SEC opponent. Posting over 400yds of offense in every game except Alabama, and eclipsing 600yds three times. At two of the nation's elite programs that were trending the other direction. Not bad oversight.


Miles was no X's & O's genius on either side of the ball (that's what his coordinators are for). He obviously also wasn't a very adept manager. Bill Belichick posted a sub .500 record as the head coach at Cleveland for four years (36-44).  A record he now is 6 Super Bowl Appearances, 4 Super Bowl victories, 194-70 W/L  removed from. 

LSU has the defensive staff in place. They have the recruits, the facilities, the history and money. All they have needed is the offensive X & O guy, and should they pull Kiffin from Tuscaloosa they have tangible reasons to be optimistic about the future.  

Mulk
Mulk

Haven't heard,  but does this mean that both Herman and Jimbo turned down the LSU job? You would have thought that LSU would have gone out and hired an offensive minded coach. Anybody can recruit at LSU, Fla, and UGAG and out athlete 8 teams on their schedule every year. The problem becomes when they are faced with similar talent and they have to actually coach. 


Don't know why they keep going the conservative route. LSU settled. But, who would want to work for Aleva amidst all that politics over there.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Right on about "O". He is not a head coach but a great cheerleader. He's far too emotional to be a consistent winner. He's a "Rah" "Rah" coach that can pump up his players for a big game, but the air goes out of those players and the next game they are flat and vulnerable. Players will love him but adrenaline only lasts for so long. Consistent winners are the coaches that lead with a level head and keep their players trained and fine tuned on a day to day level. Orgeron will upset better teams and lose to some team he should easily beat. Today's 20 year olds are pretty smart and they know when coach is lying about Agnes Scott being a great team. In spite of the Rah Rah, they can't get to that frenzied level that Orgeron preaches. Kirby Smart was that kind of coach for the first few games at Ga.(jumping up and down, hugging all the players, etc.) but you will notice lately he has calmed down and presents a calmer attitude during games. He's learning!

blogaboutyourdoginstead
blogaboutyourdoginstead

@TideDawg Pete Carroll is the godfather of "rah-rah", and it's worked for him in college & the NFL. Dabo's not doing too bad either.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Let me be the first to say that if Orgeron hires a competent Offensive Coordinator he may actually be competitive in the SEC West. This is not the same as taking over the Ole Miss Program from Cutcliffe. But of course Bradley already has the new LSU coach on his so called Clock for dismissal.If will be interesting to see if LSU can pry Kiffin away from Bammer. Maybe with the  cash they saved by keeping Orgeron , they can afford to overpay Kiffin. And back to Bradley's Coaching Clock, will Kirby Smart's countdown start today if the Bugs beat the Dogs.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Buschleaguer Can't say that I disagree with Bradley, and I can't totally disagree with you. I think Kiffin is going to be gone from Bama after this season. He may end up at Texas as OC. I think he's ready for a HC job but won't take on a program that's not high profile. Saban may not want him but will advise him as he did Kirby Smart not to make a lateral move. Making lateral moves is like being type cast in the movie industry. That becomes your signature and it keeps getting tougher to get a HC job.