Whenever Ed Orgeron has seen or talked to an offensive player in the last few days about new offensive coordinator Jake Peetz and passing game coordinator DJ Mangas, their eyes light up. As if Orgeron needed more vindication on whether or not he's found the right guys, team consultant and longtime college and head coach John Robinson has told Orgeron a number of times in the last few days 'Coach, you've got the right guys.'
The freshmen early enrollees have just arrived to campus on Friday and the rest of the team has started to gather for meetings on Monday as the new semester starts up. For the LSU offensive players, that meant getting to meet the two young guys Orgeron has brought in to provide a spark to the offense in 2021.
"Knowledge is power and those guys have come in with tremendous knowledge, tremendous love for the game and they're getting to know these guys," Orgeron said. "Every guys that has met with them has come out with their eyes wide open, saying 'Coach, yeah way to go.'"
Mangas and Peetz have been in the offices for three days now and every single moment has been about trying to get to know the players they'll be coaching for the next 12 months. Peetz, a 10-year NFL veteran is a first time play caller and offensive coordinator with little experience in the college ranks.
Peetz said that football hasn't even been discussed with the players, it's about building trust and getting to know not only himself but his family as well. The early building blocks of the team are being built right now and that starts with team chemistry and the players feeling a connection with the coaching staff, something that was reportedly a disconnect a season ago.
"It’s been all about getting to know our players, because without trust there is no relationship. We can’t be demanding of them in a positive way and really challenge them unless they feel that we believe in them," Peetz said.
"It’s about them learning me, learning DJ. My wife, Maggie, none of this is possible without her, and I have six wonderful kids that I can’t wait to see this weekend. But I want them to know about my family. They can’t be family if they don’t feel comfortable coming over to my house. Or if I’m not bringing my family around them. Because when we build that, then we’re going to be able to get into football. Then we have trust. Then we have belief."
As for Mangas, he's just one-year removed from the program but admits that there are a ton of new faces, guys that he's recruited and others he wasn't able to communicate with much as an analyst during the 2019 season.
"I was here just a little over a year ago and there are guys that were young or that we recruited that are now a part of the roster that I'm looking forward to getting to know better," Mangas said. "Getting to know them from that aspect so we can figure out what they're capable of on the field and put them in positions to succeed."
It's still early and that process of getting to know the players figures to be on going for the next several days before Football School starts up. But there's one trait above all else that Peetz has noticed in the early meetings with the players and why he feels this will be such a special group moving forward.
"We have competitive kids. We have guys that are hungry. You don’t come to LSU unless you want to compete," Peetz said. "We have skill positions that can stretch the field. That’s the thing that’s been over and over meeting with these guys. They want an opportunity to compete and they want to get better."