LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron Reiterates "We Want To Play" as 2020 Season Decisions Loom
The uncertainty around the college football season has reached its peak but that hasn't stopped LSU and coach Ed Orgeron from focusing on the task at hand. While Power 5 conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12 are seriously considering a delay to its college football seasons, the SEC is taking the opposite approach.
After meetings on Monday, the conference wants to push forward with starting its 10-game all-conference schedule on Sept. 26. Because there have been no changes in the gameplan, Orgeron and the Tigers are full steam ahead with fall practice just under a week away.
"So proud of our football team and their mindset," Orgeron said on 104.5 ESPN show Off the Bench. "We wrap up Football School this week, we've got one week left and we're not blinking."
Orgeron said he has addressed the surfacing reports over the last 48 hours with his players and that they are controlling what they can control at this point.
"The easiest thing to do right now is say no," Orgeron said. "As far as the SEC, as far as I know, we're still gathering information. We're still fighting to play, we want to play, we've always spoke like we wanted to play and I believe in our commissioner and I believe in our athletic director and I know we're going to do the right thing for our players."
That's the goal at the end of the day, whether it means playing out the 2020 season in the fall, delaying or cancelling the season.
"We have the best care for our players that they can get anywhere," Orgeron said. "Our players feel safe and I know that our players and most of the players around the country want to play. We want to compete for our players and find out what's best for them. Now at the end, if our players can't play, I for one am not going to put them in harm's way and they know that. I have 100% confidence they're going to make the right decision."
As of now, only one LSU player has elected to sit out and that is senior defensive end Neil Farrell. Orgeron said on Tuesday that Farrell's grandmother became ill with COVID-19 and that he needed to be with family.
"He was very close to his grandmother and he wanted to go back home and be with her," Orgeron said. "I told him 'Neil go home, come back next year, come back in great shape and have a great senior year.' "
After an initial outbreak of the virus within the team, Orgeron said that the program has done a phenomenal job of keeping players healthy and safe. Most of the players that tested positive for the virus were asymptomatic according to Orgeron, though defensive end Travez Moore did talk about his experience with COVID-19.
"Bro coronavirus is real 👎🏿.. i was 256 now I’m 229 because i lost my appetite and it’s hard to eat plus you can barley breath. You can’t smell food you can’t taste food or taste any liquids.. stay y’all ass in the house," Moore wrote in a tweet.
On Tuesday, it’s expected that the Big Ten and Pac-12 will announce whether the 2020 season will be delayed or outright cancelled. The Big 12 is also expected to reconvene for more meetings but Sports Illustrated reports that it’s unclear if any decisions on the season will be voted on.
What the Big 12 ultimately decides could have a significant impact because it’s one of the two conferences that the SEC is trying to convince to move forward with a season.
“I think the dialog can swing it one way or another,” a Big 12 source told Sports Illustrated. A separate league source described the split thusly: "a small group that absolutely wants to postpone the season; a small group that absolutely wants to play; and a majority group that is right in between, saying we don't have to decide right now."
The next 24-48 hours could very well define the future of college football as we know it. As Orgeron said last week when asked about the conference schedule, “buckle up big boy.”
“It is not simply going to be a guiding moment if another conference makes a decision, but a piece of information along this really interesting journey,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told Dan Patrick on Tuesday.