Skip to main content

SEC Outsider: LSU makes right move in "interim" Orgeron--now good luck trying to get rid of him

Louisiana State named Ed Orgeron as interim coach on Sunday and posted a picture of him on its website. His mouth was…

Louisiana State named Ed Orgeron as interim coach on Sunday and posted a picture of him on its website.

His mouth was wide open, it looked like an “O,” which is also his nickname.

He goes by others, one of which is “Mad Man.”

So if you're keeping score: LSU fired Les Miles, aka “Mad Hatter,” after a 2-2 start, and replaced him with the “Mad Man” from Larose, La.


“Wide open” also perfectly describes the throttle on Orgeron’s motor. The guy is a non-stop, walking, 24-hour energy drink.

When LSU athletic director Joe Alleva shrimp-canned Miles on Sunday, knowing he’s the only coach in the BCS era to lead a two-loss team to the national title, there was little doubt who would babysit the rest of this season.

Orgeron, the Tigers’ defensive line coach, may be the greatest “interim” coach of our times.

Coach gets fired on an early-season Sunday?

Call “O.”[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Compared to his last “interim” gig, though, the Miles’ firing was done with Grace Kelly class.

Miles got the electric chair four games into the season.

USC fired Lane Kiffin after the fifth game of 2013, a blowout loss at Arizona State. Kiffin took his bullet at LAX upon the Trojans’ arrival back from hell’s kitchen (Tempe).

USC AD Pat Haden quickly turned to Orgeron to heal the wounds and get the Trojans through November.

Coach O did a great job, mostly, going 6-2 and earning the respect and trust of the team. In fact, the players fell so in love with him they didn't want him to go.

Having lived through USC, Kiffin and Orgeron in Los Angeles, Rankman thinks there are a few things LSU and Alleva might want to know.

Orgeron doesn’t think he’s the “interim” coach. While Alleva is off to find the next great coach, Orgeron already knows he’s THE guy.

There is a decent chance LSU will thrive under Coach O. This is, after all, a program many thought would compete for this year’s national title. LSU is a much better team than the one he took over at USC.

And, if Coach O wins a few games and wins the locker room, his players might put a barricade up to block LSU's incoming coach.

USC not hiring Orgeron caused an insurrection that got ugly. Not hiring Coach O might have also been a mistake, because Haden turned around and chose Steve Sarkisian.

We just want to run up some warning flags here.

Read More

Orgeron is a passionate, intense person. He already thinks he’s a top-level head coach even though he went 10-25 at Ole Miss. It took Coach O about 10 minutes to move all the LSU furniture around.

“Whadday ya say guys,” he said, in his thick Cajun drawl, at his opening press conference on Monday. “This is a great day for Tiger football. It’s a great day in my life I promise you that.”

Orgeron is already revamping the sputtering offense that got Miles fired. He’s picked out new curtains. He's going to open up the offense, overhaul things, which just might unleash a ferocious Tiger.

“We’re going to flip the script,” Coach O said.

You can bet Orgeron took to heart the words of his AD, who said Coach O would get a chance to earn the permanent job. Even if that’s not true if Tom Herman or Jimbo Fisher want the job.

What we’re saying is things in Baton Rouge could get hotter than Tabasco.

The troubling part of Orgeron’s interim stay at USC has been chronicled: he went 6-2 but lost to Notre Dame and UCLA, the two schools every USC coach has to defeat. The job was his on a platter, in late November, going into the UCLA game. Players wrote “O” on their socks in support, then went out and laid an egg. Very puzzling.

Then, after a performance Coach O could not defend, Haden told him he would not the permanent choice but genuinely wanted him to stay on as an assistant. With a promotion, and more money.

Who knows, maybe the next coach might not work out?

But Orgeron walked out the next day. Quit on his team. Flew home to Louisiana. Pouted. Refused to coach USC in the Las Vegas Bowl. So, Haden turned to "interim" assistant Clay Helton.

Haden hired Sarkisian made several more runs at Orgeron, almost begging him to come back.

“It just hurt too bad to suddenly not be their head coach,” Coach O later told Times’ columnist Bill Plaschke. “Maybe me staying for the bowl game, being positive, that could have helped me in the long run, but I was a heartbroken and I couldn’t fake it.”

Indeed. Had Orgeron not been so emotional he, not Helton, would now likely be USC’s permanent coach.

Orgeron is a fiery contradiction: a fiercely loyal guy who will also walk out when things don’t go his way.

Orgeron also once said “I will be a Trojan forever.”

But now he wants to be a Tiger forever. Things could get real interesting fast. Orgeron sees LSU as a do-over for the mistake he made at USC.

“I think it’s similar in a lot of ways,” Coach O said of the situations this week. He said he’s learned from his past failures and is ready to lead.

So, LSU, watch out. You just handed a temporary job to man who might have to be pried out of his chair.

And if LSU beats Alabama on Nov.5, well, all “O” might break loose.

And if the search for the $10 million coach drags on, watch how Coach O digs in.

This isn’t just crazy talk. It happened three years ago.[/membership]