Louisiana rejoices over LSU’s choice of head coach

I am not sure Jimbo Fisher was ever in the mix to be the new head coach at LSU. Vice chancellor and director of athletics Joe Alleva appeared to have a Plan A (Tom Herman) and a Plan 1A (Ed Orgeron) to fill the vacancy as LSU’s new football coach.
 
The Orgeron hire is immensely popular because of his Lafourche Parish roots.
 
“From Lake Charles to Boutte, everyone’s happy,” said Coach O at the press conference to announce his interim tag had been removed.
 
The room was filled with chuckles. Here’s the bottom line on the hire: If Orgeron wins enough, Alleva is a very smart man. If Orgeron doesn’t win enough, he and Alleva will be out the door.
 
I think Orgeron will win. Why? Because LSU football is set up to succeed.
 
If you are a seven-win coach at LSU, you aren’t very good. Like Nick Saban and Les Miles, who each won a BCS national title and a pair of Southeastern Conference championships at LSU, Orgeron will have all the necessities.
 
Miles’ staff was the highest paid in college football. The facilities are first rate, and so is the level of high school football in the state.
 
Louisiana is fertile ground for the right recruiter and head coach. That Orgeron is a great recruiter is without question. He proved it again at the end of the 2016 season.
 
“Keep Coach O! Keep Coach O!” LSU players chanted in the locker room, minutes after drubbing Texas A&M.
 
Less than 48 hours later, Orgeron was standing at the podium in the LSU athletics building, hitting the right notes again.
 
“We are going to hire the best offensive coordinator in the country,” he said.
 
It was music to the ears of one of the most offensively deprived fan bases in the recent history of college football. Orgeron said his offense needed a dual-threat quarterback but one that also employed power football. Orgeron understands that running the football wins big games, and the inability to run loses them.
 
At some point, LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda will leave to be a head coach, and if Orgeron hires the right offensive coordinator, that coach may do the same.
 
Nick Saban disciples litter the South. There’s Fisher at Florida State, Jim McElwain at Florida and Kirby Smart at Georgia.
 
For those who point to Orgeron’s failures at Ole Miss, I would ask who has won big there recently? Hugh Freeze is acknowledged as a very high-level SEC head coach. Yet, he’s won 10 games, once, at Ole Miss. This season, Freeze won five and was smacked 55-20 by Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl.
 
At LSU, the right coach can win very big. And, Orgeron has the right formula: Get the best players and coaches and go do it.
 
Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at edaniels@clarionherald.org.

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