26 November 2016

Why LSU may come to regret the Ed Orgeron hire

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It's been two months since LSU was the first program to get on the coaching carousel after they fired Les Miles and now, they are the first team off it. Today they announced that interim coach Ed Orgeron will be getting the job on a full-time basis. This will be Orgeron's second head coaching gig in the SEC with the previous being a very unsuccessful three-year stint at Ole Miss.

Clearly after you fire a coach as successful as Miles has been, being a good program is not enough. Will Orgeron be able to take this program to the next level?

I understand the emotions behind this hire as Orgeron is beloved by his players and has done a fine job over the past two months as the Tigers have gone 5-2 while the offense has been much better. If you have ever listened to Orgeron speak, you know that he is a son of the bayou and based off of what we know about this hire, it is clear that emotion played into this:
And this is precisely the problem. Obviously the McMurphy tweet is referring to Tom Herman, the head coach of Houston that is now heading north to the University of Texas. Herman was the hot coach for clear reasons this coming offseason because of his tremendous success in two seasons at Houston. Anybody could put two and two together and realize that he wanted a lot of money because he wants the right offer to pry him from Houston and because he is one of the most coveted coaches in the country.

Of course, there's no guarantee that Herman would be a success at LSU, nor is there a guarantee that Orgeron would be a failure. But we do have Orgeron's resume as is as a coach in the SEC and while he recruited well, the Rebels went 3-21 in conference play during his three years in Oxford. Yes, that was a decade ago and yes, he did well as the interim coach at USC after Lane Kiffin was fired in 2013 but there is a big difference between being an interim coach and being the head guy.

That is especially the case when you are replacing Les Miles. LSU did plateau in his last few years and his offenses were terrible and he failed down the stretch to beat Nick Saban. That said, he's still the most successful coach in school history and a consistent 8-10 game winner. He went to two national championship games and like Orgeron, he was a great recruiter. As I said two months ago, if you are going to fire him, you have to bring in somebody big to replace him. Orgeron is not him.

What will be the key first hire for Orgeron is at offensive coordinator and it seems like he will aggressively go after Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. I understand that Kiffin is not exactly a good guy but he's a pretty good offensive playcaller and would be a great fit under his former assistant. But Orgeron is going to have to show me a lot more than he's shown me already to think he can keep up the level of success in Baton Rouge.

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