LSU settled for its third option in Ed Orgeron after being rebuffed by Tom Herman and Jimbo Fisher, and athletic director Joe Alleva is trying to tell us it was the best choice.
LSU hired its third choice. Let’s be honest about that for a second. Tom Herman and Jimbo Fisher decided that they would rather be at other schools, therefore Ed Orgeron is now the permanent man in charge in Baton Rouge.
Good for Orgeron. He’s getting a second chance after a dismal tenure as a head coach at Ole Miss from 2005-07. He has surely grown as a coach, and now he has full control of a school that he grew up following.
Is he that much different from the man that LSU fired? In this introduction of Orgeron as the new head coach, athletic director Joe Alleva spoke on what the Tigers must do to win a championship.
“In this league, you still win with defense and running the ball. It’s how you run the ball.”
Wait just a second. Isn’t that the old-school mentality that got Les Miles, who won a national championship and two SEC titles in the 11-plus years as head coach of the Tigers, fired? The same Miles that Orgeron barely thanked in his introductory press conference after taking the interim position despite Miles giving him a job?
Enough about the past, though. As hard as LSU wants to pretend that it got its guy in Orgeron, the rest of the country is looking at a school that had to settle for someone repeatedly deemed a fall-back option, while striking out on a home run hire.
“It came down to getting the best coach,” Alleva said.
That “best coach” is 21-29 in stints at Ole Miss and as the interim man at both USC in 2013 and LSU this season. Meanwhile, Fisher is 77-17 as a head coach, with a national championship and three ACC titles under his belt. He made the decision to stay at Florida State, where he has reconstructed the Seminoles into a perennial national contender.
The laughable moment came when Alleva stated that LSU had pulled its offer from Herman, who at the age of 41, is the brightest up-and-coming coach in college football. If Herman, who took the Texas job on Saturday, wanted the Tigers job, it was his.
Supposedly Herman backtracking from an oral agreement irked Alleva, therefore LSU decided to go with Orgeron. That says one thing: Herman had options, while it was LSU-or-bust for Orgeron.
For LSU, the honeymoon hire can only go two ways: extremely well or an epic failure. There is no middle ground for a program that jettisoned a national-championship winning coach in favor of a journeyman. Orgeron’s promise to bring in an “unbelievable” staff will be the first of many expectations that he will have to meet right out of the gate.
After fawning over the incredible staff Orgeron would put together, Alleva made a quick comment that says all you need to know about the Tigers’ coaching search.
“He’s the best option we have here at LSU.”
When having to settle, it’s very easy to convince yourself that the third option may just be the best.