by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
The upcoming next month will be the most important period in the modern history of the LSU football program....right ahead of May 2018 when Joe Burrow signed his letter of intent, these next few weeks could send the Louisiana State University Fighting Tigers into a myriad of different directions....all due to a flip from Coach Ed Orgeron's script....
It feels like we just barely went through this....and we did, just from December to January when Coach Ed Orgeron was making his current staff hires.
We said the same thing....and it was true then: Those hires were either going to usher in a new era forward with Coach O, or their failure would come to define the end of Orgeron's tenure.
Sadly, Coach O's actions off the field and his decision-making on the sideline have sullied everything he's brought to the program....right in the face of all the advancements, the rising playing standards of 2018-19, perennial top 5 recruiting rankings, the hard to rival record vs Top 10 opponents, how he understood LSU at an instinctual level, how he warmed our hearts when he finally gave Steve Ensminger the job Les Miles was too stupid to offer, how he changed LSU's fortunes forever when he brought in "The Two Joes", Joe Brady's brilliant youthful unorthodoxy or pursued Heisman / #1 overall pick / National Championship-winning QB Joe Burrow with every fiber of his being....
Yes....the Head Coach who gave us our greatest player....who's team supplied us with our fondest Tiger memories....a squad who were so imperious...so unstoppable, that shaken fables of their glory continue to creep from every mouth 'cross the land, while those vanquished opponents still lie awake at night, haunted in a never-ending 2019 dream.......
....Somehow, some way, only just under 2 years since he hoisted the CFP Title, won Coach of the Year honors and became the face of not only LSU, but the Great state of Louisiana...the man who provided it all has to go.
It is hard to say it....we've been writing about this, we've been talking about it....we literally warned Orgeron ourselves many times, specifically during the Title IX scandal's first major wave, saying his arrogance, the blatant / public blonde bombshell routine, the freaking out at everyone, the macho / badass tough guy talk....it had to go.
But now, we can also pile "careless, edge-less coaching" on to the stack, our favorite Cajun now sadly representing the energy of a ghost on the sidelines....lifelessness.....
Coach O looked soul-less as a Head Coach during the last few games.....as if he didn't give a damn about the present or future of LSU....and you don't know how much that hurts to write.
Watching our best DB Eli Ricks get spun off his feet by QB Will Levis (who has running ability just above former Kansas City Chief Elvis Grbac), our Coach O-dictated 4 man front vertically attacking on every rep with the utmost transparency, all while blocks and schematics move side to side and pin us back, allowing 331 rushing yards to the Wildcats (surrendering 300+ rushing yards for the 3rd straight season), our offense confining its young QB to a grinding death march despite Orgeron's promises of "more tempo this week", our drastic inability to manage football games, Bo f***in Pelini, hiring former radio host Derek Ponamsky to vet coaching hires, the way he treated Dave Aranda, Pete Jenkins, Tommy Robinson....after all they've witnessed, I simply believe these players don't play for Orgeron anymore.
Many of them stopped playing for Coach O last summer, when the man was seen on Fox News more than he was spending time getting to know his players' feelings on how the pandemic affected their families or their thoughts on police brutality.
The continuous headlines involving Orgeron allegedly protecting Derrius Guice didn't help either:
Although he was named as a co-defendant in three separate Title IX-involved lawsuits, Coach Orgeron seemed too distracted to even waste his time on the Title IX issues, acting like it was all a big uproar over nothing.
LSU football needed a leader during 2020....a man who would stand up and say "no....this isn't right what's happening to young black men....no, what us as men have done to women isn't right.....yes, we must change, I will lead that change....you will see that change...."
I'm not saying he needed to go on The Rachel Maddow Show, I'm simply saying our Head Coach forgot who he works for:
These young men play for him, sure....but he works for them....in the end, Coach O ceased working for them as hard as he worked at being a celebrity coach.
He'd worked his ass off for decades on the hot and humid recruiting trails of Miami-Dade County, he mastered the labyrinth of prep schools in Southern California, & laid siege upon every state across the South to get where he was on January 13th, 2020....everything after, would now be on his terms.
Orgeron felt he earned the lifestyle of a rock and roll Head Coach, but a lot of times that doesn't compute when you're leading a large group of young men, on a 24/7 gig, as the state's highest paid employee, as the national face of Louisiana when your school has a pile of Title IX cases, a litany of lawsuits including 3 Title IX involved cases, and 3 more from multiple current athletic department staffers and our former OL Coach....
But he wanted it all on his terms after 2019, so...that is why Coach O is in this spot.
Success ruined Coach Ed Orgeron's LSU career....his dream job....the gig that always seemed to be tenuous, even when finite on the surface....the career that went from 150mph to -15 in the space of what will look like a split second when history comes back to judge.
For now, there's just you and me....
No one wanted the Orgeron era to end this way...
No one expected the Orgeron era to end this way...least of all Bebé himself...
As he walked off the Superdome field, his then-wife Kelly in his arms, joyful tears streaming down her face, his proud sons right behind him, Coach Orgeron surely believed "things can't get any better than this"....and tragically, in more ways than one, they never would...
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc
SHOUTOUTS: Thank you Coach Orgeron. Thank you. We Love You. Always. It's Time.