WHY 2021 LSU IS SO CONFIDENT

Updated: Feb 10



by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips


"Everything that Daronte Jones seems to represent and seems to say is a direct rebuke against the hiring failures of last season...and it's so exciting for that reason...."

-2011 LSU Tiger T-BOB HEBERT on 2/3/2021's episode of OFF THE BENCH


After the criticism stemming from their Nielsen & Freeman misses, LSU football have their staff in place & it has to feel like a 2020-long weight is finally being lifted off the shoulders of many Tigers fans...

These weren't just new hires: this was a systemic turning of the page from last year's horrorshow defense as well as the offense's 3rd down / red zone / running game profligacy:

Coach Orgeron's hires, Jake Peetz & D.J Mangas on offense, backed by the trio of new defensive minds, Daronte Jones, Blake Baker & Andre Carter are a purple & gold baptism.

2020 had a heavy burden attached...one centered around defensive shame, multiple Gulf Coast hurricanes causing loss of life and billions of dollars in damages (specifically to the Lake Charles area), a sexual assault scandal regarding the athletic department's mishandling of Title IX complaints, certain Tigers' assistants losing the plot completely, spans of negativity amongst the fanbase & locker room, Covid's ravaging effects upon the mental health or physical well being of many within LSU's program.... all while great young men left for home (as well as the NFL) amidst this global pandemic's uncertainty.

It is true...many in purple & gold were left withered or spent from the tidal wave of these blows, one hurricane, opt out, transfer, scheduling change or scandalous USA Today report after another. Even speculation concerning Coach Orgeron's personal life became message board fodder for gossipy Tigers fans (who'd previously claimed undying loyalty to their Cajun coach only months before)...


....in spite of all the outside noise or rabid opinions about Coach O's program, LSU are still here holding a top 5 ranked in-coming class and a 2021 squad in great shape...still standing after everything 2020 threw at 'em:

The completion of LSU's 2021 staff ushers in the program's first united front behind the scenes in nearly a year, coupled right alongside their talented, experienced roster. These Tigers have bonded and remain stronger than ever before, many returning with a common purpose....

While negative recruiting (as well as media criticism) against Coach O's LSU continues in a more quieter vein than late 2020, Orgeron keeps ignoring the hiss of these snakes & is currently on a winning streak:


The 4x National Championship-winning football lifer talked 8 starting linemen into coming back, 4 being seniors demanding a second & final geaux-around (Deculus, Anthony, Logan, Farrell Jr) alongside a pair of would-be 3rd-2nd Round NFL Draft selections (Rosenthal, Ingram), a potential #1 overall defensive line, 3 out of 4 base secondary spots returning as well (headlined by the two best corners in America), while this squad also holds the university's greatest ever quarterback room, 3 proven SEC-winners plus an extremely promising freshman; then there's Kevin Faulk's 7 running backs of extreme talents (led by Ty Davis-Price who's about to break out in monster fashion) as well as sporting the potential #1 ranked WRs group, with colossal record-snapping sophomore superstar receiver Kayshon Boutte as the main focus....

Now, after watching, listening & taking in the new coaches' words, as well as witnessing "prodigal personnel guru" Austin Thomas' suave brilliance at general manager, our Tigers have their swagger back:


This is a team poised for a run...Tigers unbowed, ready for anything that comes their way and most importantly, these young men are all united together.

Even a non-eventful National Signing Day didn't hurt LSU, with little on the line (the mass bulk of their incoming #4 nationally ranked class already figured out)...

Simultaneously, a pair of 2022's best OL just happened to be from Louisiana, making 2022 the first time LSU grabbed commitments from 2 top ranked OL inside the Boot within the same class. Those two are Neville High's Will Campbell and Bo Bordelon out of Newman... OL Coach James Cregg can even add some further pieces to the O-line's future with out of state stalwarts OG Lucas Taylor and Malik Agbo:

Concerning in-state prospects, Bordelon & Campbell join 19 total 2022 offers already handed out to Louisiana locals...

Coach Ed Orgeron isn't just building a fence around the state of Louisiana...he's constructing a moat of fire...

This is an important crossroads for the program...a time for reinvention, evolution, yet this all feels so familiar, doesn't it?

Didn't we do this a few years ago when building our 2019 juggernaut?

Sort of...yes, quite a lot alike... yet still very different....in fact, some may argue these 2021 staff additions are upgrades over 2019 D-Line Coach Bill Johnson or Safeties head Bill Busch:

At D-Line, Andre Carter possesses 13 years of NFL coaching experience and 12 years as an NFL sackmaster (80 total career sacks, including holding the New England Patriots' single game sack record with 4)....imagine how LSU's roomful of specimen are going to react to this towering titan before them?


He blinks and breathes legitimacy...he doesn't have to prove a thing...there's a reason Bill Belichick demanded Carter come back to the Patriots in 2013:

The 8x Super Bowl-winner had a struggling young defense who needed to learn the rough and tumble ways of the game...most of all, they needed to be accountable professionals. For this crew, Carter was pure guidance, on-field mastery & sterling examplehood, helping to elevate a group headlined by Chandler Jones & Rob Ninkovich, players who would go on to later win multiple Super Bowls with Brady & Belichick.

At age 34, Carter still registered 2 sacks, 7 QB Hits, 2 PDs and played in 9 games as the Patriots bowed out during the AFC Championship Game...you think he'll have to work hard to get Ojulari, Gaye or Anthony's respect?

While some of these young Tiger DL may have been excited by Ryan Nielsen, they're now glad events transpired the way they did....

Andre Carter's arrival is a blessing in disguise...

And through the intensity of steambreathing criticism & second-guessing, Coach O delivered...

For the much debated and highly publicized defensive coordinator role, Daronte Jones has ripped into his new job with complete comfort & raging fervor, ready to get to the task of improving LSU's players, 99% of whom took part in last year's defensive fundamentalist atrocity.

From what he's been saying, I'm loving it...but once again we have to see it on the field...but I will point this out:

At least Daronte Jones has the guts to speak to the media, unlike Bo Pelini (who only made himself available before the season to a select few former players on radio....twice).

Pelini was never available for interviews unless you walked up to him at Gino's...

And this is coming from a Pelini admirer.

I'll never understand why Bo never spoke to the media...Bo wasn't even officially announced at any press conference, and this was pre-pandemic...

From the beginning, something was very off about Coach O and Bo Pelini's relationship...there were also problems / tensions between Corey Raymond & Bill Busch, incidents LSU Odyssey pointed out throughout last campaign as DBU allowed a pathetic 9.98 yards per attempt:


But when watching Coach O nod to the words of Daronte Jones throughout his new DC's first press conference, you get the feeling this can only be successful...

Both Orgeron and Jones seem absolutely on the same page together, appearing proud and ready to grind alongside one another....the same goes for LBs Coach Blake Baker, the former DC at Miami now taking a supporting role to Jones....and embracing it.

Baker wasn't just honest and genuine in his words on Tuesday, you felt like this guy could really have a long term future at LSU if he wants it...

In Jones, Raymond, Carter & Baker, LSU's defense looks primed for a Top 10 unit in this year of swaggering vengeance and eternal odyssey:

Now that Orgeron's LSU have their defensive staff firmly in place, the program can move forward.

The rigors of Football School are underway, Orgeron's new position coaches are hitting the ground running, GM Austin Thomas keeps each eye on the organization's big picture goals, and currently, these two new coordinators (Jones & Peetz) continue to instill maximum confidence within the program & fanbase.

2021 is about winning a championship...and each move Coach O made was exactly what this team needed to make a title run happen, even during crazy moments of 11th hour bailing (Marcus Freeman), bizarre contract hijinks (Ryan Nielsen) or disappointing interviews from dubiously qualified candidates (Zach Arnett)...sometimes it takes a journey....

While most among LSU country lost their minds throughout the coaching searches, Coach Orgeron kept his and deserves 100% credit for what he was able to pull off...

2021's top 5 recruiting class against a backdrop of scandal, big name departures and a 180 degree reversal of 2019's surreal fortune...

8 returning starting trenchmen for 2020....

20 of 22 starting positions return...

And now he has the precise coaching hires in each vacant slot, all complimenting one another perfectly....

Few coaches understand it's not always about getting the best hire...it's about making sure you hire the right guy.

What other coach could take the pain, fire and brimstone of 2020 directly after 2019 without losing their mind?


What other coach could accept 45% of their fanbase talking about firing him after producing a G.O.A.T squad only a season before???

Remember...Brian Kelly still coaches Notre Dame and he's been to one title game in a decade plus...

What other coach could withstand the never-ending recruiting grind, plus a pandemic, as well as the thorny daily gossip and still persevere through the rollercoaster ride of one high profile transfer, opt out or coaching search problem after another?

Orgeron has done what few could pull off...

It's time he gets his proper dues....

WHY SHOULD 2021 LSU FEEL SO CONFIDENT?

Because they have Coach Orgeron leading the way...

BLACK LIVES MATTER

by Lonn Phillips Sullivan

@LonnPhillips

Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC


SHOUTOUTS: COACH ORGERON, LSU ODYSSEY LOVES YOU!

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