They were memorable years, right?
I would like to start this off with an apology. I’ve had myself a bit of year, personally speaking, and I have not been as present on the blog as I would like. Due to a multiple of issues, I simply wasn’t able to fully mentally or emotionally engage with the team this season. Y’all deserve better, and I’m sorry for that.
One of the problems is that there wasn’t much to say this year. Ed Orgeron forcibly resigned on October 17, and really, at that point, what is there to say? It’s hard to spend your time criticizing a coach when the coach has already said he’s leaving. The solution has already been implemented.
Let’s not rewrite history: Ed Orgeron deserved to be fired. We will always have 2019, but he followed that up with the two worst seasons by an LSU football team in two decades. I was perfectly willing to write off 2020 as a mulligan due to COVID, but this season was a disaster, particularly in the early going.
The team was undisciplined, didn’t seem to have any coherent plan on either side of the football the first half of the season, and generally did all of the things a bad football team does to lose games. There was plenty of talent, but it was unfocused, and it seemed like a new guy stepped up each week to disappoint us, and that was even before a freak wave of injuries ravaged the roster.
But to give credit, Orgeron handled the second half of this season with aplomb. He accepted the inevitable with grace, and honestly, did a much better job with the team once he was freed from the pressure of making the right calls. The team still exhibited a frustrating ability to grab defeat from the jaws of victory, but the team played hard and as a fan, that’s really all you ask.
A bunch of second stringers poured their guts out for the already fired coach. And notably, the games down the stretch were fun. There wasn’t a series of recriminations. The guys who opted out or made business decisions, well, that’s their call. No ill will. But nothing but love for the guys who brought it for a coach who went from a joke to beloved back to a scapegoat only to somehow swing back to beloved on his way out.
Orgeron’s resignation tour has been a textbook example on how a situation plays based on your grace in handling it. Orgeron was nothing but graceful and accommodating, thankful to the university which fired him and the writers who savaged him. He reminded the fans who wanted him gone exactly what it was they liked about him in the first place.
Again, it was the right call to fire him. He failed at the most basic part of the job, which is winning football games. And yeah, he had a run of bad luck, but this is a bottom line business and the bottom line says 6-6.
But I don’t think there has ever been a coach who has engendered such fond feelings in a fanbase by the time his forced resignation took place since, well, Charles McClendon. He made his share of mistakes. He made bad hire after bad hire, he mismanaged the quarterback position, the offensive line is a mess, and he couldn’t keep top talent happy before they entered the transfer portal.
But as time goes on, Ed Orgeron is going to be remembered as the head coach of the greatest college football team of all-time, the 2019 LSU Tigers. He’s going to be remembered as a local boy done good, and as someone who loved the school maybe even more than the fans packing the stands.
When he was hired, I decried it as a bad hire, a half measure after the Miles Era when we needed a clean break to move forward. Boy, was I wrong. The Ed Orgeron Era was fun and it ends much the way it began, with a guy who simply loved LSU, Louisiana, and football. I’ll miss him.