Key Takeaways from Lunch with Coach Orgeron

LSU introduced Ed Orgeron as its interim head football coach on Monday and Tiger Blitz has three key takeaways from his first press conference.

LSU confirms coaching changes, Orgeron touches on staff

LSU elevated Steve Ensminger from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator following Cam Cameron's dismissal. The former LSU quarterback has experience taking over an offense midseason as he was named offensive coordinator following Tony Franklin's departure form Auburn when Ensminger was on staff on The Plains.

"We're going to be very multiple. Spreading the ball around means 11 personnel, spreading it around and going go 21 personnel. Steve Ensminger has had some success at LSU putting that stuff together. We have some agreement in the short term on the type of offense we want to run."

Dave Aranda is now associate head coach in addition to defensive coordinator. The pair have been working tirelessly to make changes.

"I'm going to lean on him. We've got a lot of years we can share from successful programs. We've been meeting all morning trying to figure out how to get this thing turned around."

Pete Jenkins, a legend at LSU, will return as defensive line coach and a mentor for Orgeron.

"A storied, legend at LSU. He's a great Tiger. I called my wife then I called Pete. I think the world of the man. I think our players are going to love him. W"

Other moves on the Tigers' coaching staff included Austin Thomas being named general manager. Offensively, LSU named Eric Mateos tight ends coach, Dameyune Craig was elevated to recruiting coordinator as well as wide receivers coach, Jeff Grimes added running game coordinator to his list of responsibilities with the offensive line. Jabbar Juluke stayed as running backs coach.

Defensively, in addition to Jenkins, outside linebackers coach will be Dennis Johnson, and Corey Raymond will remain defensive backs coach. Bradley-Dale Peveto will focus solely on special teams. 

"He's done a tremendous time on defense, but wanted him to concentrate on special teams. We've got to get better there," Orgeron said on Peveto.

As far as the transition from being an assistant coach to head coach, it's all about pulling together.

"I look at it as we're building a building. If we're all pulling on the same side of the rope, we're going to be successful. Adversity makes us all closer."

Orgeron on LSU job, what it means to him

A native of South Louisiana, Ed Orgeron takes over a job that could be a job interview, but that's not how he's viewing this opportunity.

"This is about our young men. You want them to feel better. Let the chips fall the way they may," Orgeron said. "Every time you go through a head coaching job, you learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. I'm going to let my coaches coach. We're all going to be accountable of each other."

At Ole Miss, Orgeron followed David Cutcliffe after he was fired and coached the team hard, like you'd expect a defensive line coach to do. Since then, Orgeron has grown from his first head coaching job at Ole Miss.

"You can't coach a team that way. I went full speed ahead and I wanted to do everything, coach the quarterbacks, the receivers and I don't know nothing about 'em but I wanted to do it my way. And I learned about that," Orgeron said. "At USC, I delegated and got that team to play like I got my defensive line to play. We won football games"

When Director of Athletic Joe Alleva made the call to Orgeron, there was a simple ask.

"To lead this team. That he has confidence in me. A call from King Alexander meant a lot. There's a couple things that we need to change. We're not meeting those standards on the season."

There was a lot of second-guessing in the past, but expect this team to focus on the future.

"Everybody is a Monday Morning Quarterback. We're going to go full speed and when we make mistakes, we're going to fix them," Orgeron said. 

To be in the state representing LSU as the head coach, is something Orgeron doesn't take lightly.

"It's the greatest state in the country to recruit. We've got to put it all together. It's not about offense, defense, or special teams, it's about the LSU Tigers. I wanted to show them that when we all pull together, we'll win. It's a well-respected position I'm holding and I hold it in high esteem."

The biggest change is something he learned while being at USC.

"I'm going to let my coaches coach. We're going to be accountable. We want to play with energy."

Offensive changes, energy expected right away

Orgeron has learned a bit from his past experiences, but now has to coach his dream job, where expectations are high. LSU's new interim head coach says if you don't like the heat, you can't handle this job.

"Expectations are high, but if you don't like that, don't come," Orgeron said. "I do believe that they're fired about what's going on. It's the start of a new season."

LSU team now focused on the future, rather than the past.

"We'll take it one game at a time. We're going to believe in ourselves and go back to having fun playing football and winning in Tiger Stadium."

Offensively, LSU will look to spread the field a little bit more under Ensminger's direction and could see more sets with three and even four receivers.

"Without giving away our gameplan to the next opponent, we're going to spread it out a little bit. We're going to do some different things."

With Orgeron acknowledging teams loading up the box to stop Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice, Orgeron said LSU's tweaks will help quarterbacks get the ball down the field.

"We want to get more creative with the offense. We want to find ways for the quarterback to get the ball down the field throwing it. We want to make short, easy throws for our quarterbacks to make. You gotta score points, don't ya?" 

Orgeron hasn't been able to focus much yet on Misouri though.

"Our offense and defense are working on Missouri. I was working on getting the staff together. It will never be about our opponent, it will be about the LSU Tigers."

The goal is simple for Orgeron with this job.

"All I want to do is see them win and be happy."

Other notes, tidbits:

  • As far as how he wants his team to play, "Some freshness, some energy. We're going to flip the script. We're going to play for each other."
  • On clock management: "We are going to work very hard on that in practice. I will have someone in the press box that's specifically on clock management and game management."
  • On team discipline: "I'm going to coach my style. I've been accused of being too much of a disciplinarian. Being a defensive line coach, that's kind of natural. When they cross the line, you can't keep moving the line back."
  • On if Leonard Fournette might lose focus on the team: "I think that's the concept of team. He's totally in."
  • On players they're recruiting now versus last time he was head coach: "They want to dance around, they want to have fun. That's the guys we're coaching now."
  • On recruiting: "We were on the phone last night. We were passing the phone around and calling all of our recruits. They were sad, but they were very excited that I'm the interim head coach. The response was very positive."
  • Practice will be open to the media at times, Orgeron said. That's a big change from the Les Miles era.
  • Orgeron plans to spend less time on the field and more time in the meeting room to keep the team fresh.

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