Ed Orgeron, for whatever reason, is still standing on the sidelines as the head coach of the LSU Tigers.
When he met with LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward on Oct. 10, Orgeron was told he would not return as the head coach. He’s gone in four games.
It has been written he will get an almost $17 million buyout, and that he is taking a year off once the season is finished.
During their talk, Woodward, a much respected administrator, agreed to let him finish the season.
Keep in mind, this is the same school that has kept Will Wade as its basketball coach despite his being part of a federal investigation that has cost several coaches their job.
Maybe basketball really isn’t that important. The team plays in arguably the worst arena, named after one of the greatest players ever — Pete Maravich — in the SEC.
Football is the breadwinner.
It is the Purple Passion that drives the purple passion.
No one has seemed surprised that Orgeron, less than two years removed from a 15-0 season and the national championship, was terminated.
Some say he changed after that 2019 season.
He paid less attention to details and the players.
It would be hard to defend that.
After Kentucky rushed for 330 yards in a 42-21 win, Orgeron said he didn’t know they ran the ball that well.
Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez was and is the leading rusher in the SEC.
Maybe Orgeron was on the phone or getting coffee when the discussion of how to stop Rodriguez came up.
One thing is for sure: Orgeron has handled his dismissal cooly.
He didn’t threaten anyone. He didn’t scream at anyone. He didn’t throw anything.
Just said he had agreed to the buyout.
No doubt he’s worth more to LSU fired than hired.
Plus, it is familiar territory for him. Orgeron has had two head coaching jobs in the SEC, Mississippi being the first, and he’s been fired both times.
The talk after the news leaked about his departure was immediately about his lack of control of his team on and off the field. There are several reported cases of him mishandling sexual assault cases.
Then the conversation changed to who will be the next coach.
The Southern Cal job is already open, so names were flowing freely especially about Cincinnati Coach Luke Fickell, who has the Bearcats 7-0 and ranked No. 2 in the nation.
Throw out his first season at Cincinnati and Fickell is 44-13.
Of course, one of the debates is which job is better: USC or LSU?
The jobs are pretty equal, top five or six in the country for recruiting, resources and tradition, although Louisiana turns out more NFL players per capita than any other state.
Baton Rouge has stately oak trees and Los Angeles has strip malls.
Slow traffic in Baton Rouge is 35 mph, and in LA it is a complete standstill.
Quality of life counts, and LSU sits in the middle of one of best kept secrets for that in the country.
Naturally, Jimbo Fisher’s name has come up at LSU. He was a popular assistant there and Woodward was the one who lured him to Texas A&M.
Penn State’s James Franklin might have been in the conversation until his nine-overtime loss to Illinois.
There are others, and don’t overlook Urban Meyer, head coach of the 1-5 Jacksonville Jaguars. Meyer may be looking for a way out of there after a recent video showed him partying while his team was flying home.
To make sense of all that is going on at LSU, one has to believe Woodward already has his man, otherwise he wouldn’t have fired Orgeron halfway through the season and let him remain the coach.