Ed Orgeron
Jonathan Bachman: Getty Images

Ed Orgeron And LSU To Part Ways After 2021, Who Should They Hire?

The SEC motto, “it just means more” continues to ring true. On Sunday, it was announced that two years after going 15-0, winning the National Championship, and coaching one of the best college teams ever assembled, Ed Orgeron and LSU have agreed to part ways after the 2021 season. Orgeron will finish coaching this season and will have his contract bought out. LSU sits at 4-3 and if they were to make a bowl game, Orgeron would serve as the head coach.

When you look at Orgeron’s resume in a vacuum, it is pretty damn impressive. Coach O is 49-17 in his six years at LSU including a 31-14 record over SEC opponents. Despite having early success at LSU, Orgeron and the Tigers are 9-8 since winning the National Championship. When you look at his resume through an SEC lens, a five hundred record in two years is not going to cut it at one of the nation’s largest football powers in the best conference.

After the announcement was made on Sunday night, many stories arose regarding Orgeron’s coaching style, how his personal life affected the football program, and a slew of other distractions. After winning the National Championship, Orgeron and his late wife got a divorce. Coach O reportedly Orgeron brought his new girlfriends to practice and would let their kids participate in various drills. The Athletic did a piece on Orgeron and how he lost himself after the 2019 Natty. The article included several stories and quotes detailing Orgeron’s behavior in 2019. The story below is one of many.

I would say hitting on the pregnant wife of a high-ranking LSU official is not the best look for your head coach who is supposed to be a leader of young men. His massive personality and simplistic view of football are great for the sport but can be distracting. Coach O is not your typical head coach, Orgeron adds value to a program through recruiting and motivational tactics. We see coaches like this all the time, coaches who would be considered motivators rather than pure scheme guys. Urban Meyer and John Harbaugh all fall under this category, they rely on their personality and hiring smart offensive and defensive coordinators. As Harbaugh has Don Martindale and Greg Roman in Baltimore, Orgeron had Joe Brady and Dave Aranda in 2019. At the end of the day, Ed Orgeron is not an SEC-level head coach, plain and simple.

Who Should LSU Go After?

It was announced that Ed Orgeron will be bought out of his current contract by LSU, the school will pay Orgeron $17M in total with installments being paid every six months until December of 2025, according to Zach Barnett. Now that LSU is in the coaching market, who are the potential candidates and who should they aggressively go after? What a time to be alive, LSU and USC both looking for new coaches and the 2021 season is not even over. Unlike USC where I think there needs to be work done before they can start competing, LSU is ready to go and they’re ready to go now. LSU seems to be able to recruit players from just about wherever they want, a luxury only a few schools have. We see USC consistently lose more California football players to SEC schools, that would have never happened when Pete Carrol was there.

LSU’s obvious choice would be Jimbo Fisher. Jimbo is an elite college coach and has had success almost everywhere he goes. Fisher also served as Saban’s OC on the 2003 National Championship LSU and although that was over 15 years ago, has a familiarity with the program. Jimbo’s buy-out is around $90M making it one of the largest in the nation, if Texas A&M were to fire Fisher without cause they would owe him the full amount. However, because A&M was so desperate to get Jimbo from FSU at the time, the workings of the contract are very one-sided favoring Fisher. The school would be liable to pay out the massive sum if they were to fire Fisher but at any point, Jimbo can leave A&M for no financial penalty and chose his next job. Still not sure I fully understand it but that is the SEC for you.

In my eyes, there are two guys I am going at and I am going at them hard; Joe Brady and Lane Kiffin. I don’t think Luke Fickell would leave Cincinnati unless Ohio State came knocking and James Franklin has had a ton of success at Penn State. As I mentioned before, Brady served as the OC for LSU in 2019 and called plays for one of the most explosive offensives the sport has ever seen. Kiffin has come into his own and has had success at both FAU and now at Ole Miss. Like Joe Brady, Lane Kiffin is an elite offensive play-caller and is one of the best offensive minds in college football.

While Brady might be the safer option in terms of personality and lack of distractions, Brady has never served as a head coach at any level. Lane has extensive experience as a head coach for big-time programs, while they may not have ended well, Kiffin’s experience is unquestioned. I also think Brady will be in line for several NFL head coaching jobs so if LSU truly wants Brady they better get ready for a bidding war.

LSU is a top-five job college football, the Tigers have a huge decision to make in deciding its next head coach. Coach O will be missed. Geaux Tigers.

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