The Ed Orgeron era seems to be coming out of its heyday.
After LSU lost to Auburn in Death Valley for the first time since 1999, fans are a little frustrated with the sixth-year head coach. LSU is barely sitting above .500 after their 15-0 national championship season back in 2019, and the train seems to be continuously slowing down.
There has been obvious regression on both sides of the ball, and little effort seems to have been made to change things around Baton Rouge. LSU can’t afford another breakeven season.
Unfortunately, the Tigers are staring a very tough schedule in the face. Their next five opponents are a combined 20-5. The road ahead looks grim for LSU if they can’t get things together.
Here are three reasons why changes should be made in Baton Rouge.
Orgeron is now whiffing on coordinator hires
AP Photo/Matthew Hinton
In 2017 one of Orgeron’s first significant hires was offensive coordinator Matt Canada. He was let go after one slightly less than average season. Dave Aranda was also hired in 2017 and never had a terrible defense.
However, his numbers continued to slide before he took the head coaching position at Baylor in 2020. In 2018, Steve Ensminger was promoted to offensive coordinator and then split time with Joe Brady in 2019. Ensminger moved to an offensive analyst role this offseason after retiring as an offensive coordinator.
Looking back, Bo Pelini was a terrible hire in 2020, and Joe Burrow wasn’t a product of the Ensminger or Joe Brady offense, but rather the two coaches benefited from being the product of a Joe Burrow-led team. So far through 2021, Daronte Jones and Jake Peetz have done nothing to flip the script on LSU’s disappointing 2020 season.
Orgeron is making changes, but they haven’t worked out in his favor outside of when Joe Burrow was on the field. Does this program want to wait around until either Orgeron finds the right coordinators or picks up another Joe Burrow?
Next, was 2019 the fluke?
The 2019 season looks like a fluke now that everybody is gone
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LSU is 8-7 (5-6 in SEC play) since the national championship in 2019. When all of the faces that made that title team special left, it was up to Orgeron to bring in new recruits and coaches to keep things afloat. Instead, LSU has been mediocre on both sides of the ball and hasn’t been able to get over the hump.
Mediocrity at a place like LSU isn’t acceptable. Not with all of the talent on the roster. LSU can’t continue to recruit that the level that they traditionally have and not put out a .500+ product on the field. That’s a result of bad coaching, and at the end of the day, it reflects on the man at the top.
Finally, is this a path of self-destruction?
LSU may be on a path they can’t recover from
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
Look around the SEC West. Alabama is thriving. Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss have figured things out. Texas A&M is consistent (well, maybe not this year). Auburn is on the rise with Bryan Harsin at the helm. Arkansas rose to heights that almost nobody thought they could. Even Mississippi State has seemed to have shaken off the first-year slump under Mike Leach.
If Orgeron continues to trend down, even for another year, LSU could find themselves in a position that would be hard to recover from. The SEC takes its lumps every third or fourth year, but the conference has shown no overall signs of slowing down. LSU, one of the most prestigious universities in the Southeastern Conference, can’t afford to get lost in the shuffle as other programs in their own division seem to be trending upward.
Now could a coaching change push LSU to the brink if they don’t hire the right guy? It could, but the program is already sliding now. It’s hard to just sit around and wait for LSU to pick it back up.