For the third straight year, the storyline is the same for the LSU-Texas A&M game — the presumption is that one coach is going home and never coming back.
In 2015, it was Les Miles who was on the chopping block, reportedly already fired when the Tigers and Aggies kicked off. As the news traveled around Tiger Stadium, the game turned into a “Save Les” rally. The Tigers won 19-7, and Miles was carried off the field.
The optics of firing him at that point became impossible, and athletic director Joe Alleva was stuck waiting to do it until four games into the 2016 season.
Last year, reports mounted during the LSU-A&M game that Texas coach Tom Herman would be taking over the LSU program in the place of interim coach Ed Orgeron.
Orgeron credited Miles during Wednesday’s SEC Coaches teleconference for preparing him with how to handle the same situation.
“The focus with Coach Miles was all on winning the game,” Orgeron said. “Last year, we blocked out the noise. I used what I learned from Coach Miles to block out the noise and focus on the task at hand.”
Now the Tigers will have to do the same thing, but for different reasons. It’s already been reported that this will be Sumlin’s last game coaching A&M, and chances are the Aggies will be playing with a little extra fire.
“I know they are going to play and coach their best game. But that’s out of our hands. We have to focus on us,” Orgeron said. “I wish the best of Kevin Sumlin. He’s a good man. I know a lot of coaches on that staff. They do a good job. That’s stuff I try to stay out of.
“Coach Miles, two years ago we won the game and saved his job. This is something where I have to focus on the LSU football team and us only.”