For his first speech as LSU’s interim head football coach, Ed Orgeron brought a prop.
In his hands, he held a rope. He asked his players to come up and tug on the rope. And as they all tugged in different directions, nothing was achieved. But then he told them to all pull the same way. That was when things got moving.
“He kind of used the rope thing,” wide receiver Travin Dural said. “Everybody pulling in different directions, it’s not going to work. We have to come together as a team and be going in the same direction.”
To Dural, the Tigers hadn’t done this through the their first four games. Individuals have been playing selfishly, not as a team. And too much of that behavior led to losses.
“A couple of us might’ve been looking on to the NFL. A couple of us might’ve just been worried about stats. That kind of hurt us. It showed,” Dural said. “A couple of guys missed assignments trying to do too much. But moving forward, I think we’ll have a new outlook on things.”
That new outlook is where Orgeron comes in. A veteran defensive coach, Orgeron was the head coach at Ole Miss from 2005 to 2007, where he amassed a 10-25 record. Additionally, this won’t be Orgeron’s first time serving as an interim head coach, as in 2013 Orgeron took over for Lane Kiffin at USC and led the Trojans to a 6-2 record.
A Louisiana native, Orgeron is known as a talented recruiter and a vocal coach. That vocal nature seems to be what piqued the interest of LSU athletic director Joe Alleva who, according to safety Jamal Adams, said that the team was in need of “more energy.”
The players seem to have the same confidence in Orgeron that Alleva does. Dural said that while he’s never really spoken to Orgeron at length, he’s often impressed watching the way “Coach O” teaches his defensive linemen. Junior running back Leonard Fournette, who also hasn’t had to spend much time with Orgeron, has been equally impressed with his coaching style.
“Since I was in high school, Coach O has always been a great coach,” Fournette said. “And I believe he has the will and the power to do it.”
Moving on and blocking out the noise surrounding Les Miles’ dismissal will be difficult, but one of the messages that Orgeron relayed to the team is that this needs to happen. Beyond that, the Tigers need to leave their heartbreaking loss to Auburn on Saturday in the past, too, even if that one-second loss might ultimately have been the tipping point that led to Miles being fired.
Because that loss was a loss. It’s over. Now it’s time for the Tigers to win the next one. And moving forward, the one after that.
“We’re going to move forward like Coach O said,” Adams said. “We’re going to put that in the past. And we’re going to make a run.”