BATON ROUGE, La. — No one can turn a phrase quite like LSU coach Ed Orgeron.
There’s something about Orgeron’s snarly Cajun twang that’s capable of entertaining everyone listening, from fans to broadcasters and everywhere in between. But in between the growls and the folksy food references, Orgeron has moments of incisive clarity, and moments where he tells jokes stand-up comedians would be jealous of.
So, for your reading pleasures, here are the top 10 Ed Orgeron quotes of 2017. Feel free to read along with the accent in your head.
“I think he’s questionable for a questionable amount of time.” — Oct. 16, 2017
If LSU had an injured player in 2017, there was only one way to describe him: questionable. Anything from a bruised finger to a torn knee earned a questionable grade. It’s Orgeron’s go-to word. And nowhere was this more obvious than with senior tackle K.J. Malone, the only player to earn a double questionable distinction.
“No, I’m punting. I want to keep this job.” — Sept. 11, 2017
When Orgeron was the coach at Ole Miss a decade ago, he lost his job in part thanks to a questionable decision he made to go for a fourth-and-1 leading by 14 points instead of punting the ball away. State scored 17 unanswered points after the stuff, winning the game and ending Orgeron’s tenure in Oxford.
A decade later, Orgeron was asked if he’d do things differently heading into his first tilt versus Mississippi State as LSU’s coach. The answer was an unequivocal yes.
“I wish Tyler Shelvin was eligible and 40 pounds lighter. I don’t know which one would be easier.” — Sept. 18, 2017
Going into the offseason, Orgeron was banking on having depth on his defensive line in the form of massive freshman Tyler Shelvin. Shelvin wasn’t able to academically qualify, forcing him to redshirt.
Midway through the season, Orgeron lamented about his inability to put Shelvin into games. And, apparently, his hope for Shelvin to shed a few pounds in the process.
“I’ll play Rocky Top — we’ll get tired of hearing Rocky Top all week. Although, it was a good song and I enjoyed it while I was there.” — Nov. 13, 2017
Orgeron knows how to prepare his team for noise. Earlier in the season, he admits he pulls John Deere tractors right behind his offense as it practices with speakers on the tractors blaring music at full volume.
But an opposing coach admitting to enjoying Rocky Top? That’s unheard of. Unless you’re Orgeron, of course.
“Wednesday night we’re going to have a team dinner. Sharon is going to have the menu. I’ll tell you a funny story. We had baked chicken on there and Coach [Pete] Jenkins goes: Think we can give them fried chicken? I think Coach Pete wanted fried chicken… They got fried chicken. Fried chicken makes them happy, they get it.” — Nov. 20, 2017
Orgeron’s two favorite topics of conversation? Food and defensive line coach Pete Jenkins. You mix them together and you get the story of the year: a 76-year old defensive line coach requesting fried chicken for Thanksgiving dinner.
The menu bent toward Jenkins’ whim. He and his defensive linemen had their chicken fried on the Wednesday before the Texas A&M game.
“I’m going to leave that totally up to him. And, again, I will say this, I stepped in last time for the first time. And I wanted to simplify things in order for us to have less penalties, better execution. At halftime he felt like he needed to shift and motion more, which he did. And that’s totally his option. This is totally his offense.” — Oct. 2, 2017
After LSU’s surprising loss to Troy Week 5, Orgeron relented control. He felt he was meddling in offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s scheme too much. He hired Canada to run the offense, so he was going to let him do that.
This was the turning point. Not just for LSU’s offense, but for LSU’s season as a whole. If it wasn’t for Orgeron backing down, who knows what LSU’s season would’ve ended up looking like.
“We said we’ll have to block out the noise. There will be circumstances, there will be weather. And, boy, was there. And I’m telling you coming out of the second half, I thought I was down in the Bayou for a hurricane or something.” — Nov. 20, 2017
LSU’s game versus Tennessee in Knoxville was one of the most bizarre spectacles of the 2017 season. Cameras and lights went out, forcing the TV broadcast to film from the sideline. Winds were so strong that they moved the football while it was laying on the ground. Returners were more likely to find Bigfoot than kickoffs or punts in the air.
And in the middle of it was Orgeron, grinning from ear to ear. But this wasn’t his only great quote about that rainy day. His best one, of course, came from the tunnel after halftime.
“You’ve just got to love football, man. It’s like playing football when you’re a little kid in the backyard. Geaux Tigers.” — Nov. 18, 2017
Orgeron’s most viral moment of 2017 came as the rain was beating down the hardest. Being interviewed by ESPN after halftime, Orgeron screamed and strained while his players hooted behind him. The words don’t do this quote justice.
You’re just going to have to watch this one yourself.
— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) November 19, 2017
“I used to stop at the Exxon and get a chicken on a stick, and they were fantastic. I hope that cook is still there, and I can stop and say hello to her. That’s about all I remember. Yeah, chicken on a stick. It was phenomenal. The best I ever had. Not better than Raising Cane’s!” — Oct. 16, 2017
Did we mention Orgeron likes food?
When asked if he kept in contact with anyone from his Oxford days leading into the Ole Miss game, Orgeron waxed poetic about the best chicken on a stick he ever tasted. Never mind the fact that the establishment in question is a Chevron, not an Exxon. Orgeron’s taste buds are his last connection to Mississippi.
Let him have that one.
“We’re coming. We’re coming. And we ain’t backing down.” — Nov. 4, 2017
In 2016, Orgeron had “One team, one heartbeat.” That was his rallying cry as an interim coach. After losing to Alabama in 2017, Coach O found a new rallying cry: We’re coming.
Beware all fans of other SEC programs. Orgeron wants you to know that he thinks LSU is on its way up. Gunning for Alabama. Gunning for SEC titles. Gunning for everything.
This is his message from 2017. If there’s one quote to remember, this one is it.