Is LSU settling by hiring Steve Ensminger as its full-time OC?
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In what should go down as one of the great news dumps of all time, reports broke right around the time of kickoff of the national championship Monday night that LSU will promote tight ends coach Steve Ensminger to offensive coordinator to fill the vacancy left by recently dismissed coordinator Matt Canada. A former LSU quarterback and longtime college assistant, Ensminger notably served as the Tigers’ interim offensive coordinator after Cam Cameron’s dismissal in 2016.
As I’ll write more about later Tuesday on SEC Country, Ensminger is a fine choice to be the Tigers’ next offensive coordinator. His 2016 offenses averaged more yards and points per game than Canada’s or Cameron’s. But promoting Ensminger isn’t the sort of move a coach makes when he’s trying to inspire a fan base.
Which leads us to the big question: Did LSU coach Ed Orgeron promote Ensminger to find some fragment of stability or is this LSU settling for an internal candidate because no one else was biting? The way things ended with Canada looked ugly and it would be understandable if a high-level outside candidate didn’t want to take on that risk. But it’s also logical for Orgeron to stick with his guy and try to replicate the success from 2016.
Whichever way you slice it, Orgeron has been clear that he believes LSU should have the best coordinators in college football. In Ensminger, that isn’t the reality. He’s a fine coach, but he hasn’t been a full-time coordinator since the ’90s. This is Orgeron picking his guy instead of looking for the best one. Which, again, is fine.
But it’s hard to say it’s more than a settle job.
Neither of these decisions should come as surprises. Toliver is a former 5-star recruit and a 6-foot-3 cornerback. On athleticism alone, he belongs in the NFL. And Weathersby is a three-year contributor on the offensive line with NFL size and a long enough injury history to not risk coming back for a senior season when money is on the line.
Moreover, the Tigers have replacements in place for each of the two departures. Without Toliver, LSU can still rely on Greedy Williams, Kristian Fulton and Kary Vincent Jr. at cornerback, not to mention the chance that Donte Jackson returns for his senior season and that the Tigers bring in 5-star recruit Patrick Surtain Jr. At offensive tackle, LSU will return Saahdiq Charles and signed the top junior college recruit in the nation, Badara Traore.
Elsewhere in SEC
Here are five words no LSU fan wants to read: Alabama won another national championship.
The Crimson Tide topped the SEC champion Georgia Bulldogs in overtime Monday night to claim Nick Saban’s fifth national title in nine seasons. This is an unprecedented stretch in modern college football. Dating back to 2000, only Ohio State, LSU and Florida even have two. The Tide have five.
As you’d expect, this isn’t great for LSU fans. Out of more than 250 fans polled in the Bayou Bengal Briefing Monday, 81 percent said they were pulling for Georgia in the national title game. Eighty-one percent of fans must’ve felt gut-wrecked watching the way that game ended. It truly was a special play, though.
In case you missed it, here’s how it all went down:
What a game. What a finish.
Alabama does what Alabama does. pic.twitter.com/OITczvp4n1
— ESPN (@espn) January 9, 2018
Tweets of the night
Despite winning a national championship, Monday night was a rough one for Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos. He missed two critical field goals, including one as time expired in regulation that would have prevented overtime.
This led LSU running back Derrius Guice to tweet his thoughts about kickers and their practice habits.
See that’s why all these kickers shouldn’t be bullshitting at practice.
— 5⃣ (@DhaSickest) January 9, 2018
LSU punter Zach Von Rosenberg didn’t take that slight too kindly, pointing out Guice’s, shall we say, “less-than-stellar” practice habits.
Bruh.. 🙄 pic.twitter.com/V7EIL2HHty
— Zach Von Rosenberg (@ZVR09) January 9, 2018
Instead of fighting back, Guice responded in zen fashion.
Pick your battles buddy https://t.co/sd6mtWgktC
— 5⃣ (@DhaSickest) January 9, 2018
Way-too-early thoughts about the way-too-early Top 25
ESPN released its votes for the way-too-early Top 25 for next college football season, placing LSU at No. 23. When describing its rationale for putting the Tigers at No. 23, ESPN offered only negatives. Which is why SEC Country’s way-too-early Top 25 as compiled by Alex Hickey makes a little more sense. He left the Tigers off.
Don’t get me wrong. I think LSU will have one of the five best defenses in America in 2018. Dave Aranda’s unit will be as good as ever. But without knowing who LSU’s starting quarterback or running back will be, and with the Tigers having to face Alabama, Georgia, Auburn and Miami next season, it’s hard to project too much success.
Things will change. We’ll know more come spring and more than that after fall camp. But for now, there are too many question marks to list the Tigers as a top team.
Today in made-up holidays
According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Jan. 9 is “National Static Electricity Day.” It’s the day when we celebrate the charged shocks we get from transferring electrons. Or at least that’s my understanding of static electricity. I’m not going to purport to be a science guy.
But if you have some balloons or feel like touching cold metal, I’m sure you can experiment with static electricity. Or you can just watch this clip from early 2000s cartoon Static Shock, my favorite TV clip ever to laugh at randomly for no reason.
Nothing is more grounded in the ridiculous slang and pop culture references of my childhood than this silly clip. Makes me laugh so hard. No joke: I unironically reference the line “Chowing down with the Diesel? Phattest of the phat!” at least once a month.
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