Jimbo Fisher is in Ed Orgeron’s shadow one more time
The LSU-Texas A&M game features the man who always wanted to be the LSU coach and the man who always seemed destined to be the LSU coach.
After Saturday, presumably, neither one will be the Tigers’ coach.
On Saturday, Jimbo Fisher will be in Ed Orgeron’s shadow.
Fisher’s Texas A&M team will be facing Orgeron’s LSU team and the spotlight will be on Orgeron because it’s his final game in Tiger Stadium.
It’s appropriate that Fisher is the other coach on this occasion because Fisher seemingly has shadowed Orgeron throughout Orgeron’s tenure with the Tigers – and even before it began.
Fisher didn’t plan it that way and Orgeron certainly didn’t.
But that’s the way it worked out.
Orgeron was LSU’s defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator in 2015 when the university was poised to fire Orgeron’s boss – Les Miles – after the season finale against the Aggies in Tiger Stadium.
Fisher, who was Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the Tigers from 2000-06, wasn’t on the visitor’s sideline that night because he was still the head coach at Florida State.
But as Miles’ firing was being contemplated amid the head coach’s first 3-game losing streak, Fisher was on a short list of potential replacements for Orgeron’s boss.
Then LSU beat A&M 19-7, fans chanted Miles’ name in support of him and his players carried him off the field.
Moments later Miles was being told he would remain head coach, but after a 2-2 start in 2016, Miles was indeed fired and Orgeron was named interim head coach.
At the end of that season, unsure if Orgeron was the man for the full-time job, the Tigers pursued Fisher and Tom Herman but neither jumped at the opportunity and Orgeron got his dream job.
It seemed like LSU wanted Fisher more than it wanted Orgeron, but Fisher was still with the Seminoles.
And Orgeron, who grew up in Larose, La., as a fan of the Tigers and spent his early coaching career coveting the top job at his state’s flagship university, had his dream job.
Fisher finally did leave the Seminoles, joining the Aggies for the 2018 season.
Meanwhile, Orgeron’s Tigers had satisfactory but not great seasons in 2017 and 2018 before winning the national championship in 2019.
And less than 2 years later, here we are.
After a 5-5 season last year and a disappointing start to this season, Orgeron was bought out – but allowed to finish the season, which figures to end Saturday but conceivably could stretch into a bowl game if this Tigers team does for Orgeron what the 2015 Tigers did for Miles.
Of course, the first name to surface among potential successors to Orgeron was Fisher, who was finally lured from Florida State by Scott Woodward, who was the A&M AD before becoming AD at LSU.
Fisher’s ties to LSU and Woodward and the absence of buyout at A&M made Fisher the logical front-runner to succeed Orgeron. The Tigers already are on the hook for more than $17 million for Orgeron and millions more for his staff, so anything other than a minimal buyout for a successor isn’t feasible.
But Fisher is still an Aggie and he made it clear last week that he would have to be “stupid” to abandon what he has built in College Station as well as an outstanding incoming freshman class to finally return to Baton Rouge.
LSU is the job Orgeron always wanted and he let it slip through his fingers after 5 full seasons.
It’s also the job that has been linked to Fisher since almost as soon as he left in 2007 to become the offensive coordinator and ultimately heir apparent to Bobby Bowden at Florida State that Fisher seems destined not to have.
LSU is poised to move on from Ed Orgeron on Saturday night, or after a bowl game shortly thereafter.
And perhaps it’s finally time to move on from Jimbo Fisher.