Tell the Truth Monday: LSU job is very good, but it's not a premier job
There’s a lot to examine on this Tell the Truth Monday.
First, of course, is the truth that Ed Orgeron, the guy who brought Tell the Truth Monday to LSU, will not coach the Tigers beyond the end of this season.
The truth is Orgeron was the right man for the job when Les Miles was fired 4 games into the 2016 season and that’s why he was picked as interim coach.
It’s also true that Orgeron was the right man to get the full-time gig after the 2016 season even though either Jimbo Fisher or Tom Herman could have had it.
It was clear that Orgeron was the right man for the job when he led the Tigers to the 2019 CFP championship.
Only 4 men have ever coached LSU to a national championship – Orgeron, Paul Dietzel, Nick Saban and Les Miles.
Orgeron’s championship team – a 15-0 season, record-setting offense, unusually challenging schedule and unusually large margin of victories, Heisman Trophy winner by a record margin (Joe Burrow) – had as remarkable a season as any college football team ever.
A truth that shouldn’t be overlooked is that Tigers supporters should always be grateful to Orgeron and respectful to him for that 2019 season.
But it’s also true that Orgeron’s guidance of the program ever since that championship has demonstrated that he no longer is the right man for the job.
And there’s more truth as we look forward to the post-Orgeron era.
The LSU football head coaching position is a good job, a really good job. But it’s not the premier job that a few of the Tigers’ most passionate supporters like to believe it is.
In fact, it’s not as good a job as Orgeron himself believes it is. It’s his dream job. He would have been happy to keep that job until he was ready to retire.
But few others would feel the same way.
LSU will get a good coach to replace Orgeron. But the replacement won’t be from Larose, La., as Orgeron is, and won’t have the personal affinity for the program that he has.
The new coach will be someone making a business decision, not someone fulfilling a lifelong dream.
They will be accepting the LSU job because it will be an upgrade from whatever their current situation is, because it will pay them more money than they are currently making, because of the built-in recruiting advantage at the flagship university in as fertile a recruiting state per capita as there is in the country and because competing in the SEC is a very attractive challenge.
That’s all good stuff that gives athletic director Scott Woodward a lot to work with.
But Woodward’s predecessor, Joe Alleva, had essentially the same assets to work with after the 2016 season and Fisher preferred staying at Florida State to returning to LSU (where had been an assistant under Saban and Miles) and Herman preferred Texas to LSU.
Woodward, who lured Fisher to Texas A&M after the 2017 season and earlier lured Chris Petersen to Washington from Boise State, is known as “a big-game hunter.”
He recently hired Hall of Fame coach Kim Mulkey away from Baylor to take over the Tigers’ moribund women’s basketball program.
He aimed high, missed and still did pretty good when he hired Jay Johnson from Arizona to be his baseball coach.
This is the biggest prize the big-game hunter will ever go after at LSU.
He won’t shy away from anyone he wants. He’s not afraid to be turned down – and he might well be.
In fact, he might be turned down multiple times and discover – as Alleva did 4 years ago – that the best football coaches in the country don’t automatically knock on LSU’s door, begging for a chance to be interviewed.
But Woodward isn’t shy about knocking on anyone’s door or calling anyone’s phone.
Here are 6 targets that Woodward might be eyeing:
Woodward was AD at Washington and hired Petersen away from Boise State after the 2013 season.
When it comes to balancing on-field success with an absence of off-the-field baggage, Petersen is as good a candidate as there is.
Is he ready to return to coaching after walking away from Huskies after the 2019 season? If so, is he ready to head south from where his comfort zone is?
LSU is dealing with multiple scandals and a boring winner might be just what the Tigers need.
But is it what they want?
Does LSU have the money to match what Fisher has been making with the Aggies ever since Woodward hired him?
The tenure of Fisher being a perceived candidate with the Tigers is longer than a lot of head-coaching tenures. He might have gotten the job after the 2015 season if Miles hadn’t miraculously saved his job (briefly) in a victory over Texas A&M in the regular-season finale
Brady’s role in the 2019 season as a rookie passing game coordinator would make him a popular choice.
But LSU hired him away from the New Orleans Saints and lost him to the Carolina Panthers. He might be content to pursue his next job in the NFL.
It would be interesting to see what Riley would choose if presented with the options of competing in the SEC with the Sooners or the Tigers.
He might also be eyeing the NFL for his next stop.
But he’s definitely big game.
That was a nice win that Meyer’s Jacksonville Jaguars had over the Dolphins on Sunday in London.
But he might be having second thoughts about the whole NFL thing, and the Jaguars might be having second thoughts about the whole Meyer thing after his recent viral video.
The head coach at Cincinnati doesn’t usually qualify as big game.
But this is different.
The Bearcats are No. 2 in the country and will be in the CFP if they win out.
Fickell’s attractiveness will never be higher, and he is the hottest prospect among non-Power 5 coaches.
Now would be the optimal time for Fickell to move and LSU might be the best opportunity available in this cycle.