BATON ROUGE – A salesman’s motto is, “Always be closing.” A college football coach’s motto is, “Always be recruiting.”
LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron took that to heart last Thursday when he learned the Tigers would not be playing at Florida as that game was postponed indefinitely partly because of Hurricane Matthew. He drew up a game plan that night, and most of his staff hit the recruiting trail Friday morning.
“We just finished a fantastic weekend,” Orgeron said Monday at his weekly press luncheon. “We had eight coaches out on the road recruiting on Friday, went to some games Friday night. It was a tremendous reception. It was fun going around the state of Louisiana and other places being the head coach at LSU. It was really a fun day.”
Orgeron, 55, has been recruiting Louisiana for most of his collegiate coaching career through stops at Northwestern State, McNeese State, Arkansas, Miami, Nicholls State, Syracuse, USC, Ole Miss and Tennessee. In all, he hit 10 high schools over the weekend.
“I saw a lot of friends of mine at those schools,” he said. “High fives from everybody. ‘Hey coach, way to go. We like the way the team played. Coach, can I take a picture?’ It was amazing. The fans were going crazy. It was wild. Everything was positive, and I did my regular recruiting deal. Obviously, I couldn’t talk to the players (no contact period at the moment). I went to get evaluations, transcripts, just business as usual. But it was the LSU head coach there, and I realized that. People were excited to see the LSU head coach. It was a great day.”
LSU has 19 commitments for the class of 2017 and is ranked No. 4 by Rivals.com.
Orgeron particularly enjoyed recruiting to LSU as a head coach instead of against it as he did at Ole Miss from 2005-07.
“I’ve recruited this state for a long time, and I’m glad to be wearing purple and gold recruiting it,” he said. “I’m friends with most of these guys (high school coaches in Louisiana). They understand. Most of these guys I’ve been in clinics with. Most of these guys have come by our camp. I think having a personal relationship with most of these coaches really helps. You can just feel their happiness that a Louisiana guy is coaching the team.”
FRIENDLY SCOUTING REPORT: Orgeron has a friend helping him with the game plan for Southern Mississippi, which will play at Tiger Stadium Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.
USM lost, 55-32, on Saturday at Texas San Antonio, which is coached by former LSU recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Frank Wilson. When Orgeron was Ole Miss’ head coach from 2005-07, Wilson was his running backs and special teams coach. Wilson was also a receivers coach at Tennessee in 2009 when Orgeron was there. Wilson was at LSU from 2010-15 before heading to San Antonio.
“I did talk to Coach Frank,” Orgeron said. “I watched his game, especially liked the way his offense had some explosive plays. I talk to him every Sunday. He did warn me that those guys are going to be ready to play.”
ANOTHER LSU-FLORIDA SCENARIO: There is a way LSU and Florida could play on November 19 and the Tigers would not lose their home date with South Alabama, which is currently scheduled for November 19.
Brett McMurphy of ESPN wrote Tuesday a scenario that could work if the Sun Belt Conference agrees to move some games around that would accommodate LSU hosting South Alabama on LSU’s open date of October 29. Then the Tigers could play at Florida on November 19. South Alabama would have to move its home game on October 29 with Georgia State to November 19. And Georgia State would have to move its November 19 home game against Georgia Southern to November 26, which is open for both.
Or South Alabama would move its October 29 game with Georgia State to South Alabama’s open date on November 12. Georgia State would then have to move its November 12 home game against Louisiana-Monroe to November 26, which is open for both of those teams.
If this happens, LSU would play Alabama on November 5 without an open date beforehand, but the Tigers have lost five straight to the Tide after not playing the week prior anyway. It would also mean three straight SEC road games for the Tigers – at Arkansas on November 12, at Florida on November 19 and at Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night, November 24, unless the SEC gets that game moved to November 26, which is a possibility.
3 STRAIGHT ROAD GAMES HISTORY: The last time the Tigers played three road games in three weeks was in late September and early October of 1988. All three were not SEC games, but it was just as difficult. LSU won, 34-9, at Tennessee, lost, 36-33, at No. 18 Ohio State and lost, 19-6, at No. 17 Florida before returning home to beat No. 4 Auburn, 7-6, in the “Earthquake Game.”
The last time LSU played three SEC road games in three weeks was in October and November of 1957. The Tigers went 0-for-3, losing 22-14 at No. 10 Florida, 7-0 at Vanderbilt and 14-12 at No. 14 Ole Miss.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “They were like, ‘What?’”
---LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron on the reaction of his players Thursday when he told them their game at Florida was not going to be played last weekend.