BATON ROUGE – Close your eyes and imagine it is a year ago when then-LSU coach Les Miles was about to be fired, and someone tells you that the next coach is going to be LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron.
Now, open your eyes.
Orgeron – a career journeyman coach, a failed head coach and a somewhat successful short term head coach at USC and LSU – is LSU’s next football coach.
“I’m the search,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said two months ago after firing Miles.
“I’m worried,” I said.
Well, I’m still worried.
Alleva first started looking for a new head football coach more than a year ago and started thinking about looking for a new head football coach when he came here in 2008. And this is it?
This is an embarrassment.
Texas’ search and hire lasted a few days, and it’s going to get the coach LSU has been thinking about maybe hiring for two months – Houston’s Tom Herman, a bright rising star at 41.
Herman could have been LSU’s first true offensive head coach hire in history. Instead, it hired a defensive line coach whose new offense got shut out against Alabama, which allowed an average of 36 points to Ole Miss and Arkansas this season, and managed three points through more than a dozen goal-line plays in a 16-10 loss to Florida two weeks ago.
According to Kirk Bohls, an extremely credible reporter who covers Texas for the Austin American-Statesman, Herman’s agent Trace Armstrong told LSU it could hire Herman for $6 million. “And LSU said no,” Armstrong said, according to Bohls.
Maybe, that’s not true. Herman, who coached at four Texas colleges (Texas as a graduate assistant, Sam Houston State, Texas State and Rice) before becoming Houston’s head coach two years ago, was probably going to Texas no matter what LSU offered. But LSU should have offered the $6 million or $7 million.
And LSU should have offered Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher $8 million. He may still have stayed, but you have to get the money out there. You have to try.
But LSU did not max out. Instead, in the end, it took a Black Friday approach to this search and ended up with a bargain, but this could be a nightmare in the long run.
Orgeron’s yearly salary will be about $3.5 million, which means LSU will save $1 million the coaching swap between Orgeron and Miles. And Orgeron can throw a large salary at Alabama offensive coordinator and old USC buddy Lane Kiffin, who makes $1.4 million at Alabama. LSU now has a lot of money left over. It does not owe Orgeron a…