ATLANTA — Ed Orgeron has often purported himself to be a far better coach today thanks to lessons learned during his disastrous tenure at Ole Miss.
That may be the case, but as one reporter noted at Southeastern Conference Media Days on Monday, Orgeron parted ways with offense coordinator Matt Canada after one season at LSU just like he did with Noel Mazzone after his inaugural season in Oxford.
The question was as follows, essentially: how was replacing Canada with Steve Ensminger last winter different than replacing Mazzone with Dan Werner after one year on the job?
“Here’s the deal: it’s tough when you make a mistake,” Orgeron said. “It’s even tougher not to admit that you made a mistake, and it just wasn’t a good fit. And I had to do what I thought was best for the LSU program, and that’s why I did it.”
That’s about as directly as Orgeron has addressed Canada’s departure since the two sides mutually agreed to part ways in early January.
Canada agreed to step away after the first year of a three-year contract with LSU reportedly on the hook for roughly $1.7 million of the $3 million it owed the former play caller. Both sides also signed an agreement not to disparage the other once terms of the separation were finalized.
The former Wisconsin and North Carolina State coordinator has since been hired at Maryland. He took the job within weeks of his separation from LSU becoming official.
Orgeron also mentioned offensive style as a determining factor in his decision to switch coordinators. Ensminger is implementing a spread offense based around three- and four-receiver sets as compared to the shift- and motion-heavy scheme implemented by Canada.
While the finer points of Ensminger’s attack have yet to become clear, Orgeron and Ensminger have described it as a modern take on the offenses utilized by USC and Miami during Orgeron’s respective tenures at those schools.
“It’s an offense I’m used to,” Orgeron said. “It’s an offense we won national championships with.”
On the topic of new offenses, Orgeron announced that LSU wouldn’t be closing down fall practices from the media as it did last season.
The coach said that LSU would allow reporters to watch individual drills at the start of each practice, just as they were during spring football. That wasn’t the case as LSU implemented Canada’s offense last August.
“We’re going to have the same media allotment that we had in the spring,” the coach explained. “We’re not going to have closed practices like we had last year. We’re going to let you guys come in for a certain amount of the day. We’re not going to close it like we did last year.”
Orgeron continued: “I want to keep it open. We have a different coordinator now. We’re doing individual during individual periods where y’all are only going to see individual. Last year, there was times we were doing team stuff during individuals. I couldn’t let y’all in.”