NEW ORLEANS — Ed Orgeron vowed to look at any and all options when it came to the controversial targeting suspension on star linebacker Devin White.
Orgeron, and more directly, LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva, spent hours working the phones in search of relief from the Southeastern Conference. As of Tuesday morning, LSU has accepted that it won’t have its All-American linebacker for the first half of its game against No. 1 Alabama next weekend.
“I think we did all we could,” Orgeron told reporters at the New Orleans QB Club Tuesday. “Joe Alleva was on the phone with Commissioner (Greg) Sankey as soon as the game was over. He tried everything that we can, but as far as we know now, it’s going to stand and it’s done with. So that’s all I know.”
The coach had refrained from criticizing the call after LSU’s 19-3 win against Mississippi State, but have thoroughly reviewed the tape, Orgeron offered a far more candid take on the call that got White ejected and suspended.
His message was pretty clear, whether addressing reporters or the assembled crowd at the Rock ‘N Bowl in Uptown New Orleans: he didn’t agree with the call, but the last thing he wants his team to do is use it as an excuse.
“I think it was a very unfair call,” Orgeron said. “I don’t think targeting should have been called. I think he tried to pull off, and I think it’s a very stiff penalty. Now I understand the targeting rule, and I’m all for it, but I think that (call) should have been overturned. He did not try to hit him with his head. He put his hands in front.
“But it’s the rule, so we have to move forward. We can’t blink. Somebody is going to have to step up.”
As for who steps in alongside Jacob Phillips against Alabama, Orgeron said the decision will be made by defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
Sophomore Patrick Queen and freshmen Micah Baskerville and Damone Clark will compete in practice through the bye week and into next week. Queen is listed as White’s back-up on the official depth chart, but Baskerville started against Florida when Phillips was out with an injury.
Back to the controversial call in question. Orgeron was fired up about the fact that Louisiana political figures like Gov. John Bel Edwards and strategist James Carville helped in publicly raising a stink about the decision.
Orgeron’s greatest frustration was with the lack of any channel for an appeal, a problem he said should be addressed in the coming offseason to prevent this type of thing from happening again.
“I think this may bring some light to the subject,” Orgeron said, “and hopefully as coaches we can get together and demand that this gets looked at and maybe gets changed.”