“I wanted to win for those kids, that school, that state and for Coach O” | Steve Ensminger recaps a wild season before his last game as LSU’s offensive coordinator

By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor

Steve Ensminger never cared much for college – outside of football, anyway. Hitting the books, he admits, wasn’t his thing.

But when duty called this season, Ensminger was right back in the books, as if the decades spanning his career as an LSU quarterback and an LSU coach had fused together seemlessly

“I had to be like the quarterbacks,” Ensminger told the media at a press conference in Orlando on Thursday, his first as LSU’s interim offensive coordinator, just days before his last game in the role. “On Thursday and Friday nights, I had to go home and I had to study, just like they did, on how I was going to call this play and what plays I wanted in these situations. I was studying again. I never liked college anyhow.”

Ensminger opened up with the press a little on Thursday, digging into his role over the past few weeks. He believes Coach O is the right man for the job. He believes Matt Canada is the right man to replace him. He still texts Les Miles every week. And he doesn’t know a thing about computers.

Here’s a bit of his conversation with the press. Read the full transcript here, provided by The Advocate.

Q. Have you told the stories to the players about that 1979 Tangerine Bowl that you played in here in Orlando?

A. I never tell stories about myself. I don’t share anything with these guys about myself, but I do remember, 1979, I was a senior that year. Coach (Charles) McClendon was our coach and we beat Wake Forest. We had a great time. It was the only time I’ve had a chance to go to Disney World. We put the Mickey Mouse ears on and had a hell of a time. These guys, they weren’t even born yet.

Ethan (Pocic) walked in and said, ‘You played with leather helmets?’ I said, ‘I’m not quite that old.’

Q. Just your thoughts on Danny Etling and next year.

A. Like all of the rest of them, we’re having a new quarterback coming in and he’ll have to compete for a job. Nothing is given to you on this team, but I’ve seen him improve. I think the thing our staff did, I think we did a great job of fitting our offense around him and what he can do and not ask him what he can’t do.

You know? I think he’s a very good quarterback who’s gotten better. I expect him to have a great game. I expect all of the rest of them, when it comes to spring, to compete for the job. That will be Coach Canada’s decision.

Q. What exactly did you change in the offense?

A. We became a play-action pass team. I’ve always felt we were a run football team and then we were a spread team. I never thought we complimented our running game with play-action pass. Only thing we did, we became a big-time play-action pass team. And we were able to run the football, be able to play-action pass and get the ball to our fullbacks and making the defensive accountable for everybody on the team kept us in third-and-manageable downs.

Q. Have you talked to Les Miles at all?

A. I’ve talked to Les. I have. I haven’t talked to him in a while, but I text him. I text him every week. He texts me and tells me good game and all of that. I stay in touch with him.

Q. Did you kind of know from the beginning, given the offensive struggles the last couple of years, that if Orgeron was going to get the job, he was going to have to make a splash and bring in new blood?

A. Yeah. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that. It was not an interview for me. I wanted to win. I wanted to win for those kids, that school, that state and for Coach O. I wasn’t interviewing for that job. I did know. I’ve been in this business long enough. I know what everybody wants. They want a splash. I said, ‘You know what? Do what you’ve got to do.’ I’m happy for him.

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