By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor
Ed Orgeron spent 12 days visiting 21 houses, a workload perhaps only St. Nick – the one at the North Pole, and the one in Tuscaloosa, too – could relate to.
With his assistant coaches out on the road recruiting for the early signing period, as well, that left the task of game planning for LSU’s Citrus Bowl clash with Notre Dame on New Year’s Day up to his well-compensated coordinators.
“It split up the staff,” Orgeron said. “The coordinators had to stay in and game plan. We relied on them when we got back for them to have the game plan ready for us. Thank God we had coordinators who have great game plans, and when we got back, the game plan was set.”
One of those, offensive coordinator Matt Canada, has been the subject of much rumor since Orgeron publicly noted Canada’s intentions to be a head coach after LSU’s regular season-ending win over Texas A&M. Orgeron and Canada bumped heads before and after LSU’s loss to Troy, when Orgeron instructed Canada to cut down on his many shifts and motions for a more simplified offense.
Asked if that relationship had been mended, Orgeron had the following interaction with WBRZ’s Michael Cauble.
How has that relationship with Matt been mended throughout the course of the year?
I don’t know what you mean by ‘mended.’
Well, you wanted to do something in the Troy game he didn’t want to do.
Well, I’m the head coach. We’re going to do what I want to do.
Have you been pleased with the progression…
I think it’s been fantastic. I think the offense has done what we wanted them to do. I think it’s been good. For us to win nine games, go 6-1 after Troy game, I think things have been great.
Orgeron was far more effusive in his praise of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, though.
“Dave Aranda can’t work harder,” he said. “He can’t work harder. And he can’t be more loyal. And he can’t be more prepared. The guy’s done a tremendous job. Obviously, there’s some things on defense we’d like to get better at. But we’re prepared to get better in the spring. I think he’s done a great job with a young group. Dave knows how to game plan against anybody. I’m looking forward to his game plan against Notre Dame. I think he’s going to do well.”
With the letter of intent signed and processed for five-star receiver Terrace Marshall, Orgeron was able to publicly comment on the biggest signee of the 2018 class so far for LSU. Marshall, a Parkway product, is the No. 1 receiver in the country and the No. 11 player overall in the 247 Composite Rankings, and Orgeron believes he’ll play almost immediately.
“Terrace is a guy we’re going to count on to play right away,” Orgeron said. “He’s big, he’s physical, he’s smooth, he’s got great hands. I think he’s going to be a tremendous receiver for LSU, right away.”
By landing Marshall, LSU now has eight of the top 10 players in 247’s rankings signed, with TCU signee Justin Rogers, a four-star quarterback, the lone escapee so far. Five-star receiver Jamarr Chase still looms as a Tiger target. Landing him would give Orgeron a class that hit his checkmarks of protecting the state and beefing up the trenches.
“We have eight of the top 10 players in the state right now, and perhaps we may sign nine of the top 10 players in the state of Louisiana,” he said. “That was our goal: to target the state of Louisiana, and then get linemen. We got four great offensive linemen, five big defensive linemen. We’ve got some positions left to fill.”
One of those is quarterback. The Tigers signed two last year in Lowell Narcisse and Myles Brennan but lose Danny Etling and Caleb Lewis to graduation. They remain in the hunt for Alabama dual threat James Foster and will host more in the coming weeks before February’s signing day.
“We’re still looking for a quarterback,” Orgeron said. “There are several quarterbacks we’re evaluating that are going to come visit. Hopefully we’re going to sign one.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
O: 99.9 percent of the boys who grow up in Louisiana want to play for #LSU. I don’t know what’s wrong with that other 0.1 percent.
— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) December 27, 2017