BATON ROUGE, La. – After spending the past four seasons coaching in the NFL, there is no mystery as to what lured new LSU offensive line coach James Cregg back to the college game.
“I wouldn’t have come back to college football to work for anybody else besides ‘Coach O,’ ” Cregg said Thursday of Ed Orgeron.
The two were together for five seasons at Tennessee and USC, when both were assistants for Lane Kiffin.
“ ‘Coach O’ called me up when Jeff (Grimes) left (for BYU),” Cregg said on “Off the Bench” on 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge. “He said, ‘Hey, would you be interested in coming?’ I go, ‘Coach, for you, no doubt.’ ”
Cregg technically worked under Orgeron at USC in 2013, when Orgeron served as interim coach after Kiffin was fired. The Trojans went 6-2 during that stint. Orgeron resigned after Steve Sarkisian was hired as Kiffin’s permanent replacement.
“It was unbelievable to me how he changed the whole culture over there, how much the guys believed in him,” Cregg said. “I saw that in players’ eyes. I’ve never seen players cry in a group when he left and grown men cry when he left. He just had a special impact in that room, and I just could not wait to get back and be a part of it, what he is doing in college football.”
Cregg spent the 2017 season as the assistant offensive line coach with the Los Angeles Chargers. He had spent the previous three seasons with the same title with the Denver Broncos, where he won a Super Bowl ring.
During the interview, Cregg discussed his desire to get the “best five” lineman on the field and the opportunity for true freshman Cole Smith to win the starting center job.
LSU opens spring practice March 11.
(You can follow Matt Moscona on @MattMoscona)
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