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GN’s take: A rocky first season looms for Ed Orgeron at LSU

Ed Orgeron at SEC Media Days
JASON GETZ/USA TODAY SPORTS

HOOVER, Ala. – Ed Orgeron usually is an energetic, ebullient force of nature. But “Coach O” was subdued and, well, boring Monday during his main interview session at SEC Media Days.

Maybe that’s a good thing

Nothing has been boring or even subdued about the past two seasons at LSU, where Les Miles seemingly was set to be fired at the end of the 2015 season, then was brought back only to be dumped four weeks into the 2016 season. Orgeron took over as interim and went 4-2 amid speculation that Jimbo Fisher and Tom Herman were LSU’s first two choices to fill the coaching vacancy. Neither chase bore fruit, so LSU went with Orgeron.

Then, more drama earlier this summer. Orgeron ticked off some opposing coaches when he reportedly strong-armed other Louisiana-based schools from having out-of-state staffs work their camps.

RELATED: Impersonate ‘Coach O’? LSU players do their best at imitating their coach at SEC Media Days

But there was no excitement during his media address Monday, even when a reporter asked him about the summer camp controversy.

Orgeron has been profusely vocal in thanking athletic director Joe Alleva and school president F. King Alexander for giving him the job. He thanked them again Monday before, basically, talking about each of his 22 starters, their backups and his assistants. He even talked about his special teams “adviser,” Greg McMahon, would coach the coaches about special teams.

But he did it without the usual Orgeron energy. Truthfully, though he never would say it, perhaps that’s apropos: He’s at the helm of a flawed team and one with less talent than last season, when the Tigers finished 8-4.

There are big questions about quarterback, receiver depth and linebacker. There are fewer questions – but questions nonetheless – about running back depth and safety. There’s even a scary big question about the health of the team’s best player, outside linebacker Arden Key.

Key missed the spring semester for personal reasons, then had shoulder surgery in late spring. “We don’t know when he’s going to be back,” Orgeron said.

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