Les Miles averaged 10 wins in his 11 full seasons as LSU’s coach. He won one national championship and two SEC titles.
He actually had a better winning percentage over those 11 years (.778) than the man he replaced – Nick Saban (.750 in five years).
All that did was get Miles fired because he had lost six in a row to Saban, hadn’t won the SEC in five years, ran an outdated offense and couldn’t develop a quarterback.
The next man up: Ed Orgeron, a Louisiana native, a Cajun through and through.
Most LSU fans love Orgeron now. That, of course, will change after his first loss to Alabama – or anybody, for that matter.
It’s unrealistic to think Orgeron will average 10 wins over the next, say, five years. And it’s improbable he will win a national championship (only four active coaches have done so – Saban, Jimbo Fisher, Dabo Swinney, Urban Meyer). So how do you define success for “Coach O”? Is it a 10-win season? Is it winning the West Division once in three or four years? Is it beating Saban? Is it making a New Year’s Six bowl?
“First of all, Les Miles did a tremendous job at LSU and he hired me, so we’re grateful to him and we still love him,” Orgeron said recently. “I understand the expectations at LSU. I grew up in Louisiana. I’ve got the same expectations myself. I’m at one of the best schools in the country. You need to win every year. And we understand that.”
So define winning?
“First of all, Alabama is the benchmark,” Orgeron said. “You know that. I haven’t been given a certain amount of games that we need to win. But you’re at LSU. You’ve got the talent to win a multitude of games. I’m not going to put a number on it for every year, but every year we need to have big success.”
Regardless of how you define it, Orgeron is facing a monumental challenge as LSU’s coach. He’s in the toughest division in all of football, facing the best coach in college football, in the mightiest conference in the land. Good luck with that.
Orgeron hopes his successes as an interim coach at USC and LSU will provide him with experience to help him through the troubled waters that led LSU to fire Miles.
What did he learn in those two stops?
“I learned how to manage the team, how to manage the staff, what type of coach I want to be,” Orgeron said. “I put it to the test and it worked.”
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