Alleva Needs To Alleviate LSU Coaching Scrutiny

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Coaching Drama Now Annual Thanksgiving Tradition

Louisianans can be excused for backing away from the Thanksgiving feast in front of them for the second consecutive year. Just like 2015, the turkey and cranberry was again served this year with a large helping of drama, courtesy of the LSU head football coaching position.

While last year’s final half/quarter reprieve of Les Miles was distasteful in the way

LSU

Coaching Decision Expected In Next Few Days

it was handled by Athletic Director Joe Alleva, this season’s “coaching search” fiasco has the Tiger faithful running for powerful antacids to counteract a stuffing spiced with incompetence.

Miles Standish (wonder if Les is a distant relative, they reversed names through the years) would have been able to easily feed the Pilgrims with all the turkeys involved behind the scenes these last two years. I could call them a cast of characters, but it would be too kind, and a misrepresentation and misuse of the attribute in describing the individuals.

First and foremost, money grubbing sports agents thrive on university fan bases which unreasonably expect annual national championship runs. They make the contacts/receive inquiries about their clients’ availability, and basically handle all negotiations except the actual interview.

Second, the contemptible, successful coach who parlays (through his agent) a school’s quest for a new coach in order to coax a pay increase from his current

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Behind The Scene Negotiations Lead To Awkward Deception

university. You can spell that Jimbo Fisher. He has strung LSU along twice. Now, maybe big Tiger benefactors and key Tiger Athletic Foundations members will curb their enthusiasm to get the one-time LSU offensive coordinator back to Tigertown.

This blogger always thought Dumbo, I mean Jimbo, would be a bad coaching choice because of how he handled/didn’t handle Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. What price victory? (Still remember Fisher suspending Winston for a game, and during pre-game warmups being notified by an assistant that Winston was on the field warming up. To his credit, he sent the trouble-making QB to the locker room to get into street clothes).

Thirdly, the up-and comer, the new coaching kid on the block. The hot name. Spell that one, Tom Herman. The former Ohio State assistant has taken downtrodden Houston to a 22-4 record over the last two seasons in his first stint as a head coach. His Cougars were upset Friday in a 48-44 shootout in Memphis, but his coaching acumen was on display as he regrouped his team and took the lead after it was losing by seventeen points at halftime.

With Fisher’s rejection of LSU, Alleva, no doubt, made a firm bid through Herman’s agent to secure the young offensive guru. Reports say Herman met with

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Alleva Must Not Get Caught Up In Booster Pressure

LSU officials Thursday to discuss the Tiger opening while Alleva refused to comment. Does not take a Road Atlas to figure out the distance between Houston and College Station where the Tigers played the Aggies Thursday night. Must have been an early morning session, if it indeed took place,  as Herman and his Houston team flew to Memphis later. Early Saturday reports say Herman is slated to meet with LSU officials today and LSU is prepared to make an offer to the 41-year-old coach. Hopefully Herman will not pit LSU against Texas in a bidding war for his services. If he does, then Alleva’s selection should be clear. LSU is Orgeron’s “dream job”!

Current LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and Herman were teammates at a college in California. Aranda worked his magic in his first season in Baton Rouge—-at least until Thanksgiving’s track meet at Texas A & M.—and is a school priority to remain on board no matter who gets the head coaching position. Throw in Herman’s Houston offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, the former Texas QB who hails from Baton Rouge (Catholic High-BR), and the vision of securing the services of Herman, Aranda, and Applewhite looks very appealing.

The trio, based on their recent coaching success, would give LSU a solid coaching group as the Tigers try to reestablish themselves as an SEC and national contender. As it stands now, LSU faithful can only dream and imagine what would have been had Nick Saban spurned overtures from the Miami Dolphins, and remained in Baton Rouge after the 2004 season.

One thing is evident. There are not many Sabans around. His productivity, and that of his players, are a testament to on-the-field excellence. Consequently, university administrators continue to search for the “next Saban” every time a major college program drops out of yearly competition for high tier bowl games.

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Hire Will Have To Challenge Saban

Additionally, it seems like the College Football Playoffs, now in their third year, have ratcheted up the pressure for schools to appear in collegiate football’s version of the Final Four, If not yearly (like Alabama), then periodically.

With all the behind the scene shenanigans, mistreatment of human beings is the ultimate result of the thirst for success (hey, I get it, it is big money). Contributions and endowments go up at universities in direct proportion to a school’s won-loss ledger. Fannies pack stadium seats in direct proportion to that same ledger. Money, money, money.

Meanwhile, the Les Miles, Ed Orgerons, Charlie Strongs (soon to be fired Texas coach), of college coaching are subjected to unbelievable pressure. Sure, they are compensated very well financially, but the profession itself, particularly for assistant coaches, lends itself to a lifestyle that can only be described as gypsy-like. They continually look for the perfect, comfortable, appreciated, well-compensated position, all the while having their sights squarely on their profession’s top prize, a head coaching position.

Interim LSU coach Orgeron has been called on twice to take over a top echelon football program He was 6-2 at Southern Cal and has posted a 5-2 mark with the Tigers. The gruff Cajun is a solid defensive coach, and although he may not sound like head coach material, he is an excellent recruiter and a strong motivator.

He learned some powerful lessons after failing miserably in his only head coaching gig at Ole Miss, going 10-25 overall, 3-21 SEC in his three years in Oxford. He has pulled back on some of his “wild man” antics to motivate players, and seems to have picked up some valuable lessons in north Mississippi, surrounding himself with knowledgeable (first call when assigned interim tag was to contact defensive guru Pete Jenkins), competent assistants, and willing to delegate more duties. His effort to control and do all things at Ole Miss proved fatal.

Does Orgeron deserve serious consideration from Alleva? Yes, definitely. Will he? Doubtful, that consideration died at the one-yard line in the South end zone as the Florida game ended. Just as Miles wrote his own dismissal papers by refusing to

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Decision Has To Be Responsible Financially

deliver scheme changes he promised last November, Orgeron’s removal from serious consideration was probably caused by his own lapse into hardheadedness by allowing an injured Leonard Fournette to play most offensive snaps against Alabama (Derrius Guice only carried twice).

That 10-0 result was compounded when he let Fournette dress out (because of a pre-game skirmish with the Gators) and play against Florida. Fournette’s lack of maneuverability cost the Tigers on a couple of early game drives. As outstanding as Fournette is when healthy, that decision, as much as the frustrating loss to Florida, was probably the main reason Alleva and other school power brokers have turned to outside coaching possibilities.

This lifelong Tiger fan and LSU alumnus has lived through Paul Dietzel’s arrival and eventual 1958 National Championship season, the Charlie McClendon era, the naming of Bo Rein by AD Dietzel to replace Cholly Mac (and Rein’s tragic death in a plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean while on a recruiting trip), Jerry Stovall’s step-up duty, the successful reign of former professional coach Bill Arnsparger (who resigned to become AD at Florida), the short run of Arnsparger’s assistant Mike Archer, and the resulting eleven years where there were eight losing seasons as Curley Hallman and then Gerry DiNardo took the helm before Saban.

Miles was fired with a 114-34 record in his eleven plus years. His winning percentage was excellent, and would be perfectly fine at most schools. However, his tendency to play games “not to lose” instead of “to win”, his failure to win big games consistently after the 2012 Alabama BCS debacle, his multiple clock

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Athletic Success Drives Up Endowments

management failures, and his hardheaded refusal to change offensive schemes to get in line with current football tendencies, finally cost him his job.

Too bad LSU could not keep him to recruit—-to go out and keep the offensive and defensive talent flowing to campus. An extra benefit would be to hire someone who could recruit and tutor top notch quarterbacks, something Miles could never do during his tenure.

This blogger would be comfortable with Orgeron as head coach (maybe he could entice his old coach and friend Lane Kiffin from Alabama). I also would not be opposed to the hiring of Herman.

Only thing I would encourage is to be level-headed, and financially responsible in making the hire. LSU is already on the hook for Miles’ buyout, and hiring Herman might require helping him with his own Cougar buyout. My alma mater is in dire straits financially, losing professors and cutting programs. As important as it is to have a highly competitive football program, there are more important things at stake if bad decisions are made. That may be hard for some Pelican State natives to come to grips with (realize football is self-sustaining), but education should ‘Trump” (could not help myself) sports at any university.

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