In the aftermath of LSU’s moves over the last couple of days, a few things are starting to become clear regarding the program’s decision to part ways with Les Miles, and finish out the season with Ed Orgeron.
NOLA.com’s Andrew Lopez reports that the decision to let go of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was not made by LSU leadership, but by Orgeron himself in considering how he wanted to re-shuffle staff. I can’t say that’s a huge surprise, as Cameron had been unpopular with other staff members at times. Tight ends coach Steve Ensminger was chosen due to his previous experience as a playcaller, but you can expect the offensive staff to put more of a collaborative effort into game plans the rest of this season.
Unsurprisingly, Coach O threw a whole lot of red meat for the base out there in his first meeting with the public as LSU’s interim head coach. He wants this job beyond these eight games, believe you that.
Additionally, Orgeron made the call to fire assistant director of football operations Dean Dingman, reshuffle Austin Thomas into a “general manager” role and hire 104.5/104.9 ESPN Radio Baton Rouge personality Derek Ponamsky as special assistant to the head coach. Ponamsky is extremely well-connected in the football community, and a close confidant to Orgeron — he played a role in helping to pave the way for Orgeron to join LSU’s staff in 2015.
Dingman had Michigan connections, and was very close with Cameron — to his detriment.
Ponamsky, on the other hand, is a personal friend to myself and several other writers on this site. He’s been very supportive to my work here and introduced me to a number of other connections, and I speak for all of us when I say congratulations to him on this new gig, and good luck.
Les was very unceremoniously fired Sunday by his athletic director Joe Alleva. Alleva has been working towards this moment for quite some time and made his play a few weeks too early last season. When the first possible opportunity presented itself this season, Alleva rounded up the votes and did the deed. Both Bruce Feldman and Brett McMurphy would note that sources within the LSU administration told them that Alleva felt he needed to pull the trigger now while he still could in fear of Les stringing together some wins in the latter half of the season “and being stuck with Les another year”. That’s a pretty telling statement from an administration. Very weak.
Roussel doesn’t mince words on his opinions on Joe Alleva, LSU leadership and their reputations in the football community:
In a coaching search, prospective coaches want to know who their boss truly will be. There is no question that Tom Jurich is calling the shots at Louisville. No question that Gene Smith calls them at Ohio State. No question that Bill Moos does the same at Washington State. At LSU, there are a lot of folks who are involved. Yes, sources tell FootballScoop LSU has already arranged a “committee” to lead the process in this search. LSU leadership apparently doesn’t trust Joe Alleva to get on a plane, go have dinner with their target, evaluate him and make the offer / seal the deal as necessary.
This would also describe LSU’s approaches to the last two coaching hires as well. Never really been a “one voice” type of system here. We’ll try to effort some more information out of Scott later in the week. He also has some more information on the details of Miles’ buyout, and this closing statement which...well...take as you will:
Whatever you do, do not discount the influence Jimmy Sexton will have on this search.
The Advocate’s Scott Rabalais, likewise, had Alleva answer a few questions on what he’ll be looking for in a candidate. Orgeron does fit the bill.
As for some other rumored replacements, Jimbo Fisher and Tom Herman gave some pretty stock answers regarding their interest. Bud Elliot, at Tomahawk Nation, did his best to answer some questions on their behalf. Steven Godfrey addresses some of the speculation over at The Mothership. For what it’s worth, I do not expect Art Briles or Bobby Petrino to receive real consideration for this job. It is my hope that this is the last time we have to address either here, although I doubt that will be the case. See the above line about Jimmy Sexton (Briles’ agent).
And of course, the takes have been flying hot and heavy:
- Yahoo’s Pat Forde and Fox Sports’ Stewart Mandel were both typically predictable.
- ESPN’s Ivan Maisel is taking the more cautionary route.
- Yes, I am aware of a certain formerly relevant, Louisiana-native broadcaster’s comments on the Paul Finebaum Show. No, I’m not going to link to the C-Grade FS1 play-by-play guy’s grudge-based rant against LSU and Alleva. Tim Brando is mad that his buddy never got an interview with LSU for the play-by-play role that went to Chris Blair — and I’m told he threw a complete shit-fit to people at LSU over it too. He’s a bitter, desperate hack that wants an audience that I won’t give him. And I hope that those of you who have heard what he had to say, see it as such.
- Nick Saban, also somewhat typically, was quick to take up for another coach:
- Cody Worsham tweeted the following from LSU Fullback J.D. Moore’s Facebook:
JD Moore wrote this on Les Miles on Facebook. Required sharing. pic.twitter.com/a5Ec1k0VQF— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) September 26, 2016
- And in one of the more thought-provoking pieces you’ll read, WWL Radio’s T-Bob Hebert, the former LSU center, weighed in with his thoughts. T-Bob hasn’t always had the most genial of feelings towards Miles, something he discusses himself. But with time he’s come to appreciate who and what his college head coach was, and how he’s shaped his life. It’s my hope that with time, more will come to appreciate Miles similarly.
In closing, I thought this tribute video to Miles, from AL.com, was nice: