And you thought it was going to be a quiet offseason?
After National Signing Day, Ed Orgeron fired two of his position coaches. Dameuyune Craig left the program entirely, but Orgeron moved running backs coach Jabbar Juluke to an administrative position. He has since taken the running backs job at Texas Tech.
This isn’t an uncommon practice, but its not one that is looked upon favorably. Despite the rhetoric, recruits do commit to coaches, and it is bad form to fire the coach right after getting the recruits to sign.
One week later, the New Orleans high school coaches are in open revolt, threatening to boycott LSU, whatever that means. New Orleans was Juluke’s recruiting territory, and he is the former head coach at Edna Karr. He has deep ties to New Orleans and the high school coaching community there.
Sam Spiegelman at SEC Country reported that several of the area’s black head coaches held a closed-door meeting to discuss the demotion of Juluke and what they perceived as Ed Orgeron taking advantage of the first-year coach to sign a better class.
Orgeron reportedly tried to stop the meeting to no avail.
This potential boycott comes on the heels of two four-star New Orleans recruits, Devonta Jason and Corione Harris, committing to Kansas over the past weekend. And let’s face it, that’s weird. These are the facts on the ground as it stands right now, so let’s get to the fun part, wild ass speculation.
Let’s deal with the Kansas commits first: this is a shot across the bow that LSU recruiting cannot take New Orleans for granted. This is a clear “look at me!” move, but I’m near 99% sure that neither of those two eventually sign with Kansas. I think the fact they both chose Kansas is to show it’s not about another power program, it is entirely about LSU.
It should also be noted that the Kansas commits were on Juluke’s board. So it doesn’t seem like much of an accident that LSU demoted Juluke and then the players he was recruiting in New Orleans suddenly make an out of left field announcement that seems designed as a not so subtle shot at LSU. It could be a coincidence, but that would strain the laws of probability.
The New Orleans coaches are ticked, and they have every right to be ticked. Firing a coach the day after NSD is a scuzzy way to do business, but also, that’s recruiting. Throw in the fact that Juluke didn’t do a particularly great job recruiting. He did bring in Narcisse, but his biggest recruit was Stephen Guidry, who ended up not signing with LSU. Juluke may have recruited the New Orleans area, but he was more notable for its misses.
So while New Orleans coaches have the right to be ticked that Juluke was fired the day after NSD, who did he coax into the program on a false promise? Juluke largely struck out on Signing Day.
No, the coaches aren’t upset about some swindled recruit, they are worried about their own skin. This is likely the coaches making a bunch of noise because they want to be more highly valued by LSU recruiters and also, they likely want a say in the next coach at LSU.
Now, the thing is, of course the coaches were going to have a say. Ed Orgeron would be a moron not to hire someone with deep New Orleans ties to recruit New Orleans. Orgeron also knows this is a vital recruiting area for the program, and he absolutely wants to stay on good terms with the most powerful coaches there. It’s also never a good look when a white head coach comes in as a new hire and fires two black position coaches, and no one else.
However, the coaches didn’t just want a say in the head coach, they wanted everyone to know they had a say in the coach. This is a power play, pure and simple. It’s a bit of dirty pool by the high school coaches, but Orgeron played hard ball himself, and this is the end result. Everyone looks out for their own.
LSU has a new head coach who is now one of the lower paid coaches in the SEC. He doesn’t enjoy the full commitment of all of the boosters, some of whom still openly pine for a bigger name. And he just signed a recruiting class that featured the fewest number of top 10 Louisiana recruits in over a decade. Orgeron is politically weak, and the head coaches are taking him out for a public ride.
In the end, this will likely all be smoothed over. The New Orleans coaches will get a say on the new coach. They will get the attention they want from LSU recruiting, which means LSU signing the occasional three-star recruit to keep the lines of communication open.
There’s a rule in business: the big dog eats. New Orleans is the proverbial big dog, as LSU needs that pipeline of talent to keep its place in the college universe. This is the big dog reminding Orgeron that it can bark, and it can bite. So for godsakes, feed the big dog, Ed.