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Tiger Tracklist: Mississippi State

Run.

There are people who enjoy running, and then there are normal people. Running was never really my jam, I never really learned how to run until I got to high school and played football. Even at my most fit I was still incredibly bad at running, both at fast speeds and over long distances.

Luckily for me, I never really had to run far. High speeds, different story, but you know what they say about beggars and choosers. In the offseason we were “encouraged” to participate in either track and field or wrestling, lineman more “encouraged” to wrestle than run. Wrestling involved running long distances to cut weight and a lot of it, so that was out the window for high school Adam. In true to form fashion, I landed on the “field” on the side of “track and field”. In fact, I did the activity that required the least amount of movement as possible, shot put. When I did run, it was conditioning which meant “high speeds” at relatively short distances: 25, 40, 100 yards and running requiring cuts.

So I never really touched a treadmill until I was over a year removed from high school. While I’ve gotten a hang of it and can now actually pace myself, I still can’t run for distance. It’s the cap to my workout because it drains me too much.

I think part of the problem is that treadmills by nature are a weird concept to me: you’re running, but when you’re done you’re still in the same place. I’ve only ever know running for it’s utilitarian purpose: to cover distance in a short amount of time. To use it recreationally was a new experience for me.

I’m sure Ed Orgeron can relate this week.

His disaster of a head coaching stint at Ole Miss ended in Starkville after the Rebels blew a 14 point lead in the 2007 Egg Bowl. That game was played on the November 23rd, he was dismissed on the 24th. It was his second loss to State and the second one in Starkville.

That means that Ed Orgeron is winless at Davis Wade Stadium. And now he’s back there, again in his first year as a head coach in the SEC West. His decade-long path since his last game in David Wade has been long and winding, full of ups and downs, but now he’s back where it started.

The context has changed slightly from then, though. Now he’s less hands-on and controlling, willing to let his highly paid and even higher regarded coordinators do the work they came here to do. He’s way less intense and more focused on the brotherhood of the team and idea of LSU carrying the state. He sees himself less as a head coach now and more as a leader of young athletically gifted men, and it shows when said men speak on him. He’s not at LSU to build a program like he was trying to do at Ole Miss, he’s at LSU to take the Tigers to the next level and bust down the door of championship contenders.

His running has paid off in that respect, but he’s still in the same place he started at. This game is LSU’s first SEC test in the Coach O Era, and all eyes will be on LSU’s offense, wondering if it will be opened up more and on a Mississippi State offense that can challenge Dave Aranda’s defense. And those are both important questions whose answers determine how the Orgeron Era will be perceived early on.

Orgeron’s journey is not meant to end where it began though. This is an important time, from where he graduates from the treadmill and begins running on the levee, actually travelling from point A to point B, getting where he needs to go.

Where he wants to go.