If you’re like me and have completely abandoned the world of non-sports cable TV, you may be unaware of NBC’s new show Young Rock, based on the early life of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The show premiered last night and it only took one episode for us to meet the show’s version of then-29-year-old Miami D-line coach Ed Orgeron.
Young Ed Orgeron meets young Dwayne Johnson in YOUNG ROCK: pic.twitter.com/du626lYlxq— The IC Workstation (@ClippelBoardy) February 17, 2021
Okay, there’s a lot to break down here.
Everywhere Orgeron has gone, all people can seem to talk about is the way he talks. He’s almost certainly the most-impersonated coach in the sport, so there’s a lot to go off of. His voice is so iconic, it demands PERFECTION when being portrayed in a legitimate production like a show or film, and not just for a meme. The producers of The Blind Side smartly didn’t even make an actor try and just hired the man himself!
As it usually does, Twitter blew up when it got ahold of this clip. My first instinct was to find out about this actor. He obviously wasn’t Cajun, but was probably an American football fan who studied Coach O’s pattern of spee- HE’S FROM NEW ZEALAND???
Okay so first of all, there are surely actors out there looking for work who can do Cajun accents. True Detective featured at least 15 different Louisiana accents from people being interviewed in short two minute scenes. Sure it would’ve been harder to find someone who looks like Coach O, but I can’t even find any pictures of him at Miami so you didn’t need a true doppelgänger.
On the other hand, knowing this dude is a New Zealander honestly leaves me IMPRESSED by this accent. Since I’m almost certain he wasn’t super familiar with American football before this role, he obviously did a lot of work on the accent and studied Orgeron’s speech.
So considering this, I’m more okay with the man’s actual performance. Now let’s go line by line and break down this dialogue.
“There he is! The Beast of Bethlehem! How the hell are ya, son?”
Shouting across the loud weight room to identify someone who just entered the building is an extremely Coach O thing to do. This line is authentic and I like it.
“Welcome to Miami football. Hey you want some coffee?”
Coffee before lifting weights? Maybe for some people but you know the facility is actually stacked with Gatorade and actual energy drinks. This is a weird line just setting up for the joke coming up.
Rock: “I don’t drink coffee.
O: “Me neither, I chew it. Sends it straight to the blood.”
At first I just assumed this was a cringey joke about O just being a wacko person. But I decided to do some research and wouldn’t ya know, he actually did this! There are tons of crazy Coach O consuming things stories, but credit to the writers for bringing up something that’d actually been attributed to his Miami days, even if it was a ham-fisted delivery.
Orgeron himself has talked openly about how bothered he is by people talking about his voice and how it seems to overshadow the coach and person he is sometime, but he and Johnson talk often about how much they respect each other. Johnson is executive producing the show and this portrayal of the character, while cartoonish, is out of a place of love.
I will watch the remaining six episodes of the show each Tuesday night and report back on any future Orgeron appearances.