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Does Ed Ogreron’s Job Hinge on Beating ‘Bama?

After a humiliating loss to Wisconsin in their opener, spirits were low at LSU. Then head coach, Les Miles, whose seat was still hot from last season, was fired after a crushing defeat against a down Auburn team.

Enter Ed Orgeron

The keys were handed to none other than Tigers defensive line coach, Ed Orgeron, and he is no stranger to head coaching jobs. Orgeron has coached defensive lines out west at Southern California from ’98-’04; Ole Miss then hired him to replace head their head coach David Cutcliffe.

Stint at Ole Miss

His first stint in the SEC, however, left a lot to be desired. His inaugural season in Oxford yielded a dismal three wins to eight losses. This was primarily due to offensive woes, as the Rebels offense had very little output (they were second to last in the nation in rushing offense.)

Despite bringing in a 15th ranked recruiting class, the 2006 team also struggled offensively. Orgeron’s second year at Ole Miss saw only one more win than his first season with a 4-8 record.

The year 2007 would be even worse for Orgeron and his embattled Rebels. That team went 3-9 overall and was winless in conference play, a first for the  Mississippi football program since the 1982 season. Orgeron was fired following a loss against despised in-state rival Mississippi State.

Tennessee and USC

After a brief stint in Knoxville with Lane Kiffin, the pair abruptly returned to the west coast to coach at Southern California together once again. Coach Kiffin was fired midway through the 2013 season, and Orgeron took the interim position. Although the Orgeron-led Trojans knocked off Stanford, a loss to their cross-town rival UCLA doomed his chances of winning the permanent job. The Trojans would go 9-4 overall and 6-2 under Orgeron.

Move to LSU

Orgeron returned to the SEC via Baton Rouge to coach defensive lines with Les Miles. After the aforementioned loss to the other Tigers from the West, Orgeron took command. The Tigers now sit at 3-0 under their interim coach’s leadership. What previously has been a poor offense has improved drastically since the coaching change. This cure is thanks to Orgeron’s promoting the tight ends coach to offensive coordinator. He has changed the culture of practice as well; more time in the film room, and less time on the field seems to be working.

His first true test will come November 5th against the most dominating team in the SEC West: the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide. No team has beaten Alabama yet this season, and it hasn’t appeared that anyone can or will as of yet.

Major Showdown has Major Implications

Does Orgeron’s permanent job hinge on this SEC West showdown? Quite possibly.

Clemson’s head coach Dabo Swinney was promoted from coaching wide receivers to boss man halfway through the 2008 season. After defeating the in-state rival Gamecocks 31-14 in the regular season finale, Swinney was named the permanent head coach.

If Orgeron wants the head coaching job on a permanent basis, he will have to avoid the same blunder he made at Southern California three years ago. A win over the top-ranked Tide would go a long ways toward cementing Orgeron’s place in Baton Rouge for years to come.

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