Dooley: How did LSU get to this point?

LSU coach Ed Orgeron walks by his players during a timeout against Syracuse in Baton Rouge, La., on Sept. 23. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

Les Miles should do it. Do a Will Ferrell. Walk out in front of a crowd somewhere (Ferrell was in his full George W. get up on “Full Frontal”) smoking a cigarette, put it out with a foot crush and say, “How do ya like me now?”

How do ya like the Les-tacular One now, LSU fans?

Forget it. I know the answer. I’ve heard it for several days.

“He never lost to Troy.”

The last three weeks have not gone well for Miles’ successor Ed Orgeron, who leads his team into The Swamp for what should have been a home weekend, but is instead the Gators Homecoming thanks to his empty suit of an athletic director.

But that’s a whole different story.

Not that they aren’t connected at the hipbone.

To say things are a little spicy in Louisiana would be like saying there is andouille sausage in proper jambalaya. Someone even started a GoFundMe account to take care of the buyouts for Orgeron and Joe Alleva.

Put me down for a sawbuck for the latter.

So how did LSU get here, to this land of confusion with no end in sight? Because no matter how angry the fans are after a blowout loss to Mississippi State, a less-than inspired win over Syracuse and a loss to Troy, Orgeron and Alleva probably aren’t going anywhere for awhile.

There are buyouts and politics (shocking) and there is also this — it’s not too late for the LSU Tigers to turn this thing around. Just think what stealing back a road win would mean for the psyche of their football office Saturday.

And that could happen. LSU is getting some important players back (whether they were held out for Troy and it backfired is open for speculation) and the talent is there.

But this is a team that is struggling to find an offensive identity, in part because the head coach has been meddling with the offensive coordinator. I’m not saying that was predictable, just that there is a big difference between being an interim coach and a real head coach.

Interim coaches still feel like part of a staff and let the coaches coach. Head coaches can get a little full of themselves and think they have to have their heads in every meeting room.

“He needs to find out who he is,” said former LSU player Booger McFarland, now a college football analyst on ABC.

The problem is who he is — a failed SEC coach. He went 3-21 in the SEC at Ole Miss. Which gets us back to the original question — how did LSU get here?

And that leads us to a bigger point — there aren’t that many great head coaches in college football. The really good ones aren’t going anywhere. Hiring a hot assistant from the Nick Saban or Urban Meyer or Dabo Swinney trees is like hitting on 17 in blackjack. Elevating successful Group of Five head coaches is a crapshoot.

LSU had a nice warm blanket that was very comfortable. When the blanket was tattered by time, they tossed it away, then dug it back out of the trash because it was still theirs. But eventually, the blanket ended up in a landfill (code for television studio).

So LSU got rid of an ultra-successful coach when he wasn’t as successful. Alleva took a wild swing at a slider in the dirt in Jimbo Fisher, got played by Tom Herman’s agent and then looked at what was left on his list and it wasn’t much.

That’s one reason he settled on a guy who would have taken the job for minimum wage. Why he gave him a $12 million buyout defies logic.

Which makes this current mess that much harder for LSU fans to swallow.

Just the other day, here’s what former LSU player and SEC Network star Marcus Spears said about his alma mater — “LSU fans, as an LSU alumnus, we aren’t who we think we are. We’ve become a mediocre football team, and a middle-of-the-pack, very average college football program.”

That was an angry rant. They aren’t difficult to find among the Tiger faithful.

As Florida tries to win its fourth consecutive conference game, the Gators hope this purple-and-gold dysfunction continues. They hope the Tigers continue to yank quarterbacks around and they hope Orgeron and offensive coordinator Matt Canada just quit speaking altogether.

They fear the opposite. So does the SEC.

Because it will be a whole different story if one of the few programs built for championships in this conference gets its act together again.

I just wouldn’t count on it anytime soon.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at pat.dooley@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

 

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