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 And follow at



  1. Nice analysis. Had a great, innovative coach who was experiencing a slump, probably temporary as just happens sometimes, have an arrogant AD, and bingo bango bongo. Orgeron, if nothing else, is a good man and could probably be a successful head coach at some point. So throw him a bone, give the guy a chance. But the AD? I’d sure as hell fire him before I would the coach, or LSU will probably wind up in the same position as the Vols have now found themselves, that is to say, a dysfunctional athletic department that shows up on the football field despite plenty of talent and a rich history. Sad to watch, but I agree….I sure hope they don’t solve it until after this Saturday!

  2. All you did was copy someone else’s report. Not once did you mention the fact that LSU had five key players out against Troy and one was their best offense player and the other their best defensive lineman. Nor did you mention the fact that LSU lost lots of good offense and defensive lineman because of different situations that’s why they’re not as good as they should be not because of orgeron

    • “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.”

      We watch football. We don’t need Dooley to give us a game recap. The above line is plenty of acknowledgement of the fact that LSU had players out. The article is about what has gone wrong with LSU football. Dooley is of the opinion that you have a horrible AD who paid a lot of money to fire a good HC and then got yanked around until he had to hire an atrocious HC (3-21 in the SEC!!) — and then gave the new guy an unreasonable buyout. Now based on the twisted state of your underwear, it seems like you disagree with Dooley’s opinion. And that’s okay. Tennessee fans have been in love with Butch despite his results and that has worked out very well for UF. Gators do not mind mind boggling coaching hire decisions by the traditional powers that are on our schedule every year. It is really helping us out with our rebuild.

    • Kevin the Gators had 8 starters out against LSU last season and still won. This is LSU we’re talking about. It shouldn’t matter how many players are out, they should NEVER lose to Troy. LSU’s 3rd stringers should be able to beat them. I’d love to hear some facts to support your argument that it isn’t Oregon, cause his 25-31 record as a head coach certainly doesn’t support it.

  3. the lsu athletic director committed professional suicide, needs help of some sort, and of course a position where he does not have the things around him where he can do harm. you could see it a thousand myles away. vols did the same thing a few years earlier.

  4. Marcus Spears used his platform on the SEC Network to lead the charge to get Miles fired. He needs to shut-up and stick to being a game analyst and stay out of politics. Alleva is getting what he sowed. Go Gators!

  5. ”That leaves Franks out in front by a mile with Zaire the backup and a true freshman who’s supposed to redshirt this year as the emergency third stringer.” ~By S.B. Nation for L.S.U. -Billy Gomila.
    That article GIVES A REAL INDICATION how ”confused” the Tiger Nation presently is now.
    ”I declare, we’z in trouble!” ~Cajun from the L.S.U. bayou.

  6. Before you question me, Del Rio wouldn’t have started this weekend, had Franks been ”out front by a mile” (and I’m someone who questioned Del Rio at start of year). And truthfully, Zaire and Toney should get ”packages” for this crucial ‘3’ game stretch -if the coaches want to be ”inventive and WIN the S.E.C. East (make the ”other teams” think, Coaches!)
    Franks may ”out front by a mile” with the competition… one day, but not now. So, please Lord, help the O-line, and R.B.s find the open field. Go Gators!

  7. Where have we seen this before. Hiring a defensive minded good assistant to be head coach, said head coach meddling with the offense, losing to a team he had no business losing to, an AD that doubles down on his choice with a ridiculous buyout, our best players are out and that’s what’s holding back the program excuses. All that’s missing is the “we’ll get this fixed” quote from the head coach.