Booger McFarland stresses Ed Orgeron didn't 'handle success well' due to 'ego and bravado'

Erik Hall
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

ESPN football analyst Booger McFarland played defensive line at LSU from 1995-98, and he likes to see the LSU Tigers succeed. 

McFarland had previously seemed cautious about being too critical of LSU football head coach Ed Orgeron

But it was announced Sunday, Orgeron will not be returning to LSU for the 2022 college football season. 

It seemed to free McFarland to be more critical of Orgeron during Wednesday's episode of "The Tony Kornheiser Show" podcast. 

ESPN's Booger McFarland says LSU's Ed Orgeron failed to 'handle success well'

Oct 4, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Booger McFarland aka Anthony McFarland on the ESPN Monday Night Football Countdown set before the game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium.

"I'm forever grateful to Coach O, and I think LSU and the people of Louisiana should be indebted to him based on him bringing a national championship to Louisiana," McFarland said when Tony Kornheiser asked him about LSU parting ways with Orgeron. "You got to give him a lot of credit for that." 

Orgeron coached LSU football to an undefeated 2019 season and national championship

"Now as much credit as you can give him, you also have to give him blame, because when he got to the top of the mountain, he did not handle success well," McFarland said. "He sure didn't. I think if you go back and look — I don't want to go back and list every situation or incident that happened — from the moment he won the national championship until now, he's made so many missteps along with the fact that LSU is only 9-8, which will not suffice."

LSU football went 5-5 in the 2020 season, and it is 4-3 to start the 2021 season. 

LSU's Athletic Director Scott Woodward as LSU Athletics holds a public press confrence to introduce Kim Mulkey as the new head womens basketball coach Monday, April 26, 2021.

"Success, oftentimes, reveals who you are just like rough situations," McFarland said. "They don't necessarily show your character. It just kind of brings out. I think Coach O — his ego and his bravado — the same ego and bravado that makes him the same type of coach that would say LSU will play anybody, anywhere, anytime, is the same type of ego and bravado that led him down this road, where ultimately it cost him his job.

"Just because sometimes, you have to be able to humble yourself to say, 'You know what. I screwed up. I got to change. I got to do something different.' And by the time he got to that point, it's been too late, and I think the AD Scott Woodward decided it was time to go a different direction." 

Woodward is an alumnus of LSU, and he became the LSU athletics director on April 18, 2019. 

Kornheiser then asked McFarland about the Southeastern Conference schools tending to quickly fire football coaches after success. 

Louisiana State coach Nick Saban encourages his players before the game against Arkansas State, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2004, in Baton Rouge, La. LSU won 53-3. (AP Photo/Patrick Dennis)

"Every coach at LSU in the last 20 years has won a national championship — Nick Saban, Les Miles and Ed Orgeron," McFarland said. "It's one of the premier jobs in the country. How do you continue with the next cycle? ... Yeah, it's about winning. It's about the money. It's about putting yourself in position where you can be the next Alabama that you can go on a decade of dominance."

Saban coached LSU football from 2000-04 and won the 2003 national title. Miles coached LSU from 2005-16 and won it all in 2007. Orgeron coached LSU from 2016-21. 

"Everybody wants to get their chance at the run where you can go on a sustained 10-year winning period where your school is going to make more money, enrollment is going to go up," McFarland said. "Everything about your university is going to multiply from a dollars and cents standpoint. ... And they realize football is the catalyst to all that, so they will continue to change these coaches as much as they can. ... You're going to chase success because of what it will mean to your institution." 

Here's more LSU football news: 

McFarland played in the NFL from 1999-2006. He joined ESPN in 2014. 

Erik Hall is the lead digital producer for sports with the USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik