The majority of players that end up transferring from one school to another probably leave on mostly positive terms with their previous school. In the case of quarterback Joe Burrow, there appear to be absolutely no bitter hostilities left at the table at Ohio State as far as Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer is concerned.
Speaking to the media at a job fair recently at Ohio State, Meyer gave a glowing review of the conversations he had with Burrow and his family before Burrow made his decision to transfer to LSU.
“It was a situation that his last two weeks of spring were excellent,” Meyer said, according to 247 Sports. “I just talked to him the other day and his family, I saw his dad. He’s great. He’s a Buckeye forever and he’s going to go do the best he can at LSU and wish him well and I understand.”
Burrow was officially added to the LSU program last month. Burrow is expected to compete right away for the starting job with the Tigers after undergoing surgery for a broken hand last year. In Columbus, Meyer just named Dwayne Haskins as the starting quarterback for Ohio State this season.
Well, this is certainly interesting.
Les Miles appeared on a Houston radio station Friday to talk about the Tigers, and he apparently had some pointed thoughts on the new LSU head coach. Host Josh Innes asked Miles about LSU’s over/under for the 2018 season set at seven wins, which led Miles into a monologue about Ed Orgeron asking for fans’ patience.
“I never accepted the feeling of, ‘Hey, you need to have patience.’ When you say you need to have patience aren’t you just really saying to your team you’re not good enough,” Miles said, via The Advocate. “Because I want you to know something, I never took the field with the Tigers where I didn’t think I wasn’t going to absolutely kick somebody’s tail … Period … I never asked, ‘Hey, give me a break here.'”
For the record, Orgeron asked for fans’ patience… in the spring game. LSU is working in a new offensive coordinator in Steve Ensminger and running an open competition between three quarterbacks.
Miles then said this, unprompted: “Certain people need to have a safety net. If you need a safety net you need not coach for the Tigers because the Tigers are your safety net. They are the winningest, toughest, most committed group of men that I have been around.”
Miles and Orgeron have a complicated history. Miles hired Orgeron as his defensive line coach ahead of the 2016 season, a supposed game-changer hire after Miles was nearly axed in 2015. That didn’t work, though, and it was Orgeron who was named LSU’s interim after Miles was fired four games into the 2016 season — after LSU nearly hired Jimbo Fisher the prior fall, before Miles snuffed out the palace coup LSU AD Joe Alleva unsuccessfully orchestrated — and Orgeron was named LSU’s full-time head coach in late November of 2016.
Orgeron went 6-2 as LSU’s interim and 9-4 in his first full season as head coach; Miles was 9-3 in his final full season at LSU.
Texas A&M has more traditions than most schools and one of the ones the Aggies have developed over the years was the great combination of turkey and football — i.e. playing on Thanksgiving. For decades that meant taking on rival Texas but since the school moved to the SEC it has also included a few games against regional rival LSU.
If the program wants to continue doing so however, they’ll have to find somebody other than the Tigers to play.
Speaking to the Dallas Morning News at SEC spring meetings last week, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva seemed to firmly draw a line in the sand on the holiday kickoff with his team.
“We’re not playing on Thanksgiving,” Alleva said, saying the day itself should be reserved to spend time with family.
LSU and Texas A&M have basically ended the season with each other in an SEC West battle since 2013 and played on Thanksgiving in both 2014 and 2016. The on/off again nature of playing on the holiday seemed to be put to bed when the league made the Egg Bowl between Ole Miss and Mississippi State a traditional Thanksgiving night game most years but we’re sure the door was still open if the two other schools wanted to arrange something.
That’s not in the cards anymore though and when Jimbo Fisher faces off against one of his former schools in either College Station or Baton Rouge, it seems like a lock that it will take place on a traditional Saturday in November.
To say that Texas A&M is committed to Jimbo Fisher is an understatement given the size of his $75 million contract but it’s pretty clear that commitment extends beyond the salary of the head coach to include staffing up the Aggies to compete with their peers in the conference like Alabama, Georgia and others. The school has made another splashy off the field hire to that end, with several reports stating that former LSU ‘General Manager’ Austin Thomas is now in maroon and white.
AggieScoop.com’s Taylor Hamm caught a photo of Thomas in action at one of the team’s summer camps (below) last week and The Athletic’s Chris Vannini also confirmed the hire on Thursday.
The Aggies haven’t formally announced the hire but it’s probably safe to say he’ll have a similar title and responsibilities to what he was doing at LSU. While we’re used to having associate or assistant athletic directors with the titles like director of player personnel or something similar, Thomas was one of the very first to be called a football program’s general manager when he was elevated to that spot when Ed Orgeron took over in Baton Rouge.
Thomas had left the Tigers late last year, reportedly for a similar position at Tennessee (where he once worked at for Lane Kiffin). However that seemed to fall through after Jeremy Pruitt was hired and it seems like, after a few months off, the ‘GM’ finally landed in College Station with Fisher in what will probably be a pretty significant role.
It’s been a rather sleepy set of league-wide meetings for the SEC in their annual retreat in Destin, Florida but the conference did release some rather notable changes to their rules on Friday that will be a net positive for several players. Most notably, that includes transfers who will no longer have to sit out a season when moving from one conference school to another.
At the heart of the matter is Alabama offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy, who announced his transfer out of Tuscaloosa last month but has been seemingly in limbo awaiting a change to the SEC’s rules so that he could play immediately at either Tennessee or Auburn. Naturally, Nick Saban is not super happy at that possibility and has been upholding the league rules to block Kennedy from doing just that but Friday’s decision means it’s now out of the coach’s hands.
Also affected by the change should be former Ole Miss wideout Van Jefferson. He made the move to Florida following NCAA sanctions being announced on the Rebels but was similarly stuck in a bit of limbo trying to be eligible right away for the Gators.
The rules changes announced by the SEC are really just getting ahead of broader changes coming to the NCAA level in the coming months. Many coaches have been pushing back against a number of these ideas but it’s pretty clear by the vote coming out Destin that they’re going to be on the losing end of this battle.
That’s good news for players everywhere as they get a bit more freedom to pick where they want to play in the future.