Ed Orgeron

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Bring on Georgia! Joe Burrow sets SEC passing record as No. 2 LSU rolls over Texas A&M

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The last thing Ed Orgeron wanted to see was for his No. 2 LSU (12-0, 8-0 SEC) have to play in anything remotely close against Texas A&M (7-5, 4-4 SEC) after last year’s multiple overtime affair in College Station. Orgeron got what he wanted with LSU blowing out the Aggies 50-7 in a game where the head coach of the Tigers could give an early rest to some key players.

Joe Burrow was one of those players getting a chance to take the rest of the night off in the fourth quarter. He turned in quite a performance as his case for the Heisman Trophy continued to build. Burrow completed 23 of 32 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Burrow also took over the SEC’s passing record for most passing yards in a single season. Burrow passed Kentucky’s Tim Couch, who set the conference single-season passing record of 4,275 yards in 1998. Burrow is now up to 4,366 yards this season. Burrow also passed Chad Kelly of Ole Miss (4,042 yards in 2015) and Texas A&M’s own Johnny Manziel (4,114 yards in 2013) in the process of moving up to the top spot in the SEC record book in the game.

LSU’s defense has not been one of its strengths this season, especially compared to previous seasons, but it was a major factor on Saturday night against the Aggies. Kellen Mond was in for a frustrating evening as he went just 10-of-30 for 92 yards with three interceptions thrown. The Aggies had just 164 yards as a team midway through the fourth quarter, while LSU had racked up 554 yards of offense. Ja'Marr Chase had seven receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns as Burrow’s top target on the night.

LSU will now begin preparing for their first appearance in the SEC Championship Game since 2011. Their opponent that season? Georgia. The Tigers took that contest by a lopsided score of 42-10, with Tyrann Mathieu taking MVP honors for the game. That win sent LSU to the BCS National Championship Game for a rematch of a regular-season contest against Alabama. A win next week against Georgia would once again send LSU to secure LSU’s chance to play for a national title, although as one of the four teams in the College Football Playoff. LSU has yet to make an appearance in the College Football Playoff. Given their current standing, an argument could also be entertained for LSU as a playoff team even with a loss next week, but a win would book LSU with no questions asked. Georgia will be playing in its third consecutive SEC Championship Game. They won in 2017 against Auburn to grab a spot in the playoff but lost last year to Alabama to end their playoff hopes. This will be the fourth meeting between LSU and Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

Texas A&M will move on to the bowl season, but their bowl outlook is not nearly as grand with five losses under their belt. Jimbo Fisher ends his second regular season as head coach of the Aggies with the same record his predecessor, Kevin Sumlin, had at the time of his dismissal.

LSU knew visiting locker room at Texas would be sweltering, so they came prepared

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As is typically the case with game sin September, especially down in the south, the temperature tends to be scorching in the first few weeks of the college football season. When the Texas Longhorns hosted the LSU Tigers, the temperatures were not exactly pleasant, but LSU head coach Ed Orgeron knew that would be the case. And a phone call to a previous Texas opponent helped make sure the Tigers managed to stay as cool as possible.

Orgeron explained to the media on Monday he called Louisiana Tech, who visited the Longhorns in Austin in Week 1, for some inside info and learned there was no air conditioning in the visiting locker room. This is hardly a shock that the visiting locker room would be less comfortable for opponents than the luxurious and spacious locker rooms and amenities the home team typically gets. Knowing heat would be a concern, Orgeron made sure to arrange for some fans to be in the locker room to keep things as cool as possible.

“First of all, I called Louisiana Tech, and they told us about it,” Orgeron said, according to The Advocate. “So we did some things in the dressing room that were better. It wasn’t great, but it was better. At least we had air in there. They didn’t have air. We had some blowers in there. I don’t think that caused as much as going out there and having to play 93 plays on defense. I think that had a lot to do with it.”

Orgeron did note his program is not exactly a stranger to dealing with the elements, although a few players did get hit with cramps.

“Although it was hot, I thought, I think the humidity was like 23 percent,” Orgeron said. “It wasn’t like Louisiana. But our guys did cramp up in the second half. We talked about it as a staff that we need to get some IVs, more IVs at halftime.

Texas is making a trip to Houston to play Rice this weekend, and they will return home after that to host Big 12 foe Oklahoma State. At least the temperatures should be a little cooler by the time Mike Gundy and the Pokes come to town.

UPDATE (7:31 p.m. ET): Texas has fired back with a response by defending the integrity of the air conditioning system in the visitor’s locker room.

‘Unfortunate injury’ sends LSU freshman offensive lineman to possible season-ending surgery

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LSU head coach Ed Orgeron fears he may have just lost one of his promising new offensive linemen for the 2019 season before it ever gets started. Kendall Thomas will have surgery following an injury suffered in practice last week, Orgeron announced. While Orgeron did not officially say Thomas has been lost for the year, he suggested that may be the result.

“I don’t know if he’s out for the year, but I know he’s getting surgery,” Orgeron said, according to The Advocate. “I think he probably he is. I haven’t heard the final result on that, but he is getting surgery.”

Orgeron called the injury an unfortunate injury due to how it happened. Thomas reportedly had been hit from behind. He had just returned to practice after missing some earlier practices due to a minor injury experienced during camp, although the details of that injury were not revealed.

Thomas was a blue-chip recruit in LSU’s Class of 2019 according to 247 Sports. The recruiting outlet ranked Thomas, a Baton Rouge native, as the fourth-best offensive guard in the nation and the fourth-best player in the state of Louisiana. His commitment to LSU was a strong gain for the Tigers as Orgeron looks to lock down the state’s top prospects on the recruiting trail. Thomas had been committed to the Tigers since July 2016. He was expected to step right into a key role on the offensive line this fall.

If Thomas is out for the year, he can use the 2019 season as a redshirt year. That would give him four years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2020. If he does return in 2019 and plays in four games or fewer, he can also preserve his redshirt year under the NCAA’s revised redshirt rule that went into effect last season.

LSU CB Kelvin Joseph back in transfer portal

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The NCAA transfer portal has seen a number of names come and go this offseason. Now, it appears, LSU cornerback Kelvin Joseph is stepping a foot in the transfer portal for a second time.

Joseph reportedly entered the transfer portal back in May, only to have that story disputed by his father. A day later, Joseph announced on Twitter that his father was, in fact, wrong with his claim. After some time passed, it seemed as though Joseph may end up staying in Baton Rouge to play for the Tigers this fall. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said “everything is good” regarding the status of Joseph as the story unfolded.

However, as multiple reports have surfaced at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama today, Joseph is now back in the transfer portal.

By entering the transfer portal, Joseph is free to have contact with any other college football program that may be interested in recruiting him. He would have to sit out the upcoming 2019 season if he transfers to another FBS program due to standard NCAA transfer rules, barring any appeal being granted for immediate eligibility.

Joseph was a four-star member of LSU’s Class of 2018. He played in 11 games for the Tigers last season and was suspended from the Fiesta Bowl for unspecified violations of team rules.

LSU AD Joe Alleva officially stepping down

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Despite plenty of success across the entire athletics department under his watch, LSU athletics director Joe Alleva is stepping down from his position. LSU confirmed the news, which had been broken earlier in the day by multiple outlets, with an announcement Wednesday evening. Alleva will transition to a new position with LSU as the special assistant to the president for donor relations. Alleva will continue in the role of AD until a permanent replacement can be found.

“We are grateful to Joe for his years of service and dedication to LSU,” said LSU President F. King Alexander said in a released statement. “Under his leadership, LSU Athletics has become even more nationally competitive and our student-athletes have reached new levels of academic achievement.”

“The eleven years Annie and I have been here in Baton Rouge have been some of the best in our lives,” Alleva said in his statement. “We have made lifelong friends and memories in Louisiana. This is truly a special place. It’s been an honor to serve LSU, and I am proud to continue to do that in a new role.”

Alleva was named the athletics director at LSU in July 2008 after previously holding the same position at Duke. Alleva has never been one to find himself not in the spotlight for various degrees of controversy, from his handling of the rape scandal with the Duke lacrosse program to his time at LSU trying to satisfy boosters. Alleva was criticized by some boosters for being reluctant to part ways with former LSU head coach Les Miles and make a move to hire Jimbo Fisher from Florida State. Instead, Alleva ended up hiring Ed Orgeron to be the head coach of the Tigers and Fisher is now handsomely paid to be the head coach at SEC West foe Texas A&M.

Alleva has always been one of the more vocal ADs in the SEC, never shy to share an opinion he had regardless of how popular it was with LSU fans or others around the SEC. Alleva led the charge in a bizarre feud with Florida over the handling of rescheduled games due to weather-related issues in recent years, as just one example. Within the LSU community more recently, Alleva came under fire for the handling of men’s basketball coach Will Wade, who was just reinstated by the program after his suspension related to his connection to the FBI recruiting scandal investigation.

LSU will undoubtedly be able to hire a top-notch AD to replace Alleva once this potential change becomes official, although how soon LSU will have a replacement lined up remains to be seen. As for Orgeron, his job should appear to be on pretty stable ground. Any time an AD is fired it is easy to wonder what happens to the football coach. Fortunately for Orgeron, he’s coming off a victory in the Fiesta Bowl and has LSU playing some winning football. It may not be SEC championship caliber football, but it is still some good quality football producing some notable wins along the way to secure any coach’s job. Unless the 2019 season is a complete disaster in Baton Rouge, Orgeron should feel more than comfortable in his current position regardless of who becomes the next AD at LSU.