Interim LSU head coach Ed Orgeron is preparing his team to face Ole Miss this weekend. The upcoming matchup has some added significance, thanks to Orgeron serving as the Rebels’ head coach from 2005-07.
Saturday night, after LSU’s 45-10 victory over Southern Miss, Orgeron was asked about the game against his former employer.
“Whatever happened there happened for a reason," Oregron said, via 247Sports. "I don’t have any memories of that place I want to remember. I’m glad to be an LSU Tiger.”
He compiled a 10-25 record over three seasons there, and was fired after losing to Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl in ’07.
More than that, though, Orgeron is a completely different coach now. For starters, Orgeron was known in Oxford for his fiery demeanor and questionable tactics. One of his former Ole Miss players referred to him as an “asshole” when describing a moment when Orgeron challenged members of the team to a fight.
There was that time he wanted to fight a reporter — SB Nation’s very own Steven Godfrey — for reporting on a player’s injury.
Orgeron showed just how far he came from those days in 2013, when he took over as USC’s interim head coach. He led the Trojans to a 6-2 record and showed an investment in his players.
At USC, he would do simple things like cater Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles for his players and have people like Dr. Dre and Ray Lewis talk to the team. He gave hand-written notes to every member of the USC band, thanking them for what they do.
Trojans safety Dion Bailey spoke in 2013 about how refreshing Orgeron was:
He really emphasized that this time around being a head coach he wants to do it the right way, he really learned a lot from his time at Ole Miss, he asked us our input about a lot of things on the team, and he really inputted our input into the schedules and event-planning, things like that. He's always looking out for what's better for us, what makes us comfortable, taking care of our bodies. That really made us appreciate him, and from then on, guys have been behind Coach O and would run through a brick wall for him.
At LSU, he’s using those same practices.
“Let ’em have their cell phones and headsets,” Orgeron said in a recent interview with SB Nation. “Let ’em dress the way they want! Let ’em be who they are, as long as it’s respectful. Don’t put shackles on them. And I know it works. I know it works. I had kids at USC hugging me, crying, when I left. Begging me, ‘Don’t leave.’"
In that same interview, he added that part of being both a good and impactful head coach starts with showing players that you actually care about them.
“Before, I didn’t let them know I cared. I was the D-line coach. You can’t coach a receiver like a D-lineman. I just realized, here are some of the things I’ve got to change. I started writing, and I came to a realization: If I treat these boys like I treat my sons, I think we’re gonna be fine. How do you treat your kids? When my boys come home, I cook ’em a steak.
“That’s my motto now: Treat ’em like you would your sons. And hey, I’m Cajun. We eat a lot."