LSU interim head coach Ed Orgeron is no longer the favorite to replace Les Miles in 2017 and beyond, but he’s planning an aggressive pitch to athletic director Joe Alleva following the Tigers’ season finale on Thanksgiving night at Texas A&M.
A source confirmed to SB Nation that Orgeron will meet with Alleva Friday morning, as first reported by Ross Dellenger for The Advocate. Orgeron will then leave Baton Rouge to recruit. An immediate decision on Orgeron’s future with the program is not expected during the meeting.
Key among Orgeron’s plans for 2017 will be a significant hire at offensive coordinator.
Orgeron’s connection to the USC coaching tree is strong. He’s twice worked under current Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and was replaced as USC’s successful interim coach by current Alabama analyst Steve Sarkisian.
In Orgeron’s pitch for the 2017 season, current play-caller Steve Ensminger would remain with the staff in a different position, and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda would return.
LSU lost its second game under Orgeron on Saturday, 16-10 to Florida.
Before the loss, multiple sources at the university considered Orgeron to be the favorite and that a quick transition would’ve occurred following a 6-1 run as interim HC.
A source confirmed to SB Nation that Alleva will evaluate Orgeron against a small pool of outside candidates — Dellenger reports the list has been narrowed to “as few as four” — and that despite heavy support for Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher among boosters, there is no clear favorite among the university’s decision makers.
Compared to other names in consideration, Orgeron would represent something of a bargain for the Tigers.
Fisher currently commands one of the largest salaries in college football at Florida State at $5.2 million annually.
Houston head coach Tom Herman, among the pool of candidates under consideration, would command close to that and will also be considered to replace Charlie Strong at Texas.
SB Nation reported three weeks ago that LSU decision makers have also showed interest in West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen and UCLA’s Jim Mora. NOLA.com’s James Smith reported a week ago that North Carolina’s Larry Fedora and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy were being considered. Dellenger reports Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente and Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre as well.
One source told SB Nation that Orgeron will push “first and foremost” for large compensation packages for his assistants, specifically a “premier” offensive coordinator.