Orgeron’s tenure winding down, Ricks hits portal

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, November 23, 2021

It didn’t take long into Ed Orgeron’s final regular season press luncheon for the tip off that his remaining days as LSU’s head coach were winding down.

Asked about reports that another Tiger, cornerback Eli Ricks, was entering the transfer portal, he said he assumed it was true.

But he didn’t know it as fact.

“I haven’t talked to Eli, I haven’t talked to his mom,” Orgeron said. “I guess they’re true. I don’t know if they are or not.”

Translation: Ricks’ future at LSU will be up to the Tigers’ next coach to sort out.

Orgeron can fully focus on the regular season finale against Texas A&M, the last Tiger Stadium game for Orgeron and his 19 seniors.

LSU (5-6, 2-5 SEC) will likely be playing for a bowl berth against the Aggies, but Orgeron said that it’s more than that.

And certainly not about him.

“I really don’t think that way,” Orgeron said. “But I am appreciative all the time I had here. A lot of great days.

“But it’s always been about the team, the seniors, their last home game, so I’ll think about them first. I want to send them out the right way.”

He also reiterated that if LSU beats the Aggies, he wasn’t sure if he would coach in the bowl game.

“If we do go to a bowl, I need to talk to the administration,” he said. “We need to have a conversation to see what’s best for LSU football.”

The news of Ricks’ transfer was first reported by and confirmed by several others.

A former 5-star recruit, Ricks was an All-American as an immediate freshman starter last season, but played in only six games this year before undergoing shoulder surgery.

His transfer comes as a surprise.

Although Ricks is from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., his family moved to Baton Rouge when he arrived and his mother was insistent at the time of the injury that her son would not be transferring or opting out with an eye on the NFL.

Orgeron had better news on other players who have missed recent games.

He expects to get defensive end/tackle Maason Smith back for the Texas A&M game, along with safety Sage Ryan.

Ryan is no longer injured, but missed Monday’s practice due to illness.

“Hopefully he gets better by the end of the week,” Orgeron said.

HONORS: LSU linebacker Damone Clark is one of six finalists for the Butkus award as the nation’s top linebacker. Clark leads the nation with 127 tackles.