Scooter Hobbs column: Dream come true for Davis

Published 9:45 am Sunday, January 2, 2022

Brad Davis’ mom already had the white beans going on the stove after church.

His dad was about to fire up the barbecue pit.

Finally, a quiet early December Sunday afternoon relaxing with family, including wife Anecia and their two children, for the LSU offensive line coach.

Then the phone rang.

It was LSU. By the time he hung up with Athletic Director Scott Woodward, he was the Tigers’ interim head coach for the just-announced trip to Houston for the Texas Bowl.

He was needed on campus pretty much immediately — somebody had to convene a news conference about the bowl trip to play Kansas State.

“You’re going to be on the TV news!” his mom yelled.

So the whole family forgot the barbecue and traipsed to LSU to watch Brad’s first news conference as a head coach.

Go ahead, throw the “interim” qualifier on it if you want.

Davis could care less.

Given the hectic circumstances — LSU is being politely called a team in “transition” for when new permanent head coach Brian Kelly takes over — one could even arguably call it the most “meaningless” of what will now be 53 LSU bowl trips. At best it seems an afterthought before the Tigers begin the next chapter.

Blasphemy, says Davis.

“For me it’s a milestone moment,” he explained.

Scoff if you must, but even if for one shining moment, he sees it as a dream come true, “something I’ve been preparing my whole life for.”

Head football coach at Louisiana State University.

More?

One game or not, he will go into the history books as LSU’s first Black head football coach.

He’ll claim that, too, in fact takes it very seriously.

“I hope in this role to represent LSU in a great light,” he said, “but also to represent all African-American coaches out there who are looking for this opportunity.

“I want to be proud of what I do in this role (for) the kids in north Baton Rouge who ride the transfer bus. I was one of those kids. And I’m standing here today.”

So, let’s get this straight.

It was always his dream to coach at the State Flagship School that didn’t even recruit him out of Baton Rouge’s Belaire High School?

Someone on Gerry DiNardo’s staff in the late 1990s made a mistake — Oklahoma took a flier on him and he was eventually named the Sooners’ most valuable offensive lineman in 2002.

But it was only last June when Ed Orgeron hired him that he made it back to Baton Rouge.

In between, about the closest connection he kept to Louisiana was Anecia’s Father’s Day tradition of having a case of boudin shipped to whatever coaching stop they were on.

That included 11 schools, including three stints as a grad assistant and something called Doane University (in Nebraska) before cracking the code for the SEC with stops at Florida, Missouri and Arkansas when Orgeron finally called him home.

“I’m awfully proud to coach at LSU,” he said. “It’s an honor.”

“It is a big deal. I want to go out there and coach this team to success. I want to win this game.”

The circumstances are hardly ideal.

The Tigers, already depleted by injuries, have had three more starters opt out of the game with an eye toward the NFL draft and have no real quarterback with Max Johnson among the large handful transferring.

Most of the remnants of Orgeron’s staff have scattered for other jobs. Davis will have to get by with some analysts filling in.

Never mind all that.

“I’ll never trade this experience,” Davis said. “I’m 0-0 as a head coach at the moment. I hope to be 1-0.”

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Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at scooter.hobbs@americanpress.com