The headlines are rolling in.

"New & improved!"


"LSU O joining 21st century!"

"For real this time!"

Yes, the excitement is building for the big LSU rollout, the dynamic offense that the Tigers have been searching for almost this entire decade.

You'd think they'd invented a new spicy chicken sandwich.

And, not to worry, head coach Ed Orgeron is too far along with it to turn back this time. It's installed.

Now they just have to make it work.

Behind the scenes, the Tigers will be reenacting the movie "The Color of Money."

It may be the key to the whole experiment.

Think of offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger in the Paul Newman role as the grizzled veteran who's seen it all. His co-star would be passing game coordinator Joe Brady, 32 years his junior, as the latest cocksure, know-it-all wunderkind, ala Tom Cruise.

"It is an interesting dynamic we've got going there," said starting quarterback Joe Burrow.

No kidding. One of the two coaches he works closest with is almost young enough (29) to be a fraternity brother. The other is old enough (61) to be his grandfather.

Burrow said he sees no problem, other than too many Joes for comfort.

"The coaches call him Joe and we both look," Burrow said.

Throw in the occasional "Coach O!" and a lot of heads are always turning at practice.

Minor detail. But basically, LSU is hitching its offensive evolutionary wagon to a young man who technically has never been a full-time assistant anywhere, whose reputation and potential far outweigh his résumé — graduate assistant at William & Mary (after a playing career there as an overachieving walk-on receiver), two more years of the same at Penn State and two years in the NFL with the Saints.

Ensminger, something of a swashbuckler of an LSU quarterback back in the football stone age (mid-to-late 1970s), has been a coordinator at seven colleges.

"Coach E might be a little older but he does a really good job of relating to everybody," Burrow said. "Coach E is a guy's guy. You can tell by the way he played back in the day, by the way he coaches. He relates to everybody.

"Coach E would be the kind of guy if you got in a fight at the bar, you would want him next to you."

Hopefully it won't come to that.

Make no mistake. Ensminger is still in charge.

But it sure sounds a lot like co-coordinators, with the ever-present potential for friction.

Orgeron said he isn't worried.

Keep in mind, he said, it was Ensminger's suggestion (although Orgeron was already leaning that way) that it was time for LSU to join the up-tempo, run-pass-option revolution, with an option for the no-huddle.

Especially the RPOs.

Orgeron was particularly frustrated with LSU's red-zone offense from last season. And he had always loved the Saints' offense.

Yeah, I don't remember Drew Brees running many RPOs either. But apparently Brady was instrumental in a lot of the gadgets the Saints dreamed up to keep Taysom Hill occupied.

So when Orgeron asked Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael to come meet with his staff, Carmichael suggested that he bring along Brady, his RPO whiz.

Brees, apparently, was spoken for.

But, long story short: Brady stole the show.

"I wasn't in all the meetings," Orgeron said. "But our guys came out saying, ‘Coach, this guy is phenomenal.'"

Orgeron, aware that veteran Jerry Sullivan was retiring as receivers coach, knew he had his man and hired Brady almost immediately (do the math — Brady is 46 years younger than Sullivan).

Brady learned the RPOs — and became head-over-heels infatuated with them ­— as a grad assistant at Penn State under then offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, now head coach at Mississippi State.

He attracted the attention of Saints head coach Sean Payton, who hired him with the rather generic title of offensive assistant.

Payton raves about him. In fact, nobody who's ever been associated with Brady doubts that he's a future star in coaching. This is the big break of his career.

Now he just has to mesh with Ensminger.

It could work.

At this stage of his career, Ensminger's ego isn't on the line here, if it ever was. Coach E has always avoided the spotlight anyway. Orgeron said Ensminger was one of those who came away most impressed with Brady's presentation to the LSU staff.

Still, while Brady has lots of ideas and isn't shy about expressing his opinion, the next play he calls in a real game will be his first.

And it probably won't be this year.

Ensminger and Brady will be in the upstairs coaches booth.

"Steve's going to call the plays," Orgeron made clear. "Joe is going to have the next play ready. If Steve wants it, he takes it. If he wants to call his own play, he'll call his own play. I think that's going to be a big plus for us."

Burrow, meanwhile, will be running the same offense he ran all of his football life until last season, when his transfer to LSU forced him to take snaps from under center.

"It's Coach E's show," Burrow said. "But coach Joe has a lot to bring to the table. Coach E does a great job of listening not only to Coach Joe but everybody. I have insight, Coach Joe has insight.

"They're not really dividing it up at all. Everybody is involved. We're all kind of building this thing together. We all have ideas. We throw it out there, see what sticks. Then you try it out in practice. If it looks good, we go with it. If not, we throw it out."

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at

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