Ed Orgeron LSU head coach

If he knows anything about anything, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron knows the insane asylum he calls a home state, gumbo, warts and quirks and all.

So maybe he had a pretty good idea of what was coming after the Tigers' 57-36 debacle against Ole Miss on Saturday which, by all accounts, somehow went down in the ledger as a victory.

Having caved in to fans' demands for a slicked-up, scorched-earth offense, this is unquestionably the most fun LSU team ever to watch and enjoy. It is often breathtaking. It is also unbeaten at 10-0 and ranked No. 1 in both polls and the College Football Playoff rankings. The entire nation marvels at its pyrotechnics.

It even beat Alabama and Nick Saban to validate the season.

On and on it rolls, systematically chewing up every offensive record the school ever thought about keeping.

It's just what the fan base has been clamoring for all these years, and now they've been vindicated.

And … and …

And suddenly there's a pall over the entire fan base.

Suddenly, the whole thing was fool's gold.

Maybe that explains everything. Maybe Orgeron saw it coming.

It was indeed kind of curious to see him after that Ole Miss game trying desperately to put a smiley face on a 21-point victory that every card-carrying Tigers fan knew called for panic in the streets.

Was he watching the same game the fans and we media know-it-alls were?

That innovative new way of watching LSU football — you know, with real offense — was fun while it lasted, but surely the gig was up now.

It was a mirage.

The gall. Orgeron seemed pretty pleased.

Shoot, he preferred to talk about the 714 yards of offense LSU rolled up and gently gloss over those gaudy 614 yards the seemingly helpless Tigers allowed to the Rebels.

And wasn't that the real story of the game? Did LSU maybe get exposed in a 21-point victory, which was right about what Vegas had pegged the spread.

Probably. And no doubt Orgeron is aware that he better get that puzzling defense cleaned up, if not this week for hapless Arkansas, then sooner than later.

But it was mentioned only in passing on the way out of Oxford.

His postgame comments and overall good cheer certainly didn't reflect the mood of his players, many of whom said the 21-point

victory felt like a loss.


He said he was "elated" with the victory, "proud of them," for avoiding the dreaded Alabama Hangover, never even acknowledging that it was being viewed in some knee-jerk circles as a loss.

"I told them, ‘Listen, the object was to win the football game,' and we did," he said.

Shouldn't Orgeron have been throwing chairs, breaking pirogues and barking in Cajun tongues about the whole mess?

Shouldn't the Tigers — the defense at least — have been forced to practice when the charter flight got home.

Maybe he wanted to. Under similar circumstances, the old Orgeron, the Coach BéBé who flamed out in his first head coach job on the same campus he won on Saturday, probably would have.

But this Orgeron 2.0 knows his own team even better than he understands his home state.

He knew he didn't have to tell them how bad their defense played or strike the fear of the football gods into them with warnings that there would surely come a game when the big-brother offense won't be able to bail them out so efficiently.

Fans, media, social media would handle that chore for him, complete with reminders that it wasn't an aberration, that a 614-yard game had been hiding the bushes for most of the season.

There would be plenty of spoil-sports for this "victory."

Besides, one look at his team afterwards told him he didn't need to say a word.

"I knew they were a little disappointed," he said. "I think that (a tirade) would have just added fuel to the fire. I thought they needed to be picked up a little bit, not take winning for granted.

"I wanted to give them confidence, how much I believe in them."

Well, if the Tigers needed a little pick-me-up and an Orgeron bear hug after a 21-point victory, then guarding against complacency should not be a problem.

They still have work to do if this season is going to end up like they want.

But there was plenty of time for ranting and raving after leaving Ole Miss. Orgeron calls the week's first workout "Tell the Truth Monday," and the Tigers (and coaches) no doubt got an earful.

If the Ole Miss "victory" got their attention, then it was not agonized over in vain.

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

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