Orgeron had the right to remain silent
BATON ROUGE — Ed Orgeron should have known better.
The LSU head coach should have known he was tempting fate.
He should have known he was begging for trouble.
But, no, he couldn’t hold back his glee just days before the Tigers opened August football camp when speaking to an annual event here, the August meeting of the Baton Rouge Rotary Club, that is kind of known as the unofficial semi-kickoff of the football season.
It had been an uneventful offseason for the Tigers. That’s a good thing for college football teams.
Football headlines in June are rarely of the uplifting sort, particularly if the district attorney is quoted.
From spring to August, no news is good news, and LSU had plenty of no news even during the slow dog days of summer.
Orgeron should have just yawned and ignored it, of course, even as many other SEC schools were jousting and tussling and no-commenting with the usual nasty and disconcerting headlines.
You let it go, look the other way — sort of like watching a no-hitter in progress.
It’s like my own mom, perhaps more experienced than most, used to say that the one reactive phrase that should never be in a parent’s arsenal is: “My boy would never do that.”
Not that she didn’t hope for the best, though usually on pins and needles.
That’s the prudent way you handle no news, good news.
Take a deep breath, just hope and pray that tomorrow is similarly uneventful.
But, no, Orgeron had to brag a little bit on his Choir Boys of Summer like a proud papa.
He had to gush outwardly before the assembled fans at that Rotary Club at what his Boy Scouts had been up to all summer — nothing, apparently, other than conditioning and weightlifting and maybe studying trigonometry or some such — while he was passing out gold stars for deportment.
No doubt several in the crowd winced, knowing from past experience that no school is immune to it, that underneath most college students there’s an inner knucklehead waiting to get out without any warning, if only for a moment’s lapse in judgment.
But Orgeron bragged on anyway, to the point that when the meeting adjourned you expected to walk outside and be confronted with Tigers helping little old ladies across the busy street.
You just don’t rattle that cage, but yet Orgeron gushed on until it was inevitable.
Oh yes, of course it was only a matter of time.
Five, four, three, two …
And, sure enough, not much has gone right off the field for the Tigers since that uplifting speech.
At the time Orgeron had no way of knowing that one of his starting offensive linemen had already run afoul of one of those pesky “school policies,” one of those that takes the punishment out of the coach’s hands and lets the civilian side of campus handle it.
So, two days later, before the team could even get fitted for shoulder pads on Friday’s reporting day, starting right guard Ed Ingram was suspended indefinitely, causing a shake-up and limiting the options for what looked to be an offensive line with some depth and flexibility for a change.
Take a deep breath and …
At the time Orgeron had no way of knowing — one presumes, at least — that one of his most promising young defensive players, sophomore inside linebacker Tyler Taylor, had been arrested on May 31 back home in Georgia in connection with a burglary of a pawn shop on Jan. 8 (several rifles went missing).
Taylor’s arrest only came to light Wednesday, so he’s suspended for the foreseeable future too.
According to the arrest warrant, he wasn’t one of the three suspects accused (via videotape) of entering the pawn shop in Cumming, located about 40 miles northeast of Atlanta, well after hours, but he did allegedly provide transportation for the other four to and from the crime.
In the trade, it’s known as the getaway driver, which the law apparently takes a similarly dim view of — three felonies worth, in this case.
His attorney told The Advocate of Baton Rouge that Taylor plans to plead not guilty.
He will get his day in court, although as of yet no court date has been set.
Who knows? Maybe it’s all a big understanding.
At absolute best, it’s likely to take a while to sort out.
Neither incident nor suspension is a season killer.
But after that blissful summer Orgeron gushed about, August is off toe rough start.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org