O, no: Communication a troubling weakness for Ed Orgeron

BATON ROUGE, La. — What LSU has here is a failure to communicate. And that miscommunication is developing into enough of a regular pattern to believe the growing pains in Year 1 of the Ed Orgeron era will involve far more pain than growth.

On the first play of LSU’s 24-21 loss to Troy on Saturday, Orgeron did not know what his team was doing. Literally.

Nick Brossette — LSU’s No. 3 running back — took the ball from Danny Etling and ran 5 yards before putting it on the turf.

The sequence came as a surprise to LSU’s football coach.

“I was not aware we were going to do that,” Orgeron said.

Come again?

“I wish I could have had that first play back,” he said. “I wanted Darrel Williams to get the ball. Our third-string back got the ball. I should have done a better job of game-planning. … I think that’s not the way we ought to start the game.”

I’ll say.

The first 10-to-15 plays of a football game are typically scripted. And the very first play is always, always, ALWAYS scripted. Formation, personnel, the works. This is never a situation in which the head coach should be caught by surprise. That it happened suggests a far deeper set of communication issues that promise to plague this team all season.

Orgeron spent the offseason talking about how he was going to be the CEO of the program, allowing his coordinators an unusual amount of leeway in making decisions. It sounded bold and innovative. Now, that policy looks to be biting the Tigers in the tail and symbolizing an overall lack of vision and direction.

It seemed pretty clear Orgeron was hanging offensive coordinator Matt Canada or running backs coach Tommie Robinson out to dry for the decision to start Brossette over Williams. But he quickly walked that back, rightly placing the blame on his own shoulders for not knowing what was going on with his own football team.

“I make all the calls,” he stated when asked who made the call. “Everything goes through me. I should have checked it and I didn’t, all right? Everything goes through me. No pointing the fingers at anybody. If I could have had that call back, Darrel would have got the ball.”

That Brossette’s fumble even mattered touches a whole different set of issues. The first play of the game shouldn’t be enough to sink LSU against an opponent from the Sun Belt Conference. Plays like that are only supposed to be backbreakers for lesser teams — though on Saturday it was impossible to dispute that LSU was the lesser team.

Recruiting will address the issues that allowed Troy to push around LSU. And Orgeron has proven an adept recruiter throughout his entire career. But for this season to have any value whatsoever for the Tigers, he has to prove to be a far more able communicator.

We already saw evidence this was going to be an issue. When Orgeron decided to replace Danny Etling with Myles Brennan last week, he only bothered telling Brennan that it was going to happen. That’s not something you do to your senior quarterback, or to an unsuspecting offense.

It was ultimately great that Brennan got reps against Syracuse. But to not tell anyone on the team about the intention to give him those reps is confounding. After, all it’s the most important guy on the field.

Orgeron was hired for the full-time job, thanks in part, to the famous binder he brought to his interview with Joe Alleva. That binder contained a plan for every possible contingency, a show of organization that blew away the athletic director.

At the moment, the Orgeron that the binder promised does not jibe with the Orgeron we are getting in reality.

The post O, no: Communication a troubling weakness for Ed Orgeron appeared first on SEC Country.

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