Fairly or unfairly — and when it comes to the arc of a head coach’s career, judging it by how he fares against one particular foe seems decidedly unfair — LSU head coach Ed Orgeron will be judged by how his teams perform against Alabama.
It’s that way with any coach and his school’s main rival whether it be former UA coach Bill Curry against Auburn or former Georgia coach Mark Richt against Florida.
Orgeron knows his tenure will be defined on how successful he is against the big bad bully of college football. He said as much during his introductory press conference.
“Yes, you are judged by that game,” he said. “That’s the nature of the beast. I welcome it. I bring it on. I can’t wait till the day we beat those guys. That’s the benchmark. Now, we have to recruit better. We have to get players that are very similar to the benchmark of this conference. We have to get coaches that can coach at that level. We have some coaches on the staff that can. We have to have the mindset that we can go out and beat those guys. I tell you what, for the most part of that last time we played them, we had it. There’s a couple of pieces missing. We plan to fix those pieces so we can get that job accomplished. That is the benchmark every day we go to work. We understand the benchmark.
“I think this is huge for us in recruiting. I think this is huge because they have won the SEC, they have won national championships, they’re on top of the world right now. This is the benchmark.”
No one needs to remind anyone in Baton Rouge that the Tigers are riding a six-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide.
Earlier this week, Orgeron was asked why he embraces the game instead of trying to downplay it an attempt to take pressure off the players. Orgeron reminded the reporter from where he was born.
“Born and raised in Louisiana, how can you not know that?” Orgeron said. “I mean, this is the game. Everywhere I go, they talk about this. This is the game.
“I’m not going to make it so huge to our players that they won’t be ready to play. We’re going to be ready to play. Obviously we got four games left on our schedule. This is the next one, so it’s important.”