BATON ROUGE - A comment LSU football coach Ed Orgeron made near the end of his press conference Saturday after upsetting No. 20 Florida, 49-42, sounded strange.
"Give our assistant coaches the credit. I thought they did a great job of coaching the team this week,” he said.
Coaches have said similar things about their staff after a significant victory before, but that "coaching the team this week" part sounded a little more specific. And when you consider Orgeron's shaky status throughout this season ever since losing the opener at UCLA following a 5-5 season in 2020, it sounded like perhaps he let go last week and let his assistants take over?
And now that scenario seems very believable since Orgeron agreed to a contract settlement and to be fired last week by LSU before the Florida game, a prominent Baton Rouge businessman and longtime LSU financial supporter confirmed on Sunday afternoon.
Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated and formerly of the Baton Rouge Advocate had the story first.
Orgeron, who has a salary of more than $9 million a year, is 4-3 and 2-1 in the SEC this season. He has been given the opportunity to finish out the season if he wants to while LSU athletic director Scott Woodward looks for a new coach. The Tigers play at Ole Miss (5-1, 2-1 SEC) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS.
Just two years ago, Orgeron directed LSU to its greatest season ever with a national championship and 15-0 season, including victories over seven top 10 teams. LSU won three national championships in the 1958, 2003 and 2007 seasons before 2019, but with 11-0, 13-1 and 12-2 records, respectively, and without defeating as many quality teams. Quarterback Joe Burrow also won just the school's second Heisman Trophy in 2019 since tailback Billy Cannon in 1959 as Burrow directed one of the greatest passing offenses in NCAA history. He was the first player picked in the 2020 NFL Draft by Cincinnati.
Orgeron has gone 9-8 since and has had issues off the field with regard to his handling - or lack thereof - of well publicized sexual assault cases involving former players Derrius Guice and Drake Davis as well as Title IX lawsuits against LSU.
According to his contract, LSU owes Orgeron a buyout of nearly $20 million. But LSU officials and LSU attorneys are atttempting to negotiate that down significantly. If Orgeron's dismissal is effective Dec. 1, his buyout would be in the $17 million range. That could could also be negotiated down significantly.
Orgeron is the second highest college football coach in the country at $9,012,917 with Alabama coach Nick Saban No. 1 at $9,753,221, according to USA TODAY.