Home Featured Teams LSU Tigers Coach Ed Orgeron and Joe Burrow Find Ultimate Redemption at LSU

Coach Ed Orgeron and Joe Burrow Find Ultimate Redemption at LSU

One program’s trash is another program’s treasure.

As undefeated LSU sits two victories away from the program’s first national title since 2007, their coach and quarterback both racked up lofty individual honors.

Ed Orgeron was selected as the third Coach of the Year in LSU history. Quarterback Joe Burrow captured the first Heisman Trophy for LSU since halfback Billy Cannon in 1959.

While the accolades are impressive, the backstories of both men make them even more meaningful. Orgeron and Burrow have seized the second chances granted to them at LSU.

Six years ago, Oregon posted a 6-2 record as the interim coach at USC but was demoted and elected to resign at the end of the season. After not playing for three seasons at Ohio State, Burrow elected to leave as a grad transfer.

Flash forward to now. Orgeron and Burrow have revitalized LSU with a magical season that will have them forever cherished in Baton Rouge.

Orgeron arrived at LSU as a defensive line coach in 2015. When Les Miles was fired on Sept. 25, 2016, Orgeron once again was selected as an interim coach and posted another 6-2 mark. This time however, Orgeron was rightfully rewarded the job as head coach.

During his transfer process, Burrow initially had his sights set on Nebraska, where he previously lived in 2001-02 when his father Jimmy was an assistant on the Cornhuskers staff.

Yet, Nebraska decided against signing Burrow. The now-infamous quote from Nebraska coach Scott Frost rings especially hollow:

“You think he’s better than what we got?” Frost said to CBS Sports reporter Dennis Dodd.

Orgeron wisely swooped in and Burrow signed with LSU on May 20, 2018.

The rest is blissful history.

With Oregon at the helm and Burrow at quarterback for the last two seasons, LSU has posted a dominant 23-3 record. LSU is preparing to face Oklahoma in the semifinals of College Football Playoff. If LSU wins, they advance to the national title game against either Burrow’s former program (Ohio State) or defending champion Clemson.

Conversely, Nebraska has a 9-17 record in the last two seasons since turning down Burrow and USC struggled to a 5-7 record his season.

Reflecting back on his path, Burrow was especially emotional in thanking Orgeron during his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech. Burrow’s heart is filled with love and admiration for Orgeron.

“You have no idea what you mean to my family. You know, I didn’t play for three years. You took a chance on me, not knowing if I could play or not. And I’m … forever grateful for you,” Burrow said. “Can you imagine a guy like Coach O giving me the keys to his football program? He just means so much to me and my family.”

There’s no doubt in Burrow’s mind that Orgeron is the right man to lead LSU for a very long time.

“And to LSU, I sure hope they give him a lifetime contract,” Burrow said. “He deserves it.”

After claiming the SEC title, Orgeron explained why Burrow was worthy of winning the Heisman Trophy. While his talent played a major role, it was the unselfish nature of Burrow that resonated most with Orgeron.

“The best thing about Joe is he’s a team player. All he wants to do is win this game,” Orgeron said. “Individual awards are not high on his list. That’s what makes him such a great team player.”

The individual awards are not the ultimate goal for the dynamic duo. With two more victories, Orgeron and Burrow will be etched together into the history books as national champions.

From rejected to restored, Orgeron and Burrow have blazed their trails in Baton Rouge.

As such, the present and future at LSU is extremely bright. The incredible tales of perseverance by both men serve as inspiration that will never be forgotten.