In perhaps the weekend’s biggest game, a much anticipated tilt between LSU and Texas, the Tigers were about to get the ball late in the fourth quarter with around four minutes left with the lead. All Ed Orgeron’s crew needed to do is keep the ball on the ground, get a few first downs and ice the game away.
Leading up to that point, Joe Burrow had been on fire, going 31 of 39 for 471 yards and four touchdowns. As Zach pointed out in his weekly Nuggets wrap up, Burrow (thanks in large part to the addition of new passing game coordinator Joe Brady – who has garnered much of the credit for LSU’s new-look offense that allows the receivers and quarterback to shine) distributed the ball perhaps better than any quarterback in LSU football history against the Longhorns defense with multiple receivers going over the 120 yard mark.
About to take over possession with an opportunity to run out the clock and hang on to the lead, the four-minute offensive approach is exactly what was on Orgeron’s mind, so he ran it by offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, in a story he shared with reporters after the game.
“Hey man, what do you think about 4-minute offense?” Orgeron asked his coordinator before the drive.
Ensminger had other plans. “No. I wanna go pass the ball, go down there, and score.”
To which Orgeron replied, “Go ahead.”
Ensminger called two straight passes, then a run, followed by three straight passes. That third pass was the backbreaker for the Longhorns. Facing a 3rd and 17 in their own territory on that drive, Burrow evaded some pressure, stepped up in the pocket and delivered a strike to an LSU receiver who took it to the house to all but seal the decisive LSU victory.
I point that decision, and the moments and conversations that led up to it and followed it, because it shows absolute trust from Orgeron. No ego involved. No stepping on anyone’s toes. Just allowing the guys he hired to do what they thought was in the best interest of the team.
Sounds really simple, but as a new head coach myself, relinquishing control in a big game situation like that can be one of the hardest things that you do. What coach O did shows complete trust and faith in his coordinator, and that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Below is Orgeron explaining the conversation with Ensminger at the presser.
Ed Orgeron’s conversation with OC Steve Ensminger at the LSU-Texas game: “I said, ‘Hey man, what you think about 4-minute offense?’
He goes, ‘No. I wanna go pass the ball, go down there, and score.’
I said, ‘Go ahead.’”
That is what trust and belief looks & sounds like. pic.twitter.com/ekKnZWhqVV
— Danny Schaechter 🦅 (@CoachDShack) September 9, 2019