When LSU made Ed Orgeron its full-time head coach in late November 2016, the school did so through something we can now call the Dabo Swinney Model. The school would pay him well ($3.5 million) but below what it have to pay another coach on the open market. It would then use that money to hire best-in-class coordinators and give them total autonomy over their sides of the ball while the head coach assumes a CEO-type role.
While that didn’t work out in 2017 with offensive coordinator hire Matt Canada, the Dabo Model has worked wonders in 2018. A team that many picked to go 6-6 and be in the head coaching market again this winter is now 6-1 and ranked No. 5 in the country. The Tigers were the Team of September with away-from-home wins over top-10 Miami and top-10 Auburn. Both of those teams are now unranked and LSU appeared headed for a downswing after a loss at Florida on Oct. 6, but the Tigers struck back with an impressive win over No. 2 Georgia on Saturday.
The Tigers out-schemed and out-performed the Bulldogs on their way to a 36-16 win, the program’s first win over a No. 2-ranked team since the infamous 9-6 Game of the Century win at Alabama in 2011. Another such game awaits on Nov. 3, but it’s clear the Tigers have fully bought in to Orgeron’s culture.
“What is the job of a head coach? We have incredibly high paid, incredibly tactile coordinators who do an incredible job, create incredible game plans and have us always ready to play. So what room does that leave for the head coach? He’s got to make sure every Saturday that we are mentally, physically, emotionally ready to play. He has done that every Saturday that I’ve been around him. Every time,” senior tight end Foster Moreau said.
“It might be a different thing, it might be a different wrinkle. He might cut practice by five minutes, but he’s got an incredible game plan and he knows what he’s doing. They hear his accent and they think, ‘Oh, this guy is just all rah-rah and gets people pumped up on Saturdays.’ But the lengths that he goes to make sure that we’re ready to play on Saturday, it’s astounding. You wouldn’t believe how hard this coaching staff worked if I told you.”
— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) October 14, 2018
These are the types of words every head coach wishes to hear from his players. Everyone likes to hear nice things about themselves, of course, but it’s more than just that. It’s a sign that your culture has fully set in.
Completely unrelated to the topic at hand but just because we love you, here’s LSU defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko doing the haka with his family before Saturday’s game.
— ESPN (@espn) October 13, 2018