LSU Football: Another decision by Ed Orgeron backfired

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

It appears that a decision that LSU football head coach Ed Orgeron made this past summer backfired and was the cause of some of the issues that afflicted the Tigers in their week one loss to the UCLA Bruins.

In early June, Orgeron fired offensive line coach James Cregg.

The reasoning for Cregg’s firing was because he visited a recruit and provided team gear to a recruit in May while recruiting was still shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cregg obviously broke the rules, but do we really believe that he’s the only coach who violated this rule in some form or fashion?

The former LSU offensive line coach admitted the violation to the NCAA (according to a report from The Advocate). And he admitted that he knew he was breaking a rule. To his credit, he didn’t lie to the NCAA (as far as we know).

Cregg, the 2019 Football Scoop offensive line coach of the year, is now suing LSU for “breach of contract”.

From The Advocate:

"Cregg claims in his lawsuit, which seeks damages, that the NCAA “has never issued a ruling or decision that Coach Cregg has committed a Level I or Level II violation, or repeated Level III and/or Level IV violations, of the NCAA bylaws such that … the Employment Agreement could provide a for cause justification for LSU to terminate coach Cregg’s employment.”"

Was LSU football’s decision to fire James Cregg a mistake?

If LSU wanted to keep Cregg around, they could’ve. Once the violation has occurred, the NCAA is going to do what it wants to do. The Tigers might think they’ll get in the NCAA’s good graces by firing Cregg, but that rarely turns out to be the case.

This seems to be a situation where LSU saw a way to get rid of Cregg without paying his buyout, and then go hire the coach Orgeron wanted — Baton Rouge native Brad Davis.

It appears that the decision to hire Davis might be one of the reasons the Tigers struggled to run the ball against UCLA this past Saturday.

It’s not that Davis is a bad coach, or won’t do well at LSU, it’s the timing of the decision.

Tigers offensive lineman Ed Ingram talked this week about the challenges of getting a new offensive line coach after spring practice.

From 247Sports:

"“I kind of wish we could have gotten him a little bit earlier if they were going to do a coaching change with whoever because it’s two different coaching styles, he has different techniques that our old offensive line coach taught differently. It’d have been good to gel in with the new technique and all that stuff a little bit earlier so we get used to it and kind of integrate it into the season.”"

Ingram also said that a lot of LSU’s offensive linemen were “tired and out of shape”, which isn’t a good look for the unit as a whole (or the coaching staff).

If Cregg wasn’t fired in June would the outcome of the UCLA game have been different?

(Kind of feels like the same question we ask about the decision to hire Bo Pelini as the defensive coordinator in 2020.)

It’s hard to say for sure. But I feel confident in saying the running game likely would’ve looked a lot better.

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Perhaps Coach O should’ve held off until after the 2021 season before making a decision on Cregg.