(AP) — Ed Orgeron’s last home game as LSU’s head coach will be against No. 15 Texas A&M on Saturday.
It also will be his final game overall unless the Tigers (5-6, 2-5 SEC) win and receive a bowl bid.
“I don’t think it’s going to hit me until the end, and I really don’t think that way,” Orgeron said. “But I am appreciative of the time I had here — a lot of great days.”
Orgeron, a Louisiana native who dreamed as a younger coach of eventually leading LSU’s program, is just two years removed from winning a national championship. But the Tigers are 10-11 in the last two seasons and the university negotiated his departure last month, effective at the end of the season.
“I’m so excited about this game,” Orgeron said. “We’re going to be pumped up and we’re going to be ready to go.”
Although a spotlight will be on Orgeron for his final home game, it’s also the final home game for 19 seniors who are completing their careers in a program that has seen numerous other players leave early for the NFL or enter the transfer portal.
“I want to send them out the right way,” Orgeron said. “I want them to play for them. I want them to win for the Tigers. I want them to win for themselves. This is about them.”
The Aggies (8-3, 4-3) are looking to improve their standing in the SEC West and their bowl destination by beating the Tigers.
“We need to continue to play well, keep achieving things we’ve got to play for as far as finishing this season out and having a great year,” Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said.
The highlight of the Aggies’ season was a victory against then-No. 1 Alabama, but they have losses against three other SEC West rivals — Arkansas, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
“You play in this league, you better match all the intensity,” Fisher said. “In this league you have to be up. You have to be ready not only to match intensity, but you’ve got to match execution. You’ve got to match physicality. You’ve got to match toughness, all those things.”
Fisher is a former LSU assistant and reportedly was a candidate for the job when Orgeron was hired full-time after the 2016 season, when Orgeron was interim head coach. Fisher’s name was linked again to the current search, though he made it clear last week that he plans on staying with the Aggies.
The coaching intrigue adds to a rivalry between LSU and Texas A&M that has grown in recent seasons.
“They’re important games because they’re SEC West games,” Fisher said. “All the West games, I call them double whammies because they are big games and they’re divisional games and they’re all rivalries to me.
“You’re so close in proximity, and we recruit Louisiana, they recruit Texas like everybody does, but they’re very close. And they’ve always had great success here. So I think that kind of makes it that way.”
–Field Level Media