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Kirk Herbstreit opens up on Ed Orgeron’s downfall with program

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LSU and head coach Ed Orgeron shook up the college football world Sunday when they revealed they would part ways at the end of the 2021 season. Orgeron is 9-8 as the program’s head coach since the team won the national championship in 2019.

It is surreal to look at how much the program has gone down after its masterful 2019 campaign, which followed up a 10-3 season from the year prior. That surprised ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit quite a bit, who opened up on it during the latest episode of The ESPN College Football Podcast.

“Obviously, huge news with Coach O,” Herbstreit said. “They bow up and show some passion, show some grit back home. I said on GameDay, ‘Get ready. They can be booed by their own fans. It’s one of those kinds of stadiums where, when it’s going bad, it can get really bad.’ And when it’s going good, they’re backed in a corner, their coach is backed into a corner and they come out swinging, played together — that’s all. If they would play like that every Saturday, we wouldn’t be critical of their program.

“But those kinds of Saturdays have been few and far between over the last couple of years since they raised that trophy at the end of the ’19 year. And maybe a lot of these quote-unquote injuries and opt outs, maybe they got a chance to play some of the younger players — guys who actually wanted to play — and played with some desire and played with some pride. I mean, that’s — when I think of LSU since I started paying attention to college football, I think of LSU, out of all of the programs out there, whether they win or lose, I think of a sense of pride.

“And that’s the thing. I say that out of passion and love and respect for their program. I’ve just not seen that over the last couple of years. They fought like crazy and God bless ’em for doing that, and then Coach O ends up losing his job or whatever it was called, an agreement where they both agreed to move on after the 2021 season. Still have a new coach in 2022 and I don’t know how — you think of that. I don’t know if it’s Scott Woodward, the AD, had much, really another option there at this point. I think people are really frustrated with the timing of it and whether it was justified or not.”

The quarterback situation within the SEC was a mixed bag entering the 2021 season. And midseason SEC quarterback rankings, compared to our preseason list, looks considerably different seven weeks after the fact with a large sample size of who’s hot and who’s not under center. Backed by Heisman favorites Matt Corral and Bryce Young at Ole Miss and Alabama, respectively, the league has seen impressive production at quarterback this season and many of those stars will have the center of the spotlight over the second half of the campaign with the College Football Playoff selection committee keeping a close eye on results.

Our rankings consist of film review, numbers against quality competition and overall impact on the success or failures on every respective team.

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