Ed Orgeron loves a good slogan. Two of them have become battle cries for LSU’s embattled football coach over his six-season tenure. Just listen to Orgeron speak in any public setting. They’re bound to appear.
Flip the script.
Block out the noise.
The noise is deafening in Baton Rouge. Orgeron can no longer ignore speculation surrounding his job. After two straight losses, LSU (3-3, 1-2 SEC) is running out of opportunities to flip the script with No. 17 Florida (4-2, 2-2) visiting Tiger Stadium on Saturday (noon ET, ESPN).
“I will say this and I will say it again — no one has to tell me about the LSU expectations,” Orgeron said. “I know them. I was born with them, so I understand. I understand this is not the LSU standard of performance. I understand my job. I get it totally.
“I know exactly where I’m at and I’m going to go to work as hard as I can today and don’t blink. I promise you I will not blink for anyone.”
This was vintage Orgeron. Brash and bold. Confident and curt. He once said the day he can’t win a fight is the day he stops getting out of bed in the morning.
To steal a lyric from Tom Petty — a Gainesville native, no less — Orgeron won’t back down.
“Nobody’s told me about my job status,” Orgeron said. “I haven’t had any discussion about it. As far as I know, I’m the head coach of the LSU Tigers. That’s all that matters.”
Orgeron hasn’t discussed his standing with the players either. Not because he’s on solid ground, but because the last thing LSU needs is a reason to quit.
“That’s not anything I can control or any of my teammates can control,” center Liam Shanahan said. “What we’re focused on every week is just preparing for our opponent and this week it’s Florida. It’s going to be a big game for us.
“Obviously it’s been a tough start to the year for us. No one wanted to be in this situation, but the only thing we can do is keep fighting.”
That’s how far this program has fallen. Just two years removed from a national title, the Tigers are playing for each other — not championships.
LSU is just 8-8 since that magical night in New Orleans. Orgeron was given a reprieve after last year’s 5-5 finish. Staff changed followed. But the results have stayed the same. UCLA ran away from the Tigers, Kentucky ran through them and Auburn turned Death Valley into a metaphorical funeral.
Orgeron’s fate is in the hands of LSU athletic director Scott Woodward. A Baton Rouge native and LSU graduate, Woodward did not hire Orgeron but signed him to a six-year, $42 million extension in Jan. 2020.
“(Woodward) comes to meet with me every Sunday and he’s been at every practice,” Orgeron said. “He’s been very positive and encouraging every time I’ve met with him.”
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Orgeron believes a win over Florida could be the feel-good moment LSU needs to turn the corner. It was what happened last season in Gainesville, a game that will go down in program lore as “The Shoe Game.”
Florida defensive back Marco Wilson was called for a personal foul in the fourth quarter with the score tied after throwing LSU tight end Kole Taylor’s shoe across the field.
The penalty put Cade York in position to kick a 57-yard game-winning field goal into the fog at the Swamp.
The last time Florida came to Baton Rouge, a crowd of 102,321 watched Joe Burrow rally LSU in the second half of a 42-28 win.
“The stadium was so crazy. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” running back Tyrion Davis-Price said. “I remember it was tied up 28-28 and my running backs coach, he put me in the game and he was asking if I was ready and I was like, ‘Of course I’m ready.’
“That’s when I scored that touchdown to make it 35-28 and it was just electrifying.”
Adam Hunsucker covers LSU for the USA TODAY Network. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @adam_hunsucker.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: LSU coach Ed Orgeron addresses job status ahead of Florida game