BATON ROUGE, La. — Just a week ago, LSU coach Ed Orgeron was under fire from all angles following the Tigers’ homecoming loss to Troy. But there was at least one person willing to encourage him to stay the course — Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.
“I think he tried to call me three times, with some very encouraging words,” Orgeron said. “I appreciate that.”
This week, Steele gets back to trying to make LSU fans angry at Orgeron again. Communication between the two has temporarily ceased. But there is a reason the two remain thick as thieves the rest of the year.
Orgeron was hired as LSU’s defensive line coach on the same day Steele was hired as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator in 2015.
“He let me run the front, obviously. And I thought he was a tremendous man to work for, tremendous recruiter,” Orgeron said. “Great team guy, brought a lot to our staff.”
Orgeron said the mutual admiration goes back a lot longer than their time working together. He recalled a moment on the recruiting trail from years past when Orgeron and Steele came to the discovery that they were pretty much the same person.
“I remember one night we were at at a Tallahassee Jamboree in the spring. And one of my deals was I was going to be the last
recruiter to walk off the field,” Orgeron recalled. “And it was midnight. And he wouldn’t walk off the field. Neither would
I. And the sprinklers came on. I said, ‘Man, let’s go.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, let’s go.'”
Even though they were two peas in a pod, Steele and Orgeron didn’t end up having a long-lasting arrangement as co-workers.
Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall after athletic director Joe Alleva’s failed attempt to oust Les Miles at the end of the 2015 season, Steele bolted for Auburn after just a season in Baton Rouge. LSU was reportedly willing to match Auburn’s contract offer, but Steele still left for The Plains.
Now he’s returning to LSU with his fingerprints on both defenses.
Auburn ranks third in the SEC in both scoring defense (13 ppg) and total defense (287.5 ypg). LSU has employed a vastly different look under Dave Aranda, moving from the 4-3 to a base 3-4. But many of the players at Aranda’s disposal arrived under Steele’s watch.
Juniors Arden Key and Donte Jackson were in the class that signed a month after Steele’s hire. Sophomores Devin White and Rashard Lawrence — the cornerstones of the 2017 LSU defense — were recruited by him.
The post For Ed Orgeron, matchup with Auburn DC Kevin Steele is personal, in a good way appeared first on SEC Country.