Until the Syracuse Orange have a new football coach, we'll be previewing candidates that may be up for the job. One of these individuals might be leading the program. Or maybe it's someone else entirely. Sometimes we're wrong. Sorry.
Who's this guy?
Ed Orgeron, aka "DACOACHO"
Where is he right now?
LSU, where he handles the defensive line. He was on the sidelines earlier this season against Syracuse up at the Carrier Dome. It's his first season with the Tigers. LSU's run defense was ranked 26th in the country this season, though with diminishing returns as the season wore on.
Where else has he been?
A bunch of places since his coaching career began back in 1984 as a grad assistant at Northwestern State. His first big gig was as Miami's defensive line coach from 1988-1992, and by 1995, he was coaching Syracuse's D-line under Paul Pasqualoni. From 1998-2004, he handled the D-line and recruiting at USC, then took the head job at Ole Miss, which did not go too well from 2005-2007. Assistant stops with the New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Volunteers led him back to USC to handle the D-line and recruiting by 2010.
In 2013, he was a beloved interim coach after Lane Kiffin was fired, and scored a notable victory over a top-10 Stanford squad. Though the Trojans' players rallied to get Orgeron the full-time role, it went to the since-fired Steve Sarkisian.
What do current fans think of him?
LSU was excited to bring him aboard due to his recruiting prowess. You can read about that positive impact right off the bat by way of the excellent And the Valley Shook. They break down his previous successes at USC and Ole Miss, specifically highlighting that he really can and does recruit well from any part of the country.
Being about as Cajun as can be, DACOACHO does bring about fun and joy with him at any stop. LSU fans have enjoyed his stay there, capturing excellent snippets like this entire piece which you should read. In it, he talks about how he creates a family atmosphere, loves bad food and more entertaining quotes that I wouldn't blame you for wanting to be part of our program. Check this out too.
Tigers fans appear to be expecting him to head elsewhere this offseason, but they're not necessarily enthusiastic about him departing (again, due to recruiting outcomes).
Random fun fact:
The Times-Picayune's Jim Kleinpeter referred to Orgeron as a "Cajun Fred Flintstone," which is delightful and probably true. Bonus fun fact: DACOACHO also played himself in the 2009 film, The Blind Side.
Six degrees of Syracuse:
Orgeron previously coached the defensive line here, as we mentioned up top. He's also interested in the SU head coach opening, as he indicated nearly a week ago.
Advantages to hiring him?
Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting.
He's been around college football for decades, and every stop he's made he generates a family atmosphere and seems to rake in high-level talent. And the Valley Shook calls him the country's best recruiter outside of Nick Saban, which we'll choose to go with for the purposes of this section, and then question in the next one.
He has coached at Syracuse already and knows the region a bit, though I'll willingly admit that his time with the Orange then probably doesn't apply much to now in terms of recruiting and cultural fit.
National relevance is an underrated factor here, but should be considered. Orgeron's a character and a story in and of himself. Having him on the sidelines keeps us more involved in the week-to-week college football conversation than we've been over the last 15 years. That may not matter in terms of how much money the program makes, or wins it picks up or recruiting gets. But it may, for all we know. Would rather be talked about than not.
Drawbacks to hiring him?
Another coaching candidate that's "not a Northeast guy," even though yes, he did coach here at Syracuse 20 years ago. As noted above, his recruiting is regarded as top-notch, but that would certainly be put to the test if he were selling the Orange to four- and five-star kids. It's one thing to get them interested/coming to Ole Miss or (even easier) USC. It's another to get them to agree to come to Central New York. He'd have his work cut out for him, for sure.
Orgeron's the same age as Dino Babers (54), but unlike Babers, his on-field results have been a mixed bag. Ole Miss was a disaster (10-25 overall), while he went 6-2 in eight games at USC. This year's LSU line started well and seemed to come undone a little bit. He's not a rising star, but rather, is viewed as a guy who's been around awhile. Counter that to a guy like Babers, who's seen as someone destined for bigger things.
While DACOACHO expressing interest in Syracuse may help out the overall search, it also speaks to the position he's currently in. At the time he was asked about it by media, he was on shaky ground since Les Miles was potentially getting fired from the Tigers. Now Miles is staying, and he would potentially be staying as well. We haven't really heard anyone else is interested in Orgeron outside of Syracuse. Is that a sign?
Odds it happens?
I'd put this pretty low (5 percent for the time being), though Orgeron is probably high up on Mark Coyle's "second tier" of considerations. If we can't get a riser like Babers or Scott Frost, Orgeron could be an excellent add as a defensive coordinator (especially in Frost's case). But otherwise, there's not a ton of upside to Orgeron if Coyle wants an exciting addition that quickly gets fans behind the team again.
Obviously the coaching carousel can shift quickly and remove Syracuse's top candidates before they can make a move, though. So perhaps we head this far down the list? Without knowledge of Coyle's preferences, it's a waiting game for the time being.