This time, Ed Orgeron said there wasn’t much convincing to do.
When he named the interim coach in 2016, Orgeron had to convince Steve Ensminger to become his interim offensive coordinator. Eventually, Ensminger accepted and led the Tigers for the final eight games of the season.
LSU averaged 465 yards and 32 points per game in the games that Ensminger called plays for the offense – albeit using Cam Cameron’s playbook. Once the Tigers settled in on Matt Canada for the 2017 season, Ensminger slid back to his role as the tight ends coach.
Orgeron and the Tigers parted ways with Canada after the 2017 season and this time, Ensminger said yes.
“I’d been recruiting him,” Orgeron said. “I didn’t have to convince him. I just had to say, ‘Look how good we did Steve, this is LSU. We’re Tigers.’ He was ready. He was ready to do this.”
Orgeron spoke during the introductory press conference for Ensminger on Thursday. He later met with NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune in his office for a one-on-one interview and went over when he realized that Ensminger was his guy.
“As things materialized, you start thinking about things,” Orgeron said. “I looked at other places and seen other candidates. I told (special assistant to the head coach) Derek (Ponamsky), ‘Go get the stats from when Steve took over.’ I said if we have that, we’ll be fine.”
Flexibility in the offense will be key especially since LSU possesses two running quarterbacks in Lowell Narcisse and Justin McMillan and a prototypical pocket passer in Myles Brennan.
Orgeron is confident that whichever quarterback the Tigers end up going with, Ensminger will fit the offense to their skill sets.
“We’re putting together the offense the fans have really always wanted,” Orgeron said. “We’re going to do quarterback runs. We have Lowell Narcisse who can be a great quarterback. Justin McMillan can run the quarterback runs. Myles is a very proficient passer. We’ll have all those things in our offense from a spread look.
“We’re not going back in the box. We want to create space and put the ball in our playmaker’s hands. We have to have that short quick passing game to open up the run. We’re going to go some 4-wide receivers. We’ll go 3-wide and throw the ball. We want to be 50-50. We’re going to utilize what our guys do best and Steve can do that.”
Although Ensminger had been at LSU since 2010, with his new role as the offensive coordinator, Orgeron’s staff is taking shape in the way he wanted.
He’s made the other hires on the offensive side – Tommie Robinson as running backs coach, Mickey Joseph as wide receivers coach, James Cregg as offensive line coach and Jerry Sullivan as the senior offensive assistant and passing game coordinator.
He said all of those coaches are on the same page regarding what LSU wants to do offensively and the Tigers will also talk with other coaches about the offense to get it right where they want it.
“We have researched and developed some quarterback runs that everyone on…