As McNeese State quarterback Cody Orgeron prepares to live out a childhood dream of playing in LSU’s Tiger Stadium this week, he promises with a grin that he won’t hold it against his father for trying to ruin it.
“I really think my dad’s going to tell them to get after me,” Cody Orgeron said of LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, who also helps oversee defensive linemen. “It’s no harsh feelings. It’s his job to do it and it’s my job to execute. I expect them to come at me full speed and I’m ready.”
Ed Orgeron said one of his old friends and colleagues, former NFL special teams coordinator Bobby April, advised him to cherish sharing the stage with his son, even as they try to beat each other.
“He said, ‘Man, enjoy this. This is a special moment.’ And it is,” Ed Orgeron recalled, adding that this game also marks the first time in his more than three decades of coaching that he received a ticket request from an opposing QB.
The elder Orgeron is renowned for animated, game-day motivational speeches that are loud, passionate, profanity-laced and sometimes barely intelligible. Ed Orgeron’s eyes smiled when asked to reflect on the tone and language he’s used over the years to implore pass rushers to take down quarterbacks, and whether anything might change against his son’s Cowboys this week.
“I may tone down a couple words I use because it is my son, but besides that, Cody knows, we’re coming, man,” Ed Orgeron said. “We’re hungry. We have distaste in our belly and we’re coming and McNeese is in our way. He understands that.”
Indeed, this is a big game for both teams, albeit for different reasons.
For McNeese, which plays in the second-tier FCS, it’s as simple as the opportunity to get a landmark victory against a power conference team in a famous, 102,00-seat venue and go down in college football lore.
For LSU, winning — and convincingly so — is a pressing concern.
After entering the season ranked 16th, LSU fell out of the AP Top 25 with a 38-27 loss at UCLA on Saturday - a result that only warms the seat of the Tigers coach after the program went 5-5 in 2020 for its first non-winning season since 1999.
If the Cowboys were to post an unlikely victory on Saturday, influential LSU boosters could conceivably start calling for the head of the winning quarterback’s father.
“It’s kind of a difficult situation, but I can’t really get caught up in that,” Cody Orgeron said. “We look forward to going there and giving them all we got. ... Nothing’s impossible in this world.”
There are all sorts of highly unusual tidbits surrounding this game.
After Orgeron finished watching video of his upcoming opponent’s season-opening 42-36 loss to Division II West Florida, he called McNeese’s quarterback to discuss the game.
“I want to evaluate our opponent, but I also want to cheer for my son,” Orgeron said. “It was a little bit different, but you know what, I thought he made some good throws.”
Cody Orgeron, who passed for 367 yards last weekend, said his father complimented his performance. But the younger Orgeron also noted, “You know, he’s game planning against me, too. So, I’m sure not going to tell me all my weaknesses. He’s going to try to expose them a little bit, but I’m going to try to do the same as well. It’s going to be fun.”
Noting that he has two brothers now working on his father’s coaching staff at LSU, Cody Orgeron also jokingly described the match-up as “me against the whole family.”
It would be reasonable to suspect that no opposing coach has had a better scouting report on Cody Orgeron than the QB’s father, who’s made the trip west from Baton Rouge to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to see his son play numerous times.
“He really just came here as a dad though,” Cody Orgeron said. “He wasn’t really game-planning or scheming, seeing our tendencies and stuff. He’s the best dad a kid could ask for.”
Indeed, Ed Orgeron doesn’t hesitate to says he’s proud of Cody or discuss his accomplishments. Cody Orgeron grew up playing primarily tennis before one year of high school football in Mandeville, Louisiana. He walked on at McNeese and ultimately earned a scholarship while working his way up to starter his red-shirt junior year in 2019.
He’s now in graduate school while taking advantage of an extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted all players in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ed and Cody Orgeron said they talk or text every day and that won’t change this week, even as game day nears.
“Me and Cody are best friends,” Ed Orgeron said. “So, that ain’t never going to stop.”
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