LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron is an in-your-face type of man, intimidating to many of his goliath defensive lineman.
That intimidation likely stems from the stiff grading assessment system he’s implemented within his defensive troupe.
“It’s something different for us,” said junior defensive tackle Christian LaCouture. “Coach ‘O’ and [graduate assistant] Dennis Johnson go back, watch us and grade our performance.
“He’ll give us the sheet, and we get graded against the run and the pass. He uses a plus/minus system, and we look to keep our percentages up. So once Coach ‘O’ gives you the sheet, you will know if you had a good game or not.”
Orgeron keeps track of each of his lineman’s performance with points. He grades his players on every part of the game, spanning from tackles for loss to loafing on defense.
The better the play, the higher the points.
A sack is four points. Tackles are normally two points, unless it’s a tackle for loss, which is four points. A batted ball on the line of scrimmage is four points, and so on.
A combination of efforts can result in a massive point inflation and may eventually lead to a points win, the goal for the lineman after each game.
“It has created a room of competition,” LaCouture said. “A healthy competition.”
After inspiring his guys to beat one another in points, Orgeron created a positive, competitive atmosphere around the front of the defense.
“[Junior defensive end] Louis [Neal] had a big game on Saturday, so hats off to him,” said sophomore defensive tackle Davon Godchaux. “So he’s beating me right now, but I’ll be back.”
Beating each other in good competition is the goal for the linemen, even if they have to beg a little bit.
“We are always trying to say, ‘Hey coach, I got that tackle. Come on, come on, gimme that,’” LaCouture said.
Orgeron will take off points from his guys if he finds they’re not hustling or loafing on a play, missing an assignment or simply being outworked.
The points are accumulated and given to the players on Monday during their defensive lineman meeting, but playing well in games on Saturday is more important than seeing how many points they have, the linemen said.
“We have to work hard every day,” Godchaux said. “So when Saturday comes, we can go out there and ball. We know whoever puts in the most work will get the points.”
Working hard may get them a point or two here and there, but with Orgeron penciling in the points, hustle is expected.
“Coach ‘O’ grades hard,” Godchaux said. “Like, he grades hard. He deducts for all the little stuff. But he’s trying to get us ready for the next level, so we get it.”