Despite the impending separation, Orgeron has emphasized a commitment to L.S.U. He has appeared content with the situation, expressing relief that his fate with the program is no longer in question.
“Everybody was hearing all of this stuff. Now it’s done,” said Orgeron, whom L.S.U. will owe $16.9 million as a part of a separation agreement. “Now we can just go out and concentrate on football and play football. I think we’re going to play a lot freer.”
Still, questions remained about how the players would respond.
Liam Shanahan, a center, said he finds little struggle in keeping himself motivated.
“We’ve been working pretty much every day, it feels like, for this season, dating back to right after the Ole Miss game at the end of the season last year,” Shanahan said. “We’ve put so much time and effort into this. I don’t see how there could be a lack of motivation.”
Others will draw on their personal lives.
“Biggest thing that is keeping me going throughout the season is my daughter,” said linebacker Damone Clark after Saturday’s game. “I have a 1-year-old daughter. I don’t want anybody else to put food on the table for her. I want to be the one that puts food on the table for her. It just hit different when you have a daughter. You have more to fight for.”
Few things went right for the Tigers on Saturday. They gained only 77 yards on the ground, were 4-for-12 on third down and allowed Mississippi to convert all three of its fourth down attempts. But Clark was a bright spot on the defense with a game-high 20 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
After the loss, Orgeron was asked if he is now questioning his decision to coach the team for the rest of the season.
“Never,” Orgeron said emphatically, repeating the word once more.
“Not even a thought.”