Alleva: LSU football “future is very bright” under Orgeron
NEW ORLEANS – LSU has a bye week prior to its Nov. 4 date at top-ranked Alabama, and after three straight victories, athletic director Joe Alleva is bullish on head coach Ed Orgeron.
“We went through a couple of tough games, but to Coach O’s credit, he’s righted the ship and the future is very bright for our program,” Alleva said Tuesday at the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club at Rock ‘n’ Bowl.
“Coach O is a special guy,” Alleva said. “He matches the passion and intensity of our fans. He’s a great recruiter. He’s a great motivator. People just have to be a little bit patient; he has some recruiting to do.”
The Tigers have played 20 true freshmen. “That’s unheard of in major college football,” Alleva said. “I’m really looking forward to the future.”
First comes a tough November stretch, beginning with Alabama. “There’s four tough games ahead of us,” Alleva said. “Our destiny is in our hands.”
Alleva would like to see venue-wide beer sales approved throughout the Southeastern Conference.
“I’m a big proponent of selling beer throughout the stadium,” he said. “It’s a presidential decision throughout our conference.
“If you look across the landscape of college football, attendance is going down. We have to do a better job of making the fan experience at games more friendly. I really believe beer would help in that situation.”
Alleva believes the current federal investigation into bribery involving college basketball coaches and shoe companies comes back to basketball’s “one-and-done” rule.
“I’ve never been in favor of the one-and-done,” Alleva said. “I think the NBA needs to let players go straight (from high school) to the NBA. I’d like to see the NBA develop a policy similar to baseball,” in which players could go pro straight out of high school or stay at least three years in college.
While LSU and Tulane will meet in an exhibition men’s basketball game for hurricane relief on Oct. 31, Alleva is not opposed to a regular-season meeting with the Green Wave.
“I don’t have any problem with that,” Alleva said. “I’ll be happy to talk to Will (Wade, LSU’s first-year coach) and see if he’s willing to play Tulane.”
Alleva said that when the 2017 football season is over, the department will begin extensive renovations of the 11-year-old football operations center.
“Ours is still good, but it’s not nearly as good when we first built it,” Alleva said. “Our coaches will have to move into temporary offices, but when it’s done, it will be well worth it.”
His biggest point of pride in a decade at LSU may be the Tigers’ off-the-field accomplishments.
When Alleva arrived a decade ago, “Our graduation rate was in the 60s,” he said. “Last year, our graduation rate was 89 percent.”
The football bye week has provided some additional time in Alleva’s schedule.
“I don’t have to spend any time watching video with Coach Orgeron this week,” Alleva joked.
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Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…