A week after LSU announced its split from Matt Canada, LSU coach Ed Orgeron formally presented tight ends coach Steve Ensminger as the offensive coordinator.
“What a great day for the LSU football team,” Orgeron said. “I’m so proud to introduce Steve Ensminger as our next offensive coordinator. He’s a Tiger through and through. He’s a great family man, a Baton Rouge native and 100 percent committed to LSU.”
Orgeron affirmed that after researching various other options for the position, he believed the best coach in the country was already on his staff. Though he hasn’t been a full time offensive coordinator in 20 years, Orgeron is confident in Ensminger’s play calling abilities.
During Orgeron’s time as interim coach in 2016, Ensminger served as the interim offensive coordinator. In eight games under Ensminger, LSU’s offense improved in virtually every aspect.
The Tigers averaged 32 points and 464.9 total yards, and scored 38 or more points five times. They also averaged 7.1 yards per play and converted 46-of-102 third-down opportunities during that eight-game stretch.
LSU's offense also set school records for yards in a SEC game (634 vs. Missouri), single-game rushing yards by an individual (284 by Leonard Fournette vs. Ole Miss, 285 by Derrius Guice vs. Texas A&M), longest run from scrimmage (96 yards by Derrius Guice vs. Arkansas) and time of possession (42:33 vs. Missouri).
Going forward, neither Orgeron nor Ensminger is positive the type of offense that will be run but their No.1 priority will be developing a championship quarterback.
“At LSU, we must and we will develop championship quarterbacks to be a championship caliber team,” Orgeron said. “We have three outstanding quarterbacks. They all will have different skill sets. Steve and his offensive staff is equipped to run the offense and utilize their skill sets.”
Orgeron and Ensminger both emphasize the use of the pro-style and dual-threat quarterbacks. Currently, LSU has one pro-style quarterback in freshman Myles Brennan and and two dual threats in freshman Lowell Narcisse and sophomore Justin McMillan.
Ensminger, a quarterback at LSU from 1976-79, likens playing and developing quarterbacks to riding a bike. He looks forwards to the challenge and does not shy away from doing his job.
“You don’t forget how to do a three-step drop or a five-step drop or throw an out route,” Ensminger said. “That’s just part of being a quarterback. We’ve have three outstanding quarterbacks and they all bring something to the table. It’s my job to develop them and do what’s best for them.”
If Ensminger has to play two quarterbacks, he won’t hesitate to do so, but he is open and willing to try out either styles of play.
He believes that LSU can develop a quarterback to compete on the same stage as Georgia and Alabama.
“We’re going to adapt to our players the best way that we can,” Orgeron said. “We will have quarterback runs. We have two guys that are excellent runners at quarterback. We’ll run from a spread offense with those guys. We have one of the best pure passers coming out when we signed him in Myles Brennan. We’re going to have a short, quick, controlled passing game.”
During his time as the interim, Ensminger was known the spread the wealth around on offense and letting many different players make plays. Orgeron expects that to continue.
Ensminger emphasizes that this is his offense with his own terminology, making it much easier for him to accept the job.
“He is the best coach to lead LSU’s offense in the next coming years,” Orgeron said. “On a daily basis, what I’ve seen this man do when he took over our offense, how he leads our offense, how he coaches, how the players respond to him. Steve Ensminger is no doubt in my mind the best guy to be the offensive coordinator.”