Paul Finebaum torches Ed Orgeron, LSU over Arik Gilbert transfer to Florida

Arik Gilbert, LSU Tigers. (Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)
Arik Gilbert, LSU Tigers. (Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) /

Paul Finebaum just ripped Ed Orgeron and his LSU football program to shreds after former five-star tight end Arik Gilbert transferred to cross-divisional rival Florida.

With former five-star tight end Arik Gilbert leaving Ed Orgeron’s LSU football program after only one season to go play for SEC rival Florida, you better believe Paul Finebaum had something to say about it.

ESPN’s popular college football analyst thinks the Florida Gators picking up a former blue-chip prospect is a huge get for them. While Gilbert may not ever be able to fill the massive shoes of Mackey Award winner Kyle Pitts, his Baton Rouge departure certainly leaves a gaping hole on the LSU offense. We have to wonder if Orgeron is starting to lose a grip on his blue-blooded program.

“I think perceptively, it was as big as it would get,” said Finebaum on WJOX in Birmingham. “Now, is this guy another Kyle Pitts? He’s certainly got a chance to be. I agree on Dan Mullen. I think he has a very bad finish to the season, but I think he’ll survive it, too. He really just needs to dial it down one or two notches. That’s something you can learn.”

“You guys all know (Florida athletic director) Scott Stricklin, and I’m sure Scott has had this conversation with Dan Mullen before because they worked together at (Mississippi) State, and now Florida. If he could just take that component of his personality a little bit down, I think he could turn out to be a great coach.

“I realize Gilbert, he moved out at the end of the season. To me, it says maybe more about LSU. When you start thinking of some of the players that have bailed out this year, that didn’t play this year that have left now.”

“I know they’re a monster in recruiting but just go back a year when LSU seemed to own the world and everyone was replaying the outburst by Ed Orgeron after the Alabama win. They have taken a hit. I know they closed the season out okay, but there is a great deal of uncertainty down there about the future.”

What year was the LSU anomaly for Coach O: 2019 or 2020?

We have had two extremes in the last two years of LSU football under Orgeron. In 2019, the Bayou Bengals went 15-0 and won the College Football Playoff, putting together the greatest single-seasons in college football history. However, that positive momentum was not sustainable. A mass exodus of talent led to a sub-.500 season for the defending national champions in 2021.

Orgeron previously failed as an SEC head coach over a decade at Ole Miss. While that is not to say he is failing at LSU, he needs his team to approach 10 wins next fall to avoid falling into Gene Chizik Auburn Tigers territory. LSU should be a top-10 team in the country annually, playing in New Year’s Six Bowl games as one of the four best teams out of the SEC every single year.

With Gilbert transferring to Florida, Oregon and LSU have to assess what went wrong.

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