The LSU Tigers have made a controversial coaching change, parting ways with highly-paid offensive coordinator Matt Canada last week and officially promoting tight ends coach Steve Ensminger to offensive coordinator Wednesday. That move’s taken a fair bit of criticism from various media members, particularly considering that Ensminger hadn’t been a permanent playcaller since 1998 at Clemson (however, he was LSU’s interim OC in 2016 after the firings of HC Les Miles and OC Cam Cameron, and did pretty well there), and Ensminger was asked about that criticism at his introductory press conference Thursday.
He had quite the response, as relayed by WAFB (the Baton Rouge CBS affiliate)’s Jacques Doucet:
— Jacques Doucet (@JacquesDoucet) January 11, 2018
“I had a guy call me last night, say ‘You read this in the papers?’ I said ‘Hell no, I haven’t read the paper in 20 years.’ I don’t read Twitter. I’ve seen a statement by Booger [former LSU defensive lineman and current ESPN analyst Booger McFarland], I think he said ‘Coaches are full of bullshit, they do read the paper.’ I don’t read the damn paper, I don’t read Twitter, I don’t go on Facebook, and I tell my family to stay off of it. Because you know what? All I can do is what I can do. I can’t let any outside influence say ‘You’re not good enough’ or ‘you can’t do this.’ Bullshit! I’ll do it!”
Ensminger’s approach of just ignoring the criticism actually isn’t the worst one imaginable, and from a media standpoint, it may actually be preferable to the coaches and players who constantly read how they’re covered in the media and complain about it. (See the likes of Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who’s even managed to find ways to complain about favorable media coverage.) And a rant like this is both highly entertaining and not necessarily wrong (it does make you wonder how he can call criticisms “bullshit” without seeing them, though), and it’s further enhanced by that glorious tie.
But it may be interesting to have a “main quarterback recruiter” who’s so against social media. And there are ways to tune out the criticism even while being on a platform. The even more notable comment from Ensminger Thursday may be his exit line, though:
"See you in January (2019)," Steve Ensminger said to reporters as he exited.
— Glenn Guilbeau (@LSUBeatTweet) January 11, 2018
Steve Ensminger, in closing: "See you guys in January."
Yeah, you'll remember he's not a fan of press conferences
— James Moran (@SmartestMoran) January 11, 2018
Schools and professional teams have a wide range of policies on coordinators’ media availabilities, and Ensminger would be far from the first coordinator to spend a whole season without talking to the media. But there are some concerns about that kind of approach to the media, and just avoiding media altogether doesn’t always improve things for coordinators; in fact, much of the time, they look better if they relay their perspective on why a certain play was called or why a certain personnel package was used. At any rate, it should be an interesting next season for Ensminger and LSU, and it will be worth following the coverage of his first year as full-time OC. Even if he won’t be reading it.
[Jacques Doucet on Twitter]