By Micah Neese
This past Saturday night in New York City, Joe Burrow endeared himself to Tiger fans more than ever before. Already, for fourteen Saturdays leading up to his Heisman moment, Joe Burrow delivered Tiger nation one victory after another. It culminated on Senior Night when Burrow proudly wore the “Burreaux” jersey to show his gratitude to the state and university who adopted him as one of their own. It was on December 14th, four days after his birthday, that Joe Burrow let us see behind the facemask and the record books. We sawan emotional Joe Burrow thank a teary-eyed Coach O for taking a chance on a kid from Southeast Ohio and bringing him into Louisiana as a brother. The meaning of this moment and the interaction between these two giants brought all of Tiger Nation to tears.
Coach O was a homegrown defensive line coach. When he got the chance to serve as interim head coach after Les Miles was let go, no one anticipated him getting the permanent position. Who knew a grunt like Orgeron with his signature gravelly Cajun baritone voice would have enough vision to bring LSU out of a years-long offensive slump and to national prominence. In a risky move that would define his career for better or worse, he brought in a 3-star backup from Ohio State.
One of the first things any Tiger fan heard of Burrow before his debut season was that he was competing in every sprint to be the first and was spending hours in the film-room with Steve Ensminger. His passion, work ethic, and spirit became his trademark.
Now these two underrated Tigers from opposite ends of the Mississippi river have exceeded every expectation and garnered every award and recognition in 2019. When Joe Burrow thanked Orgeron for taking a chance on him, and Orgeron gave a strong fist pump right back, they were saluting each other and what they had built together.
Joe Burrow has provided a perfect role model for me by seeing how hard he worked and how gracefully and humbly he has handled the success that followed. His character is admirable on and off the field and I am indebted to his example.
It meant a lot to Tiger Nation to see Joe Burreaux receive this honor and speak the way he did. He understood the magnitude of this trophy and he was the ultimate sportsman in the way he gave credit back to all the people who helped him grow, both in Ohio and Louisiana.
Still. We have more Joe Burrow highlights to come. Our road didn’t end in New York and it definitely won’t end in Atlanta.