BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The first Ed Orgeron Show of the 2020 football season was held Wednesday, September 16 at TJ Ribs on South Acadian, and just like most things during this pandemic, it was very different from previous years.
The restaurant conducted temperature checks on all fans sitting in the show area and areas were roped off for social distancing. There was no contact with Coach O, including photos and autographs. There will also be no live questions from the audience this year.
“The coach of the year, and the coach of the reigning national champion Fighting Tigers, Ed Orgeron,” said Chris Blair, Director of Radio Broadcasting for LSU Sports.
“Thank you, Chris. Thanks for everybody coming out tonight. Great to see all our Tiger fans. You’re going to be excited for this year’s football team, I can’t wait for the season to start,” said Orgeron.
We’re a little over a week until the LSU Fighting Tigers take the field in Death Valley and TJ Ribs on Acadian was as packed as COVID guidelines would allow it, for Coach O’s first weekly radio show of the season.
“Been here every Wednesday for years and years and years. Don’t miss a Wednesday,” said Tim Cooper, an LSU fan.
It’s been a long offseason for Tiger fans. Ending a storybook season just months before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had a great season, and everyone was on a big high, but it’s become a long hard season. But I’m very enthused about what’s going on. I know we have a great football team,” said Marvin Dugas, an LSU fan.
LSU athletic director Scott Woodward announced that 72% of LSU’s 71,000 season ticket holders opted out on the 2020 football season.
“We’re working hard to figure out both from a revenue and an expense side, how we can manage this one-time course major event we call COVID,” said Woodward.
However, the LSU fans who attended the show and spoke with our crew said they will be in that 25% number, of people who can fill the stands of Death Valley.
“I have four season tickets in the South Endzone, and I opted in. But I think, for the most part, it’s going to be safe from what I can tell,” said Mike Bernard, a Tiger fan.
“No sir, hell no, heck no. No (not skipping games). I’ll be in that number yes sir,” said Dugas.
Meanwhile, other fans aren’t sure about what the ticket situation will look like for them yet.
“I usually get at least 2 to 3 games every year, and a lot of times in the VIP, I hope. But I don’t know how they’re going to do that if they’re going to do 20% up there or not. We don’t know anything at this point,” said Joe Hilton.
“No, they have not let anybody know anything yet, not on my end at least. Hoping to find out soon,” said Cooper.
But regardless, these fans are ready for any sense of normalcy, and for the Tigers to defend their national championship.
“Just listening to Coach O, he’s fired up, he’s ready, and we’re ready for another championship,” said Trish Hilton.
“I’m going to kind of miss the tailgating. We might just bring some boudin, some sandwiches, and everything. But I think we can. I’m just a big fan and I just want to go to the games,” said Bernard.
- ‘60 Minutes’ profile on LSU head coach Ed Orgeron to air on WAFB-TV Sunday
- LSU holds news conference on COVID-19, football gameday procedures
- LSU announces changes for student tickets for this football season
- LSU football season will open at 25% capacity in Tiger Stadium; no tailgating allowed during 2020 season
- Orgeron talks about strength of team, especially defense, and ongoing COVID-19 fight
- LSU faces Miss. St. for season-opener; full schedule released
- WAFB-TV will televise 3 LSU football games during 2020 season, including season opener
Fans didn’t let the changes at the restaurant take away from the excitement. This was about a sense of normalcy for the fans. They enjoyed some good food and listened to their national championship head coach talk some football.
“I wish Tiger Stadium was full; I like Tiger Stadium full. That’s not my choice, that’s out of my control. But you asked what I want. We’re going to take 25,000; 25% is great. We’ll take it. But I told the players, we’re going to have to create our own energy. I don’t know how loud it’s going to be. Might be loud, might not be, but we can’t count on that. It’s the same for both teams. We’re going to be in there. We’re going to focus on the task at hand.”
“I give y’all my support on the field or off the field and thanks for the championship,” one caller said.
“Thank you, Jeremy. That was heartfelt. Fans like you and other fans are what makes LSU special,” Orgeron responded.
LSU will host Mississippi State on Saturday, September 26. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
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