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The term “spirit animal” gets thrown around pretty loosely these days. It’s typically reserved for when someone like Chrissy Teigen gets tipsy and makes some observational joke on Twitter that’s sort of funny, thus inspiring basic chicks who binge watch Real Housewives and mainline Franzia all day to tweet shit like, “OMG, Chrissy Teigen is my spirit animal! #blessed.”
But there can also be a deeper, more primal meaning to “spirit animal.” If you break down each word, it can also be used to describe people who exude animalism to such an extent that they are an animal on a spiritual level. With this definition in mind, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron is a spirit animal. He may not be your spirit animal or my spirit anumal, but he is, without question, a spirit animal and he proves it time and time again with on and off the field antics.
So, when a few current and former players recently recalled Coach O’s pregame ritual of punching himself in the face, it didn’t really represent anything out of the ordinary. It was just Coach O channeling his inner spirit animal.
Ed Orgeron got primal before that morning game.
“He walked in there and said it’s time to set your jaw,” said former Tiger offensive lineman K.J. Malone. “And started punching himself in the jaw.”
“Punch yourself in the face in the morning if you’re not ready,” center Will Clapp remembered was the message.
“It’s a real serious punch,” said Toby Weathersby, another ex-LSU offensive lineman who spoke with AL.com at the NFL combine. “Then he’ll look at us and start growling. He’ll give us a growl and you know what time it means. It’s time to go win a ball game.”
“He was punching,” Malone said. “I tried to do it. I thought, dang. He’s probably one of the best coaches I’ve been around.”
Clapp, the former center, remembered a similar story about Orgeron’s return to Oxford this fall.
“Before Ole Miss, it was his first time going back to their stadium this year,” Clapp said. “We got down to the hotel before the busses left. His pregame speech was he came in, started screaming and yelling. Then he chugged a Red Bull and then we got on the bus.”
You know, I always thought Coach O was more of a Monster guy, but as every spirit animal will tell you, Red Bull really does give you wings.
Each former Tiger who recalled their favorite Orgeron stories did so with a smile.
“Before one of the games,” Etling said, “he’ll come down and drink a whole Red Bull, smashes it on his head, lifts off his shirt and he’s punching himself in the jaw getting us ready, pumped up to play. That’s Coach O for you.”
Image via Twitter