LSU coach Ed Orgeron confident of college football's return: 'Football is the life blood of our country'
While the SEC is taking a wait-and-see approach to the upcoming football season due to the coronavirus pandemic, coach Ed Orgeron of the defending national champion LSU Tigers is moving full speed ahead.
"I don't think we can take this away from these players, take this away from our state and our country. We need football," Orgeron said Tuesday at an education roundtable with Vice President Mike Pence.
"Football is the lifeblood of our country in my opinion," he added. "It gets everything going, it gets the economy going, the economy of Baton Rouge, the economy of the state of Louisiana."
The issue is whether schools can keep their players safe from the virus that's infected over 3.4 million people nationwide and killed more than 136,000.
Orgeron said LSU has taken significant measures with football players back on campus.
"We spent a week educating them on COVID-19. I don't think any other team in the country was more educated than we were," he said. "We have not had one kid catch the virus working out in our training room. It's sterile. We clean it everyday. Everybody gets tested."
Despite those precautions, the team has had several players test positive.
"Now, young men will be young men. They went to a party. A hundred people were there. They got the virus. They learned their lesson," Orgeron said. "They're not going to a party anymore, I promise you."
Vice President Pence said he and Orgeron privately discussed many of the issues schools and athletic departments are facing this fall. “I’m very confident that our universities can develop plans to safely reopen campuses and restart sports programs,” Pence said.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already decided to alter their schools' schedules and play only conference games this fall. The SEC, ACC and Big 12 expect to make their decisions by the end of July.
As for the defending national champions, "We're ready to go now. We need football," Orgeron said. "The state needs it. The country needs it."