News surfaced over the weekend that Broncos defensive coordinator and interim head coach Jack Del Rio interviewed for the USC job during Denver’s off week. We’d been hearing rumors, but nothing confirming the interview until Sunday.
Another story surfaced citing sources close to the search claiming the Trojans might be willing to pay as much as $6 million per year to the right coach.
At the same time, interim coach Ed Orgeron is out actively campaigning for the job.
“I want to be the head coach at USC,” Orgeron said Monday during an appearance on ESPNU’s “CFB Daily.” “I love being a head coach. I think that it’s something I’m able to do, and do well. And I want to be the head coach at USC when I get the chance.
“I think I can perform on a very high basis to do what the Trojan family wants me to do.”
Current players are also weighing in saying they’d like to see Orgeron get the permanent gig.
“We absolutely love him,” USC quarterback Cody Kessler said Saturday night. “We’d run through a brick wall for him. He has that look in his eye that you can tell that when he talks to you he really does care.
“I gave him a hug after the game, and I don’t know if he’d want me saying this, but I saw his eyes water up. It’s awesome when you play with someone who has that same passion.”
Then there was a report last week that Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin had emerged as the top candidate for the job.
Orgeron has done a phenomenal job. However, the two leaks over the past week suggest the Trojans are looking in other directions – at least for now. There was no reason for the Del Rio interview to leak – unless it was to quell the growing excitement of USC fans about Orgeron.
And USC certainly isn’t going to pay Orgeron, who was 10-25 at Ole Miss, $6 million per season.
Now, there’s a big difference in coaching at USC and Ole Miss. USC is probably the best job in the Pac-12. Ole Miss is among the bottom bottom four in the SEC. And Orgeron seems more at ease, more mature and more comfortable in his own skin this time around. That doesn’t mean he’s getting the job.
What about Sumlin? We don’t buy it. At least not yet.
Pick a name associated with the USC coaching search – Del Rio, Jon Gruden, Jeff Fisher, Lovie Smith, Mike Riley… Almost every name associated with the job has an NFL background. Even Orgeron spent time with the Saints.
From the outside looking in, it seems USC athletic director Pat Haden is looking for a coach with a certain profile. Sumlin doesn’t seem to fit that profile.
What happens? We’re not sure yet. But this one is far from over.