Jack Del Rio

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Orgeron: 'I don't really care' that Jack Del Rio interviewed for USC job

USC’s turnaround under interim coach Ed Orgeron has been remarkable, and the former Ole Miss head coach has made no secret that he wants the job full time.

Ed Orgeron USC Trojans head coaching jobHours after Orgeron led the Trojans to an upset win over Stanford on Saturday night, word leaked that SC athletic director Pat Haden had interviewed Denver Broncos defensive coordinator and interim head coach Jack Del Rio during the team’s bye week.

Orgeron learned about Del Rio’s interview through the media, but he told reporters that it doesn’t bother him in the least.

“That’s the first that I’ve heard about that, and I really don’t care,” Orgeron told the media on Sunday. “I know (Haden) has a job to do, and I know he’s going to go out there and interview the best guys available for USC.”

The excitement Orgeron is building has certainly caught Haden’s attention.

“What Ed has done has been absolutely remarkable,” Haden said Tuesday night during a radio interview with KFWB-AM. “He is clearly in our eyesight. We understand. It’s not just the fans.

“We’re sophisticated enough and know enough about this to understand the attributes that he has, and he’s a known quantity.”

For whatever it’s worth, Orgeron has the support of his former boss.

According to the LA Daily News’ Scott Wolf, Lane Kiffin was asked by AM 710 radio who the Trojans should hire and gave Orgeron an emphatic endorsement.

“That’s easy. That’s already done. It should be Ed Orgeron.”

But what if Haden goes in a different direction? Kiffin doesn’t think Orgeron would hang around as an assistant.

“It wouldn’t work,” he said.

Kiffin also predicted that the Trojans would win their final three games.

Photo: Don Ryan, AP

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News and Rumors: USC coaching search update

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.

Is Ed Orgeron's success making things tough on Pat Haden? (Photo: Ed Rubalcava, CalSport Media via AP)

Is Ed Orgeron’s success making things tough on Pat Haden? (Photo: Ed Rubalcava, CalSport Media via AP)

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.

Our analysis?

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.

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Jack Del Rio interviewed for USC job

Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio interviewed for the USC head coaching vacancy on Nov. 1, according to multiple reports.

Denver Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio interviewed for the USC coaching job on Nov. 1. (Photo: Gregory Bull, AP)Del Rio, who played linebacker at USC during the early 1980s, met with athletic director Pat Haden during Denver’s bye week.

Broncos GM John Elway confirmed that Haden asked permission to interview Del Rio. The interview took place one day before news surfaced that Denver head coach John Fox needed to undergo heart surgery, which elevated Del Rio to the interim job.

Del Rio was 68–71 in nine seasons as the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach.

Trojans assistant Ed Orgeron became USC’s interim coach after Lane Kifin’s firing and is a candidate to become full time coach. The former Ole Miss head coach has led USC to a 5-1 record, including a 20-17 upset win against No. 10 Stanford on Saturday night.

Other names mentioned in conjunction with the USC opening include Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, Boise State coach Chris Petersen and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin.

Former Bears coach Lovie Smith has denied twice in the past month that he interviewed with USC.

Photo: Gregory Bull, AP

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Report: Kevin Sumlin emerges as USC's No. 1 target

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin’s name is one of several that have been mentioned to replace Lane Kiffin at USC.

According to an LA Daily News report, Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin has emerged as the top target to fill USC's coaching vacancy. (Photo: Dave Martin, AP)But according to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News, not only is Sumlin a target, he’s emerged as Pat Haden’s top target.

As we mentioned in Thursday’s Rumor Mill, we’ve heard from a couple of sources that there is a growing rift between Sumlin and A&M athletic director Eric Hyman. Obviously, that’s just chatter, but if he is considering the USC job, that could be one of the reasons.

Sumlin, who makes $3.1 million a year at Texas A&M, has won 30 games the past 2 1/2 seasons at Houston and Texas A&M. According to Wolf, USC could potentially double that salary.

Haden’s search is still in the early stages, but he hopes to make a hire in December.

Most of the other names mentioned in connection with the SC job have NFL ties, including Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio. According to sources, Haden contacted Jon Gruden, but Gruden is thought to be focused on NFL jobs if he decides to return to the sideline.

Former Bears coach Lovie Smith has denied twice in the past month that he interviewed with USC.

In addition to Sumlin, other college coaches mentioned include Boise State coach Chris Petersen and Vanderbilt coach James Franklin.

Current Trojans coach Ed Orgeron will also be considered but is not expected to get the job.

Photo: Dave Martin, AP

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Report: Lovie Smith interviews for USC opening

Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith has interviewed for the USC job, according to a report from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.

Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is reportedly a candidate for the USC job. (Photo: Duane Burleson, AP)

Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is reportedly a candidate for the USC job.

As we’ve mentioned previously, USC’s early targets are expected to be “big splash” type guys and/or those with NFL ties, and Smith fits that bill. He was let go by the Bears last season following a 10-6 season, and will likely be in the mix for NFL openings as the year goes on.

Smith’s son, who serves as his agent, denied a report last month that an interview with USC had taken place, but La Canfora cites a league source as stating that Trojans A.D. Pat Haden has spoken with Smith. USC is not commenting on the process.

As we’ve mentioned previously, former Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio has been linked to the USC opening, as has Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter to a lesser extent.

There is lot of chatter that this could finally be the year that Jon Gruden returns to coaching, and Gruden would be Haden’s No. 1 choice. But La Canfora reports that won’t be happening, and that if Gruden does decide to return, it will be in the NFL. (As we mentioned on Thursday, we hear it could be with the Raiders.)

La Canfora also mentions Washington coach Steve Sarkisian’s name as one to watch for USC, but we consider that highly unlikely. Sarkisian has enough to worry about at UDub.

Photo: Duane Burleson, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Thursday, Oct. 31

Pressure has eased on Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen after the Kentucky win, but there is still tons of chatter. As we’ve mentioned previously, if they make a move, expect ULL’s Mark Hudspeth to get first call.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen (Photo: Kerry Smith, AP)Mack Brown’s future at Texas could hinge on the Baylor game. A bad loss could spell the end – even if the Horns finish 9-3.

It’s no secret that their top target is Nick Saban. Other early names to watch include Art Briles, Jimbo Fisher, Charlie Strong and Jon Gruden.

Speaking of Gruden… This year could finally be the year he returns to coaching. However, the most likely landing spot may be his old stomping ground. There’s lots of chatter Gruden could return to the Raiders with full control over the front office.

Early names at Florida Atlantic include two first-year offensive coordinators with strong south Florida ties — Miami’s James Coley and Cincinnati’s Eddie Gran. Gran was a serious candidate when Carl Pelini was hired.

Expect staff changes at Appalachian State.

If a move is made to get rid if Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia, don’t be surprised if Rich Rod is a candidate to return home. It would definitely be interesting to watch the fan base’s reaction if that took place.

The Florida International job could open after just one year under Ron Turner.

There is major pressure building to oust Bo Pelini at Nebraska. He needs to win, badly. If he goes, former Husker quarterback and current Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost could be a candidate, although most think he needs a little more experience.

At USC, Jack Del Rio is still very much in the mix. Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter is also getting some attention as a fall back option.

Most believe Pat Haden’s early targets will be bigger names and will likely have NFL experience.

At Toledo, second-year coach Matt Campbell has signed extension through the 2017 season.

Campbell was promoted from offensive coordinator when Tim Beckman took the job at Illinois. The Rockets are 14-7 under his watch, including a 5-3 record and 3-1 in the MAC this year.

There are lots of rumors that Boise State’s Chris Petersen may finally be ready to finally make a move.

Photo credit: Kerry Smith, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Monday, Oct. 28

It’s not exactly at shock that Bo Pelini’s Nebraska is going to lose at least four games this season (he always does), but we really didn’t expect one of them to be Minnesota.

Are there enough "Bo-lievers" to save the Nebraska coach?

Are there enough “Bo-lievers” to save the Nebraska coach?

Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised. @GarrettGordon reports this is the fifth consecutive season a ranked Nebraska team has lost to an unranked opponent.

Pelini entered the season on the hot seat after last season’s meltdown in the B1G Championship Game when his team gave up 70 to Wisconsin.

Then, in September, an audio tape surfaced where Pelini ripped both the media and Cornhuskers’ fans after a 2011 game. The best line was reserved for the Husker faithful: “It took everything in my power to not say, ‘F— you, fans. F— all of you.’ F— ‘em.”

Nebraska can beat every opponent left on it’s schedule. The Huskers could also lose four more. More than likely, they’ll split the difference and end up with four losses just as they have in each of the past five seasons under Pelini.

We think that gets him fired.

Dana Holgorsen won ten games in his first season at West Virginia — but that was in the Big East.

In 2012, WVU moved to the Big 12 and the record dropped to 7-6. The Mountaineers are now 3-5 and could potentially lose out.

Sources tell us that 5-7 probably earns Holgorsen a pink slip. The only wild card is A.D. Oliver Luck. As we mentioned yesterday, he very well could be headed to Texas.

How does that affect Holgorsen? we don’t know yet but it’s an interesting wildcard.

Mack Brown helped his cause once again with an impressive win over TCU. The Longhorns figure to throttle both Kansas and West Virginia over the next two weeks to get to 7-2.

Then, the rubber meets the road.

Texas ends the season with Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and at Baylor.

The Baylor game could very well decide the Big 12. A Longhorns win and it’s hard to see a change. A bad loss makes the situation much more dicey.

Despite big wins in the last two, this soap opera is a long way from over.

USC wants (and needs?) to make a big splash with their hire. Mike Riley’s name was floating around last week, and Jack Del Rio was hot for awhile. So were Kevin Sumlin and James Franklin.

We think Pat Haden is likely doing due diligence on several candidates and will move quickly once the season ends to fill the position.

Virginia A.D. Craig Littlepage announced less than two weeks ago that coach Mike London would return next season, but we all now how much mid-season declarations of safety mean.

Littlepage made those statements before the Wahoos lost to Duke and Georgia Tech, bringing the losing streak to five, and UVa’s overall record to 2-6. With games against Clemson, at North Carolina and Miami, and the season finale vs. Virginia Tech remaining, winning one more to finish 3-9 may be a stretch.

Sources close to London indicate they believe the Cavs coach is safe for another season. Others aren’t so sure.

Regardless of what Littlepage said publicly, we’re told London is not out the woods. A 2-10 season almost has to bring a change, so there’s a good chance this one opens.

We’ve heard rumblings that Kansas could replace Charlie Weis after just two seasons, and those rumors are picking up steam.

The Jayhawks fired a religious fanatic after two seasons and replaced him with Satan’s brother.

Perhaps KU should try looking for someone a little more “normal”?

We told you about the hell Southern Miss is in in Friday’s Rumor Mill, and after this weekend, the Golden Eagles have now lost 19 straight. This week was a 55-14 thrashing by North Texas, on Homecoming no less…

Quick Hitters

Iowa State: We’re told, at a minimum, to expect staff changes.

North Texas: Lots of chatter here. Some think Dan McCarney could hang it up after the season.

Purdue: Look for staff changes. Possibly several.

Florida Atlantic: Expect staff changes on the defensive side of the ball.

Photo credit: Nati Harnik, AP

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