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