After the news of Lane Kiffin’s firing broke out, USC’s Athletic Director, Pat Haden announced that assistant head coach, Ed Orgeron will be the interim head coach for the rest of the college football season.
Orgeron is a familiar face at USC. In 1998, he was hired by Paul Hackett, the head coach of the USC Trojans to coach the defensive line. After Hackett was fired in 2000, Orgeron was retained by Pete Carroll. The USC football team was very successful during Pete Carroll’s reign, bringing in two National Championships. In 2001, Orgeron was given the added responsibility to be the recruiting coordinator for the Trojans. In 2003, he was named assistant head coach. In 2004, Orgeron was named the National Recruiter of the year and was hired, that same year, to be the head coach at the University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss.
Orgeron’s stint as the head coach of Ole Miss was rather unsuccessful. In three seasons with the team, he finished with an overall record of 10-25. He was fired as the head coach of the team in November of 2007.
Orgeron’s unemployment lasted only two months. In January of 2008, he was hired by the New Orleans Saints to be their defensive line coach. That season, the Saints finished 8-8 and were at the bottom of their division in the NFC South.
The next year, Orgeron returned to the college football scene. He accepted a position at the University of Tennessee, under newly hired head coach, Lane Kiffin. Similar to his position at USC in the early Pete Carroll era, Orgeron was the associate head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach. Kiffin led the University of Tennessee to a 7-6 record and left after one season; he accepted the position to be the head coach at USC. Orgeron also left the University of Tennessee and returned back to USC with Kiffin. Ever since his return to USC, Orgeron has been a defensive coordinator, a defensive line coach, a recruiting coordinator, and now, the interim head coach.
Orgeron is a well respected person and coach at USC. He has 27 years of coaching experience and the players at USC love him. During the press conference today, Haden said, “Ed is a good man who knows USC”.
What separates Orgeron from Kiffin is their presence on the field. Kiffin was more laid back and was focused mainly on calling the plays and trying to get points on the board. Although, that’s not a bad thing, it didn’t work well for him at USC. On the other hand, Orgeron is more passionate, more enthusiastic and is a great leader.
In the few hours that he was named the interim head coach, Orgeron already announced some changes for the USC football team. During the press conference, he said that Clay Helton, the offensive coordinator will be calling plays during the game. One thing that will remain the same is the starting QB, Cody Kessler. Orgeron agreed with Kiffin’s decision and said that he would’ve done nothing different as far as the quarterback position was concerned.
Another change that Orgeron is working on implementing is having practices open to the media and being more open about injury situations.
What impressed me most about Orgeron during the press conference was the positive attitude he displayed going forward. With 8 games remaining, USC’s schedule is far from easy which makes Orgeron’s job far from easy. With games including Stanford, Notre Dame and UCLA, Orgeron has an opportunity to prove himself as someone who can permanently take over for the USC football team. Haden said, that Orgeron will be evaluated just like any other candidate for the head coaching position.
Orgeron understands the pressure and difficulty of being the head coach at USC and is ready to embrace the challenge. As a former coach in the SEC, he said he knows “how to play LSU and Alabama, at LSU and at Alabama”.
As the news broke out today about Kiffin’s firing, Trojans’ fans were celebrating. As a USC football fan myself, I’ve been waiting for this day for a very long time. Any head coach not named Lane Kiffin was going to be good news to me and I’m sure a lot of USC fans can agree.
Just like Pat Haden said, he’s looking forward for Orgeron to bring the “fun and joy back to college football”. Haden emphasized how all the head coaches in the USC athletic program are in the “winning business” and there’s no doubt that Orgeron has that instilled in his mind.
If you are a fan of USC football, tweet #FightOnOrgeron and show him your support as he leads the Trojans back to their winning ways.
FUN FACT: Orgeron appears as himself in movie, The Blind Side as Mississippi’s head coach.
Follow @USC_Aposhian for more updates on USC Football.