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Trojan football legends close ranks around Ed Orgeron

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USC athletic director Pat Haden is still working on finding a full-time head football coach for the Trojans, but some pretty big names in school lore have already made up their minds.

Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Allen and NFL Hall-of-Famers Ronnie Lott, Anthony Munoz and Ron Yary are all getting behind interim head coach Ed Orgeron.

The four players provided the following quotes to the Los Angeles Times over the weekend:

“From the depths of despair, from a program that was flat-lining, he has made a tremendous turnaround,” said Allen, the first former player to talk to the team after Lane Kiffin was fired Sept. 29. “Here’s a guy who cares about his players, treats them like his sons, and he wants the very best for them. So he’s going to put you in the right position to be successful. He wants these guys to realize their dream, but he knows the only way to do it is to be tough.”

“To me, Ed Orgeron is like Marv Goux,” Lott said, referring to the legendary Trojans player-turned-assistant who coached at the school for three decades and died in 2002. “Ed Orgeron showed me, and showed a lot of people, that . . . in terms of moving forward, he’s got to be considered. He’s not only got to be considered, but he should be very high on the list.”

“I’d hate to be in Pat’s shoes right now,” Munoz said. “I think Ed, at least from me being there a couple of times, I think he’s done a phenomenal job. The whole atmosphere is different. Not once has he mentioned the lack of scholarships [because of NCAA sanctions]. That impresses me.

“It’s not fair for me to think for Pat,” Yary said. “But if there’s a guy who’s stepping up to earn it, [Orgeron] has so far. He’s certainly turned the program around. . . . I’ve met Ed and hear a lot of good things about him from other people. I’m sure they’ll give him a fair opportunity to get the job. If he wins the rest of the games, I think he’s put himself up for a job offer.”

Impressive quotes to be sure. But to add some perspective, consider that former USC players haven’t always been known to be the best judges of coaching talent in the past. Another Trojan Heisman winner, former athletic director Mike Garrett, hit the jackpot when hiring Pete Carroll but missed badly with Paul Hackett and Lane Kiffin.  Former USC All-American wide receiver Mike Williams said the following when Garrett hired Kiffin: “God is shining on the Trojan faithful. I couldn’t imagine a better pick.”  And here is what Allen said about Kiffin in 2011:

“I think Lane is doing a good job. In talking to Lane, he wants to bring back that culture of toughness and being physical to play smart football. I know that he is challenged with the amount of scholarships and so forth. I think he is headed in the right direction. I think he understands the philosophy of football as we discussed. That is where he wants to take USC which is good.”

So take all these opinions with a grain of salt.  As Haden said last week:

“What Ed had done has been absolutely remarkable. 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.

“But my job is to find the best coach of USC, not just for this year, for five, six or eight games or next year, but hopefully for five, ten or 15 years. So we’re going to go through this process we have and at the end of the day, I think we’ll have a rational decision. And I completely understand that people are going to disagree with the decision I make, no matter who it is, right? So we’re going to get that. I’m fully prepared for that.”

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13 Responses to “Trojan football legends close ranks around Ed Orgeron”
  1. dbldmr says: Nov 24, 2013 9:07 PM

    As a Notre Dame fan I always thought a lot of Pat Haden. I believe he will evaluate all potential coaches fairly. He’s a smart guy.

  2. bender4700 says: Nov 24, 2013 9:07 PM

    Good, they are going to hire a guy the media likes, fans like, and alumni like, instead of the right guy.

    At this rate, USC won’t be any good for awhile.

    Ole Miss. Ed was a head coach. And he wasn’t good at all. Just because they are winning some games under him doesn’t mean that will continue. They would have likely won those games with Kiffin on the sidelines.

    Instead of hiring the right guy for the job, they are going to let sentiment dictate who to hire. As has happened in several places. Romeo Crennel in KC for one.

  3. bender4700 says: Nov 24, 2013 9:16 PM

    dbldmr says: Nov 24, 2013 9:07 PM

    As a Notre Dame fan I always thought a lot of Pat Haden. I believe he will evaluate all potential coaches fairly. He’s a smart guy.


    The same way he issued a supportive message of Kiffin in the summer, then fired him 1/3 of the way in, and based on a phone call he received in the 3rd quarter? My buddy at work, yes dropping this, he golfs with a lot of high dollar USC guys, and they confirmed that Haden received a phone call, and suddenly a decision was made. How smart is that of an AD, make a decision to fire a coach well before he’s even into the conference schedule? Especially with the emphatic “support” message he issued in the summer for Lane. Not sure what it takes to earn your respect, but apparently it’s not what I would consider respectful.

    Kiffin got screwed, firing a coach before the year is out without some strange circumstances (legal issues, poor behavior, etc) is hardly classy or signs of a smart AD. Kiffin should have been fired the day after the last regular season game. Because now, USC may be stuck with Ed. The fans and alumni are all in love with him. And we all know that Pat Haden is an independent thinker. HAHAHAHA yeah. Right.

    It’s a sign of a patsy pleasing donors, not the program or players. Not what an AD should be doing.

  4. dbldmr says: Nov 24, 2013 9:19 PM


    Obviously you’re a lot closer than I am. If that’s the case, I’m sorry to hear it. Always seemed like a fair and smart guy.

  5. dhalb34 says: Nov 24, 2013 10:12 PM

    Haden is a good guy, and a smart man. He’ll hire the right guy. I’ve always said that Orgeron has to beat FUCLA before we hand him the reigns. But SC is still being SC, kids are still coming in. Name me another school on the west coast that recruits itself like SC does? FIGHT ON!

  6. classyjacklambert says: Nov 24, 2013 10:14 PM

    Anyone remember when Ronnie Lott had part of his pinky amputated just to be ready for the season in time?… Coaches really can’t say anything to you about toughness after you do that.

  7. polegojim says: Nov 25, 2013 12:34 AM

    After tonight’s EPIC Bronco meltdown… DelRio helped Ed out too.

    Jack showed why he’s a decent DC… but not top HC material. No adjustments, completely out-coached.

  8. boomgrounder says: Nov 25, 2013 2:21 AM

    I wouldn’t be to hard on DelRio about Denver’s loss to the Pats tonight. No adjustments you say. Well, I think they may have made adjustments but they just weren’t enough to stop the Pats offense in the 2nd half. That QB Tom Brady was the reason for the Pats comeback. He’s arguably the greatest NFL QB of all time. That’s not going to keep DelRio from getting the USC job. Come on, that’s a stupid comment!

  9. Anoesis says: Nov 25, 2013 2:39 AM

    I suppose if you don’t consider losing at home to Wazzu (while scoring all of 7 points) and then getting blown out at AZ State in the Debacle in the Desert as “well before he’s even into the conference schedule,” then I don’t know what to think of the rest of your post.

    Haden might have hung on to Kiffin too long, but since that was Garrett’s hire I believe Haden wanted to make sure Kiffin had every opportunity to do well.

    Kiffin’s teams regressed every year and Haden pulled the plug after Kiffin had shown he’d lost the team. The rest of this year would have been a catastrophe if Haden had left Kiffin stay ’til the end.

    I have no idea whether or not your pal’s “Haden received a phone call” story is true, but when you are about to fire the head football coach a smart AD makes sure his boss (university president Max Nikias) knows what’s going down. Haden might have had to leave a message and wait for Nikias to call him back. Whatever the true story, that’s a pretty thin excuse to decide Haden is some sort of “patsy.”

  10. mogogo1 says: Nov 25, 2013 11:37 AM

    Orgeron is going to get another head coaching job someplace, just not sure it can be at USC due to the circumstances. As well as he has coached as interim, don’t they pretty much have to cut all ties with Kiffin and start afresh?

    Orgeron was associate head coach for Kiffin at Tenn when they got in trouble by the NCAA and followed Kifin to USC. Not only was he there the whole time Kiffin tanked the program, but it’d be no surprise if the NCAA found violation there, as well. And if that would happen, do you really want your new head coach having direct ties to the violations? That’s a risk I just don’t think you want to take.

  11. dhalb34 says: Nov 25, 2013 2:37 PM

    That’s probably the stupidest comment I’ve read today.

  12. polegojim says: Nov 25, 2013 3:29 PM

    Ok boomer… what adjustments did they make?

    You mean those awesome defensive adjustments that led to successive touchdowns? So the Bronco’s D isn’t as good as the Jets and Bengals??? Please… that’s ridiculous…

    And those amazing offensive adjustments? WOW… now that was some creative stuff!!! NOT

    24-0 blown lead… the Bronco’s failed to do what they needed to on both sides of the ball. All they had to do is kick ONE extra field goal or make ONE stop. ONE time.

  13. dannygjay says: Nov 25, 2013 7:10 PM

    No coach will do too well at USC until they get back to a full roster. As for the totally out of place Del rio debate. I’m thinking when your ahead 24-0, no changes were necessary. Don’t turn the ball over is not an adjustment

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