In need of a defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator now that Tosh Lupoi is a no-go, USC coach Steve Sarkisian said on Sunday that he would pursue former Trojans assistant Ed Orgeron for a possible staff position.
“I am going to pursue Ed here one more time,” Sarkisian told the “Trojan Brunch” show on ESPNLA 710. “I thought about him again after the game on the ride home. I think when emotions get settled down, and I know that was an emotional time for Ed and not getting named the head coach when he thought he should have been deservedly so, I would have felt the same way. When the emotions settle down, Ed’s a great Trojan and he’s meant a lot to the Trojan family and if we can have that opportunity for him to be part of this football program and be here with us, we’d love to have him.”
Orgeron was the defensive line coach for USC from 1998 until 2005 and also from 2010 until this fall. When Lane Kiffin was fired in late September, Orgeron took over as the interim coach and guided the team to six wins in its final eight games. When Sarkisian was given the head job in early December, a clearly disappointed Orgeron — who wanted the head job — left the program.
Some USC players have a clear emotional investment in Orgeron. Several had “Coach O” scrawled on their taped-up wrists at the Las Vegas Bowl. Bringing Orgeron back would be an emotional lift to a program still trying to rebound from a tumultuous season.
Sarkisian also confirmed earlier reports that offensive coordinator Clay Helton will be retained as on staff.
“We haven’t announced it officially but I am excited to know he is going to be part of the staff,” Sarkisian said. “I think Clay has done just a tremendous job the second half of the season with that offense, with Cody [Kessler], distributing the football to a lot of different players, scoring points, running the football, getting the running backs involved in the passing game and how he handled being the interim coach the last few weeks in a difficult time where there’s a lot of emotion in that locker room. I thought Clay did a masterful job of getting them ready to play and ultimately putting on a great performance.”
Helton joins receivers coach Tee Martin as the only holdovers (so far) from Kiffin’s staff.