November 10, 2012; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears head coach Jeff Tedford on the sideline during the third quarter against the Oregon Ducks at Memorial Stadium. Oregon won 59-17. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Fox Sports reported today that USC athletic director Pat Haden approached former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford to join the Trojan staff in the wake of Lane Kiffin’s firing.
"Shortly after firing Lane Kiffin last weekend, the school reached out to one-time rival Jeff Tedford to ask him to come aboard as an offensive consultant and recruiter, a source told FOX Sports. USC wanted the former University of California coach to help out Clay Helton, who is in his first year as offensive coordinator and is now in sole control of the offense. The offer to Tedford came with a suggestion he would be considered a candidate during the head-coaching search that’s expected to commence in the coming weeks. The source said Tedford, who is focused on finding his next full-time position, declined the school’s offer, but would still be interested in replacing Kiffin on a permanent basis."
The move to pursue Tedford is interesting considering that USC only has three defensive coaches on staff, including new interim head coach Ed Orgeron, while the offensive side of the ball already features six full-time coaches. Despite Tedford declining the opportunity, the necessity of offering in the first place seems debatable.
Clay Helton is in his first year as offensive coordinator for USC, though he had been sharing those duties with the recently-deposed Kiffin and will be taking on full control of the offense for the first time this week. Still, Helton is not without experience in that position. He was the offensive coordinator at Memphis for two years before joining Kiffin’s staff in 2010.
Rumors abound in the spring after Kennedy Polamalu left the program that Tedford was being looked at to take over the offense in order to allow Kiffin more time to focus on the rest of the team after the subpar performances of 2012. Instead Helton was name OC and Kiffin retained play-calling duties.
Tedford has not been listed among the most likely to get the full-time position, but Haden’s interest in him in the short term certainly throws his name higher up the list going forward.