Report: Ed Orgeron Talking To USC About Return


Clay Helton has spoken to Ed Orgeron regarding his interest in returning to the USC football coaching staff, according to a report.

Though many had tossed out speculation about drawing the former interim back USC during the Les Miles saga in November, FootballScoop is the first to report that there has been contact between Orgeron and Helton, who was named the permanent head coach on Monday.

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Here’s the word from Football Scoop:

"Sources tell FootballScoop that Clay Helton is planning to make a number of staff changes following the season. One source told FootballScoop that Helton has spoken with Ed Orgeron. O and Helton are good friends and have a deep respect for each other. Will be interesting to see if anything comes of this. USC:"

Orgeron, who is currently completing his first year as the defensive line coach at LSU under Miles, has coached at USC in a variety of roles since being hired by Paul Hackett in 1998. Pete Carroll retained him upon his arrival in 2001 and he was a key part of the Trojans’ national title runs in 2003 and 2004.

High regard for his ability to motivate and recruit saw him tapped for the Ole Miss head coaching job in 2005, but after three seasons he was fired from that post. After a stint with the New Orleans Saints in the NFL, Oregeron joined up with Lane Kiffin at Tennessee before following him back to USC in 2010.

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At USC the second time around, Orgeron served as the defensive line coach. He was promoted to interim for the 2013 season following Kiffin’s firing and the Trojans surged to a 6-2 record under his leadership. He was considered a candidate for the full-time job on the back of his success and popularity among the players. However, USC signed up Steve Sarkisian instead, prompting Orgeron to resign and take time away from coaching for a year.

The parallels between Orgeron’s time as an interim in 2013 and Helton’s time as an interim in 2015 are hard to avoid. Both oversaw a resurgent Trojan squad which toppled a highy-ranked foe at the Coliseum. The major difference was Helton’s success against UCLA, which ultimately opened the door for him to be hired on full-time.

Though Helton’s hire has been met with mixed feelings in the media, convincing Orgeron to return would no doubt be a major plus for both the players and fans who still hold the Cajun in high regard.

Still, with Pat Haden serving as athletic director there could be a hurdle to overcome in the hurt feelings which resulted when Haden passed Orgeron over for Sarkisian. Moreover, Orgeron returning to work for a former assistant of his adds some awkwardness as well.