Ed Orgeron elevates to Assistant Head Coach
USC has spun the dial counterclockwise in anticipation of a new hire. With a single click, Ed Orgeron rises to the position of assistant head coach, a post soon to be vacated by Monte Kiffin. The shift ends any speculation of the Trojans possibly making an in-house hire to replace the now vacant defensive coordinator spot. It also dismisses the theory that Orgeron will finally act as the coordinator of the Southern California defense, being that he officially held the title for the past three years.
Orgeron received the title of defensive coordinator upon his return to USC in 2010, but it was Monte Kiffin, the Assistant Head Coach, that led the unit. The logical explanation for the twist in labeling was to satisfy the pay scale. The elder Kiffin, who was listed second in command, would also be second only to his son in earnings. A trickle-down effect was then created from there, and the order based on the remaining titles.
The promotion of Orgeron leaves an opening, and payroll check, for a person to be named later. The main targets remain unannounced and unclear, but DeWayne Walker and Randy Shannon would be on my personal list. Walker was one of the original staff members under Pete Carroll, coaching defensive backs in 2001. He would later put together the perfect scheme to defeat his former team, while working as the UCLA defensive coordinator in 2006. He is currently employed as the head coach of New Mexico State. The 46-year old Shannon fielded one of the best units in college football history, while acting as the defensive coordinator for the 2001 Miami Hurricanes. He’s currently coaching linebackers for TCU. Shannon also has a connection with Ogeron, who coached the defensive line for the Canes in the same year that Shannon performed as a linebacker in the program.
Monte Kiffin stated that he was under no pressure to resign his position, and did so as a voluntary move. I find this hard to believe, with the sudden departure coming soon after one of the poorest defensive stretches in program history, and just three weeks after Athletic Director Pat Haden guaranteed Lane Kiffin another year, but said they would discuss changes in staff.
Staff change is just one method used by troubled coaches to prolong their tenure. With Monte now out, and the possibility of USC also hiring an offensive coordinator, one can reasonable believe that Lane Kiffin would not survive a repeat performance in 2013, and will enter that season with his name positioned in the upper tier of ‘hot seat’ coaches.