USC’s hopes of a national title wilted almost half way through their 7-5 season, and much of the blame rested on the talented, but underachieving defense.
It was reported Friday that Trojan’s defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin will step down after the team’s bowl game, leaving USC with a big hole to fill.
The move doesn’t force head coach Lane Kiffin to fire his father, and the 72-year-old will try to get back into the NFL, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Trojans lost four of their last five games, giving up an average of 40.3 points in each loss in that stretch.
USC has turned to former coaches and players in their coaching searches before, and this time should be no different.
Former USC star linebacker and current Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio may be an excellent fit. He was originally rumored for the head coaching job back in 2010 while he was with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but denied any connection to the position.
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Del Rio was head coach of Jacksonville for nine seasons and regularly fielded a top defense, but was let go after 2011 when the team went 5-11.
Del Rio now has the Broncos ranked fifth against the pass and ninth in rushing defense, and his extensive experience as a coach and player in the NFL and at USC could make him an excellent recruiting tool.
USC could stay in house with Ed Orgeron, who is currently serving as defensive and recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach, according to the team’s website.
Orgeron returned to the Trojans in 2010 after a three-year stint as Mississippi head coach, and one year each with Tennessee and the New Orleans Saints. With 27 years of coaching experience, he is widely regarded as one of the best recruiters in the country.
The Trojans can also look to the national stage at Gene Chizik. Recently fired after two years removed from guiding Auburn to a national championship, Chizik could be another strong candidate. Chizik got a first hand look at Monte Kiffin’s schemes for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during his time at Central Florida.
Despite Auburn’s poor performance this year, Chizik could also help the Trojans with recruiting in the always talent-rich South.