Marcus Allen has seen enough. He's convinced.
"From the depths of despair, from a program that was flat-lining, he has made a tremendous turnaround," said Allen, the first former player to talk to the team after
Four former USC players, all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, were asked for their opinions on the school's coaching situation and Orgeron, who has led the team to a 6-1 record since taking over the top job, including beating No. 4 Stanford on Nov. 16. The Trojans take a five-game winning streak into their regular-season finale against crosstown rival
Along with Allen, safety Ronnie Lott, and offensive tackles Anthony Munoz and Ron Yary weighed in on how they think USC should proceed. None is directly involved in the coaching search or hiring process.
"To me, Ed Orgeron is like Marv Goux," Lott said, referring to the legendary Trojans player-turned-assistant who coached at the school for three decades and died in 2002. "Ed Orgeron showed me, and showed a lot of people, that . . . in terms of moving forward, he's got to be considered. He's not only got to be considered, but he should be very high on the list."
Yary is more measured in his endorsement of Orgeron, mostly deferring to USC Athletic Director Pat Haden.
"It's not fair for me to think for Pat," Yary said. "But if there's a guy who's stepping up to earn it, [Orgeron] has so far. He's certainly turned the program around. . . . I've met Ed and hear a lot of good things about him from other people.
"I'm sure they'll give him a fair opportunity to get the job. If he wins the rest of the games, I think he's put himself up for a job offer."
Orgeron asked Munoz to speak to the team before last month's game at
"I'd hate to be in Pat's shoes right now," Munoz said. "I think Ed, at least from me being there a couple of times, I think he's done a phenomenal job. The whole atmosphere is different. Not once has he mentioned the lack of scholarships [because of
"When you hear the quarterback talk about how much he loves the guy, just going by the tweets, you can see that guys just love him. I'm sure there's people that want the high-profile names, but I don't know. If he wins out, he's got to be strongly considered."
Allen said USC has historically succeeded when it has an inspirational leader as coach, as opposed to an offensive or defensive guru, someone more focused on Xs and O's than personal relationships.
"It's people, not plays," Allen said. "You always hear those coaches say, 'I don't care if you like me, I just want to be respected.' I mean, that's a joke, dude. You want respect, but you want to be liked too. Because if your players like you, they'll give you even more.
"Coach O understands that. He's recruited all these kids. He's been in every single living room. He knows these kids, he knows their parents. He feels responsible, because they're there because of him. He wants the best for them."