USC Now mailbag: Goodbye Ed Orgeron; offensive line coach search

USC Now mailbag: Goodbye Ed Orgeron; offensive line coach search
New LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, right, shakes hands with Coach Les Miles during a news conference Wednesday. (Hilary Scheinuk / Associated Press)

It feels like the end of an era for the USC Now mailbag. No more fans insisting that USC rehire Ed Orgeron. In case you missed the news, Louisiana State beat the Trojans to Coach O. The Tigers hired him as their defensive line coach.

Though I can still hear you saying, "So you're saying he's not coming back to USC?"


That's exactly what I'm saying.

And yet, here we go. First question – Ed O.


This last season has shown that it was a mistake to not name Orgeron as the head coach and it will be a mistake not to bring him back as a coach. Compare Orgeron's tenure as the head coach to [Steve Sarkisian's] first year.

Orgeron had no spring practice or training camp before the season started.

Don't you think that the problem in the second half of games this year was that the players reflected the attitude of their coach? His attitude was to have time expire before the other team scores enough points to win.

I think USC should hire Orgeron as the assistant head coach. What do you think?


--Ronald Tucker

Ronald, the Ed Orgeron ship has sailed. There was no way USC Coach Steve Sarkisian was going to bring back Orgeron after an initial offer that Orgeron turned down last winter. The team needed to move on and it did.

Orgeron was 6-3 and lost to UCLA and Notre Dame. When he took over there was a system in place and players knew what to expect from him.

Sarkisian was 9-4, lost to UCLA but routed Notre Dame. Sarkisian implemented a system players had to learn and adjust to, while also adjusting to a new coaching staff.

The second-half issues still remain a bit of a mystery. Multiple players addressed their thoughts on what went wrong in last week's mailbag.

I thought and will always think that there is no way Orgeron should join the current USC staff.

Any news on a new offensive line coach? Any anticipated staff changes? Orgeron on the horizon ?

--John Tenery


Orgeron to LSU.

No official news on a new offensive line coach. The coaches' convention was held last weekend in Louisville, Ky., and I've been told that USC interviewed some candidates.

Justin Wilcox seems to be awful. He is like Monte Kiffin Jr., bend but don't break, don't give up long plays, nothing over 20 yards. This drives me crazy watching a lower-tier team march up and down the field on our defense. Also, it wears the defense out, being on the field for so long, bending but not breaking.

Sark's offense is hurry up, spread, let's run 100 plays in a game which I hate but is the fashion now, I guess. It really sickens me to see USC student body left running the Oregon offense. Pete Carroll, John Robinson, never needed this crap and did fine. And what concerns me is, Sark trots the offense out, they run four plays in one minute, punt, and the Wilcox "bend but don't break" worn-out defense has to come out again. These two are a lethal combination to defensive players, especially since out roster is depleted due to sanctions.

Can we fire them both?

--Patrick Corbett

No, you can't fire them both. At least not yet, anyway.

Your best point is about the hurry-up offense and how it keeps the defense on the field.

Sarkisian said he would vary tempo based on game situations, but it seemed more often than not the offense would go three and out and a tired defense would be back on the field before it even made it to the Gatorade cooler.

Tempo may be the trend, but if you're concerned about roster depth the last thing it seems you would want to do is run more plays and hurry up everything.

It is a "Tale of Two Cities" or maybe loyalty and longtime friendships, but departed USC Coach Tim Drevno is a study in all of the above. He left the NFL and the San Francisco 49ers and head coach Jim Harbaugh, whom he works with for years, to return home to Southern California and friend Steve Sarkisian.

And now, ''I am excited to join the University of Michigan and work with coach Harbaugh again,'' Drevno said.

Why the change of heart?

Who is USC going to hire to fill an important coaching position and what valuable lesson in human nature is at work here? Maybe it is just the nature of the "coaching merry-go-round" and looking for a better opportunity is the carrot in front of the donkey, but you graduated from Washington and ended up reporting for the L.A. Times and Trojans.

--Daniel C. Garcia

These kind of coaching changes happen all the time.

Tim Drevno was an assistant offensive line coach for the 49ers, so it made sense that he left to become the line coach at USC.

It is surprising Drevno left USC after a season only because he is from Southern California. However, he has a long history coaching for Jim Harbaugh and the offensive coordinator title is a promotion.

Unlike USC's coaching searches last season, the search for an offensive line coach has been kept pretty quiet.

I graduated from Washington but work for The Times covering USC. You follow opportunity - which often means leaving your hometown, family and rooting interests behind.

USC can sign more than 19 [recruits]. Can eat into next year's [class].

--Michael Verbeck

You're wrong and right.

USC can only sign 19 recruits on signing day. However, because of the blue-shirt rule, a non-recruited player can be awarded a scholarship on Day 1 of fall camp.

A non-recruited player is a player who did not make an official visit or host coaches on in-home visits, among other things.

Just for the heck of it, our oldest daughter, Lynsey, graduated in '90. Why is it that the Trojans only get 19 recruits in February? I thought at a point in time it was 24.

--Greg Paulo

You were way ahead of the Lindsey trend! My best friends from elementary school through college were named Lindsey (three of them) and one of my favorite colleagues, she's a Lindsey too.

USC has 24 scholarships available in the 2015 class. Five of those scholarships were accounted for by recruits who signed financial-aid agreements and started classes this week.

The remaining 19 scholarships are left for signing day on Feb. 4.

Have you gotten any hints about what the NFL has told [Leonard] Williams, [Nelson] Agholor and [Javorius] Allen regarding their projected positions in the upcoming draft?

--Don Green, Merced, Calif.

No hints, but there are plenty of mock drafts available that are pretty accurate to what unfolds on draft day.


It is still early in the draft process. Senior all-star games, the NFL scouting combine, pro-day workouts on campuses and individual workouts will take place before the draft.

Early mock drafts have Leonard Williams projected as a top-five pick and receiver Nelson Agholor and tailback Javorius Allen as second- to fourth-round picks.

Biggest USC fan on East Coast. Someone has to tell the last recruits who are on campus this weekend that it takes an all-around team. Ohio State, past USC teams and not Oregon's fast-pace gimmick team are what it really takes to win championships. Oregon has a thousand different uniforms, but still no trophy!

--Dawne Scala

Dawne, paranoid about Oregon winning recruiting battles?

You do realize that USC's offense is a poor-man's version of Oregon's, right?

Sarkisian installed an up-tempo offense this season.

Where do you think he got that idea?

Maybe when he spent five years at Washington getting beat by the up-tempo Ducks?

Questions about USC? Join a future mailbag. Email me at or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select messages.