Ed Orgeron spoke with USC Athletic Director Pat Haden after the Trojans’ loss to UCLA, but the interim coach said Sunday the subject was the game — not his future.
Orgeron, who would like to become the Trojans’ permanent coach, said no meeting with Haden had been scheduled.
“We just talked about going ahead and recruiting, going ahead and doing what I need to do,” Orgeron said during a teleconference with reporters. “He’ll talk to me when he’s ready, I’m sure.”
With Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin agreeing to a contract extension, USC could pursue coaches such as Vanderbilt’s James Franklin, Boise State’s Chris Petersen and, perhaps, Washington’s Steve Sarkisian.
Jack Del Rio, the Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator and interim head coach, was interviewed by Haden in November.
USC’s 35-14 loss to rival UCLA dropped the Trojans record to 9-4 overall and 6-3 in the Pac-12 Conference.
USC, which is 6-2 under Orgeron, could be headed to the Las Vegas Bowl, where the Trojans would play the Mountain West Conference champion.
Fresno State (10-1) plays Utah State (8-4) on Saturday in the Mountain West Conference championship game. Fresno State’s hopes for a Bowl Championship Series bowl game ended Saturday with a 62-52 loss to San Jose State. The Trojans defeated Utah State, 17-14, on Sept. 21 at the Coliseum.
Orgeron was a USC assistant under Pete Carroll when the Trojans lost to Utah, 10-6, in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl.
Orgeron declined to comment on speculation about the Trojans’ possible bowl destinations.
“It’s another game for us to play,” he said. “So, we’ll be excited to go anywhere and get to practice with our team and get better.”
After the loss to UCLA, several USC players said they were disappointed but added that they would regroup for a bowl game.
“It’s not over,” junior tight end Xavier Grimble said. “That’s what makes Coach O so special. I feel like through tough situations, he’s able to pull in the team and get us back together.”
Orgeron is scheduled to meet this week with draft-eligible players and their parents.
“We’ll see where they are, because we don’t want to lose any of them,” he said.
Receiver Marqise Lee, safety Dion Bailey, linebacker Hayes Pullard, defensive lineman George Uko, defensive back Josh Shaw and tight ends Grimble and Randall Telfer are among those who could make themselves available for the draft. So are center Marcus Martin and offensive lineman Aundrey Walker, who suffered knee and ankle injuries, respectively, against UCLA.
Walker had surgery Sunday, Orgeron said. He said he would not be able to update Martin’s status until Monday.
Orgeron and assistants spent Sunday recruiting.
That’s what Orgeron did after Paul Hackett was fired after the 2000 season. Carroll was eventually hired, and he retained Orgeron as recruiting coordinator.
“At least we have an interim head coach now,” Orgeron said. “Back then, we didn’t have any coach. So at least they have a head coach to talk to now. So we’re in a better position than we were last time.”
USC will have a team meeting Monday, but the Trojans will not practice this week…. USC and UCLA players jawed on the field after the Trojans went through their pregame prayer circle, a situation Orgeron said he addressed with his players immediately afterward in the locker room. “That was something we didn’t like,” he said. “It was something that has nothing to do with the football game.”