USC Sports

USC’s Steve Sarkisian is looking for defensive line coach again

Former USC interim coach Ed Orgeron is among the potential candidates for the Trojans’ vacant defensive line coaching position.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The search for USC’s next defensive line coach continues.

Trojans Coach Steve Sarkisian said Tuesday that he recently reached out to Ed Orgeron regarding the seemingly hard-to-fill position.

Sarkisian thought he had completed his staff last week when former Texas defensive line coach Bo Davis agreed to come to USC. But Davis changed his mind and took a similar job at Alabama. “Obviously,” Sarkisian said, “we had a little bit of a hiccup.”

After he was hired on Dec. 2, and again after the Trojans’ Las Vegas Bowl victory over Fresno State, Sarkisian said that he would communicate with Orgeron, who left USC after Athletic Director Pat Haden hired Sarkisian.


Sarkisian said Tuesday that he initially spoke with Orgeron to get the “lay of the land” about the program.

“We did talk about the possibility of him rejoining this coaching staff,” Sarkisian said, adding, “He’s a great football coach. He did tremendous things for USC. I think this isn’t the end of Ed Orgeron’s career, that’s for sure. Whether it’s here or somewhere else, he’s going to continue to coach and do a great job.”

It is unlikely that Orgeron would return to USC.

Sarkisian indicated that there was no shortage of interest in the defensive line job.


“From the NFL ranks to the college ranks,” he said. “We’re just trying to hire the right guy for the job, for our coaching staff, for our players, for USC.”

Sarkisian had initially expressed interest in bringing former Washington defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi to USC. But the NCAA is investigating allegations that Lupoi paid for private tutoring and online courses for 2013 Huskies recruit Andrew Basham, who did not qualify academically to enroll.

Lupoi has denied violating NCAA rules in the recruitment of Basham. Lupoi was not retained as part of Washington Coach Chris Petersen’s staff.

If the NCAA finds the allegations against Lupoi to be true, Sarkisian could face penalties, including suspension, unless he can prove that he promoted an atmosphere of compliance at Washington and monitored his staff.

Sarkisian said Tuesday he had not spoken with or been contacted by the NCAA.

Learning curve

Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said the Trojans’ scheme would feature multiple fronts and that players would be familiar with many of the concepts.

“There will be some things that are the same as what they’ve done and there will be other things that we might tweak a little bit,” he said, adding, “There will be a fair amount of same-as learning.”


Quick hits

Offensive line coach Tim Drevno is a member of the San Francisco 49ers’ staff and is preparing for this weekend’s NFC championship game against the Seattle Seahawks. He will join USC’s staff after the NFL season.

USC opens spring practice on March 11 and will conclude with the annual scrimmage on April 19 at the Coliseum. ... USC’s pro day for players preparing for the NFL draft will be held March12.

Twitter: @latimesklein

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