USC COACHING HOT BOARD

Kevin Sumlin / USA Today Sports

As the college football season passes the halfway mark, take a look at how potential candidates to fill the USC vacancy are fairing...

Ed Orgeron
Current Position:
USC interim head coach
Previous Position:
USC recruiting coordinator/defensive line coach
Position held:
2010-present
Age:
52
Overall record:
11-26
Bio:
Current USC recruiting coordinator / defensive line coach Ed Orgeron has been named the interim head coach for the remaining eight games on the Trojans schedule. Orgeron was the head coach at Mississippi from 2005-07. He was fired after the final game of the 2007 season; his record at Ole Miss 10-25 through three seasons. Orgeron contributed to Scout.com's No. 18 recruiting class in 2013 at USC. div>
Positives:
Familiar with USC culture. Player, recruit, and fan favorite at USC. Can inject personality and enthusiasm into program.
Negatives:
Association with Lane Kiffin era. Poor record at Ole Miss.
Orgeron is 1-1 as USC's head coach. He led the Trojans to a 38-31 win over Arizona in his USC interim head coaching debut before going on the road to South Bend (Ind.) and falling 14-10 to Notre Dame. Orgeron has also hit the recruiting trail running, collecting three commits in the 2014 recruiting class since taking over as interim head coach.

James Franklin
Current Position:
Vanderbilt head coach
Position held:
2011-present
Age:
41
Overall record:
19-14
Bio:
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin is at the top of USC's radar and has been for months, according to a source. Now in his third season at Vandy, Franklin led the Commodores to bowl appearances in his first two seasons at the helm. Heis record at Vanderbilt is currently 18-13, but the Commodores are just 3-2 to start the 2013 season. At age 41, Franklin would bring young energy to USC. Franklin signed Scout.com's No. 16 recruiting class in 2013.
Positives:
Young, energetic recruiter who can infuse enthusiasm back into USC football program and culture.
Negatives:
Franklin is still a young coach with relatively little head coaching experience.
When asked about his interest in the USC job during his Monday press conference, Franklin responded: My response is (I'm) really excited about talking about UAB, our last game; really excited about talking about Missouri this week. I mean, for once I'd like to sit in this press conference and talk about either the game before or the game we're playing this week.

So, it's not exactly him screaming he wants the USC job, though he's certainly not denying it.

Franklin's Commodores are 4-3 this season, the three losses at the hands of SEC foes. It's far from an impressive record, but it isn't going to rule him out of the race.

Steve Sarkisian
Current Position:
Washington head coach
Position held:
2009-present
Age:
39
Overall record:
30-28
Salary:
$2.25 million
Bio:
Now in his fourth year as the head coach at Washington, Steve Sarkisian finally has his Huskies rolling. After a 5-8 season followed by three straight 7-6 seasons, Washington is off to a 4-0 start and is currently No. 15 in the AP poll. It is foreseeable that Sarkisian, a USC assistant from 2005-08, would want to make the move back to Los Angeles to restore the USC program to the strength it was when he was just an assistant. However a source close the situation says Sarkisian is more interested in the NFL. Sarkisian signed Scout.com's No. 13 recruiting class in 2013.
Positives:
From Torrance, CA. Assisted on Pete Carroll's staff.
Negatives:
Sarkisian's record at Washington through four complete seasons does not prove head coaching success at USC's standards.
Asked about his interest in the USC vacancy on Monday as the Huskies prepare for Stanford, Sarkisian said he will not discuss any "hypothetical scenarios".

Though a little more has now come out from Sark: I have great respect for USC and the rich history and tradition they have. But I'm proud to be the head coach of the 15th-ranked team in America right now and all the hard work we've put into this program the last five years to get to this point to be in an awesome matchup on national television this Saturday night against a national championship contender in Stanford.

A source close to the situation at Washington says Sarkisian isn't interested in leaving the Huskies for USC. If he leaves, it will be for the NFL.

Sarkisian's Huskies were off to a hot 4-0 start before running into conference foes Stanford and Oregon, losing to both squads. UW's skid continued the following week at Arizona State. At this point, Sark's resume in the Pac-12 is ruling him out as a viable option at USC.

Kevin Sumlin
Current Position:
Texas A&M head coach
Position held:
2012-present
Age:
49
Overall record:
51-21
Salary:
$3.1 million
Bio:
In his first season as head coach at Texas A&M, Kevin Sumlin knocked off eventual National Champion Alabama in SEC Conference action. He led the Aggies to an 11-2 record in what could have been a tumultuous season for the program in its first year in the Southeastern Conference. Sumlin once again has his Aggies off to a fast start in 2013 with a 4-1 record, their lone loss to Alabama. Sumlin coached freshman Johnny Manziel through his freshman season and on to winning the Heisman Trophy; Manziel was the first freshman to ever do so. Sumlin signed Scout.com's No. 14 recruiting class in 2013.
Positives:
Great offensive mind who can bring an exciting brand of football to Los Angeles.
Negatives:
No recent ties to the West Coast.
Sumlin, like other candidates, was asked about his name being in the mix at USC. His answer a little different than others, saying "It means you're winning and doing things the right way." Indeed.

A source says Sumlin and his family wouldn't mind leaving the state of Texas for other pastures, but also noted if he leaves, it very well could be for the NFL.

Sumlin's Aggies have collected two blemishes on their record. One loss was to top-ranked Alabama. The other, a 45-41 loss to Gus Malzahn's revamped Auburn Tigers. That loss, obviously unexpected, especially given the game was in College Station.

Despite the two bumps, don't expect Sumlin's name to drop out of the race.

Chris Petersen
Current Position:
Boise State head coach
Position held:
2006-present
Age:
48
Overall record:
89-10
Salary:
2 million
Bio:
Boise State head coach Chris Petersen has led the Broncos to a 87-10 record through his eight year tenure. They've earned a trip to a bowl game each season as well. But word is that Petersen wants to try his hand on a bigger stage. The Broncos played in the Western Athletic Conference for Petersen's first five seasons and have since moved to the Mountain West Conference. Based on Boise State's sluggish 3-2 start, including a loss to Fresno State, it appears the best days of Bronco football may be behind them, for now. What could Petersen do with a BCS program? He might get the chance to find out after this season. Petersen signed Scout.com's No. 43 recruiting class in 2013.
Positives:
Petersen knows the West Coast and has proven he is a capable head coach with a great record at Boise State.
Negatives:
The only knock on Petersen is he lacks BCS coaching experience.

Jack Del Rio
Current Position:
Denver Broncos defensive coordinator
Position held:
2012-present
Age:
50
Overall record:
68-71
Bio:
Could Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio return to his alma mater to takeover as head coach? It's most certainly a possibility. Del Rio's is a name often heard around USC when a coaching search is brought up. He's currently in his second season as the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos, a team currently in front of the Super Bowl race. Del Rio was reportedly offered the head coaching position in 2010, but turned it down.
Positives:
A USC All-American, Del Rio is already a favorite name in the Trojan Family.
Negatives:
No college head coaching experience.
Del Rio was reportedly spotted at LAX the same Sunday that Lane Kiffin was fired, however by Monday morning those reports were put to rest as it was confirmed Del Rio was in Denver.

Jeff Fisher
Current Position:
St. Louis Rams head coach
Position held:
2012-present
Age:
55
Overall record:
149-128
Bio:
Who better to restore tradition and championship ways to USC than St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, who won a National Championship with USC in 1978. Fisher has spent nearly the last two decades as a head coach in the NFL. He was fired as head coach of the Tennessee Titans after the 2010 season, spent 2011 watching the game, and returned to coaching in St. Louis in 2011.
Positives:
A USC National Champion, Fisher would most certainly be a welcome sight for the Trojan Family.
Negatives:
No college head coaching experience.

David Shaw
Current Position:
Stanford head coach
Position held:
2012-present
Age:
41
Overall record:
29-5
Bio:
A former Stanford receiver, an offensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh for the Cardinal, and now the Stanford head coach, is there any chance David Shaw ever leaves The Farm? It's a longshot at best for USC to get Shaw to move to Southern California to take over the Trojans, but it's worth one. Pundits thought Stanford's run was over when Harbaugh left to take the head job with the 49ers, but Shaw's Cardinal haven't missed a beat in his two seasons at the helm of the program. In 2011 Stanford won 11 games, in 2012 they won 12, including the Rose Bowl.
Positives:
Shaw is not only familiar with the landscape of the Pac-12, he knows how to rule it.
Negatives:
Find one, we're still looking.
When told Tuesday during the weekly Pac-12 coaches teleconference that he was on USC's short list, Shaw responded, "It might be short, but it's one person too long."

Mike Riley
Current Position:
Oregon State head coach
Position held:
2003-present
Age:
60
Overall record:
140-135
Bio:
The head coach of the Oregon State Beavers, Riley has been coaching since 1975. He made his way through the Canadian Football League before becoming the offensive coordinator at USC from 2003-06. He then was hired as the head coach at Oregon State, where he stayed for two years before being hired as the head coach of the San Diego Chargers. Riley didn't fair well in San Diego and eventually found himself back leading the Beavers. He's 85-68 in his two stints in Corvallis. His name was in the mix in 2009 when the Trojans went with Pete Carroll and it's not only in the mix, it's a rumored front-runner now.
Positives:
Born in Idaho and with over 15 years of experience at Pac-12 schools, Riley no doubt knows the West Coast and the conference.
Negatives:
Tough to find one, but if you have to, at 60 years old is Riley a long-term solution?
Asked during Tuesday's Pac-12 coaches conference call if he would be interested in the job at USC, Riley firmly stated: No.

Jon Gruden
Current Position:
ESPN NFL analyst
Position held:
2009-present
Age:
50
Overall record:
95-81
Bio:
Gruden has been coaching football since 1986. He spent three years as an assistant in the college ranks before moving on to the NFL, where he coached from 1990 – 2008. Gruden has been the head coach of the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His latest role has been with ESPN, serving as an analyst on Monday Night Football broadcasts as well as holding "Gruden's Quarterback Camp", where he's worked with top college quarterbacks entering the NFL draft.
Positives:
Gruden's coaching experience, football knowledge, and ability to coach is second to none.
Negatives:
Gruden has no head coaching experience at the college level. Can he pickup on recruiting?
Gruden's name is always thrown around when there is a head coaching vacancy in the college ranks. Often times, it's just a name being thrown in the mix. Could USC be the job Gruden is actually interested in, though? And could the interest be mutual?

Lovie Smith
Current Position:
Former Chicago Bears head coach
Position held:
2004-2012
Age:
55
Overall record:
81-63
Bio:
Smith served as the head coach of the Chicago Bears from 2004 to 2012. He was fired at the end of the 2012 season; the Bears started hot with a 7-1 record before stumbling to a 10-6 finish. Smith has been coaching football since 1980, starting in the high school ranks. He got his first break into college coaching in 1983 and in 1996 took the job as linebackers coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Smith was a two-time All-American at the University of Tulsa in his playing days.
Positives:
Smith has plenty of head coaching experience in the NFL to know how to manage a football program.
Negatives:
Smith's scheme might not bring the ‘excitement' factor needed to fill the Coliseum on Saturdays.
A source with knowledge of the situation says USC contacted Smith to discuss his interest in the vacancy at USC. A Chicago radio first broke the news that Smith met with USC, though Smith's agent tweeted that no such meeting took place, an SCPlaybook source did confirm that discussions were underway.

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