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3 Coaches That Could Replace Lane Kiffin

Kevin McAllister |
October 1, 2013 | 1:16 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Jack Del Rio, former Jaguars head coach, is a top candidate for the USC job. (Parker Anderson/Creative Commons)
Jack Del Rio, former Jaguars head coach, is a top candidate for the USC job. (Parker Anderson/Creative Commons)

"There's always next year" is never a phrase that should be uttered entering the sixth week of NCAA football season, but for the student body at USC, that's the case. Coming off of the embarrassing loss to Arizona State this past weekend, Pat Haden made the executive decision to answer the seemingly unified call to fire Lane Kiffin and replace him with interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron. With Orgeron at the helm trying to steady the ship to avoid total disaster in 2013, Pat Haden has been charged with the task of finding someone capable of rescuing the Trojans in the midst of this slide. It's not going to be an easy task, but there certainly are candidates who can remind the fan base of the Pete Carroll era and put USC back on top.

Jack Del Rio

Even though the rumors of Del Rio arriving at LAX on Sunday night turned out to be false, he is still the top candidate to take the reins. Del Rio is currently bound by contract to the Denver Broncos, but following its expiration in February, he could potentially leave the NFL and begin a new chapter in Southern California.

Del Rio, who the Trojans fondly remember as their All-American linebacker and Rose Bowl MVP, understands the football culture present at Southern Cal. Much like with baseball in the Bronx, the fans don't respect losers, and can be ruthless; however, Del Rio has the advantage of knowing that from an inside prospective.

Additionally, as a defensive coordinator in the NFL, Del Rio could help restore the USC defense. While many on and off campus had initially admired USC's defensive prowess through the early games of 2013, Arizona State embarrassed the squad and pointed out on a grand scale the flaws found in USC's system. Just like last year's game against Oregon, USC didn't have the speed to keep up with the spread offense, and was left with gaping holes. As a former strength and conditioning coach with the New Orleans Saints, Del Rio could provide the experience which could finally have USC leaving Eugene with a victory in the years to come.

SEE MORE: Meet Ed Orgeron: USC's First Interim Head Coach

The only concern with Del Rio is that because he has been so focused on defense throughout his career, the Trojan offense might still struggle under his command. The season is only five games old, but Cody Kessler is no Matt Barkley and Max Browne is still untested. As long as there are no bubble screens in his playbook though, Del Rio should be OK.

James Franklin has turned Vandy into the best program in Tennessee. (Wikimedia Commons)
James Franklin has turned Vandy into the best program in Tennessee. (Wikimedia Commons)
James Franklin

Franklin may be the most exciting name in the NCAA football coaching world at the present time. Two years ago, Franklin turned a dismal Vanderbilt program into an SEC contender. While USC doesn't have to be built up from the ground floor like Vanderbilt did, Franklin might be able to revitalize and rejuvenate the whole program. As much as Notre Dame is considered a bad word on campus, Franklin might be able to act as in a Brian Kelly fashion and take a struggling program and bring it back to full potential.

Throughout his coaching career, Franklin has proven himself as the total package. During his tenure as offensive coordinator at Kansas State, he put together a squad that included a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,500-yard receiver, and a 1,000-yard rusher. When Franklin served at the University of Maryland as offensive coordinator, he instilled the value of ball security and had his team finish third in the nation in giveaways in 2010 with twelve. Want to know how many turnovers USC has in 5 games? Nine.

Finally during the past two years at Vanderbilt, Franklin reinvigorated a waning fan base by being involved on campus and utilizing grass roots campaigning methods among the student body. With USC's attendance declining since the Kiffin era began, Franklin just might be able to get the fans out to the Coliseum, especially with the renovations on the horizon.

Chris Petersen

The last candidate in the top three is without a doubt current Boise State head coach Chris Petersen. Boise State, who has been an offensive powerhouse throughout Petersen's tenure, established itself as a team with defensive potential as well in 2012. Much like Franklin, Petersen is a well-rounded coach who has proven himself on both sides of the ball. This season, however, is a different story for the Broncos who, like the Trojans, already have two losses. It might be time for Petersen to consider a new job, and the newly vacated positon at USC just might be the right option. Plus, at Boise State, he is referred to as "Coach Pete," and the last one of those at USC did a pretty good job.

At the end of the day, it seems that it will be Ed Orgeron's team for the remainder of the season, but starting in 2014 there will almost certainly be a new coach calling the shots. If it is one of the three listed above, 2014 may very well be the "next year" that USC fans are so desperately begging for.

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