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USC's Ed Orgeron could add coach of the year to resume

Trojans interim coach is among 16 semifinalists for the annual award presented in mid-December by the Maxwell Football Club.

November 20, 2013|By Gary Klein

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Ed Orgeron is building a resume to convince USC Athletic Director Pat Haden that, once the season ends, he should drop the interim tag and make Orgeron the fulltime head coach.

Along with support from fans, players and influential alums, Orgeron also could offer something else to make his case: A coach-of-the-year award.

The Maxwell Football Club announced Wednesday that Orgeron was one of 16 semifinalists for its annual award, which will be announced Dec. 17.

The semifinalist list includes Alabama's Nick Saban and Ohio State's Urban Meyer. Orgeron is the only interim coach.

"My first thought went to the players and coaches we've got, guys that are doing a tremendous job here," said Orgeron, who has guided the Trojans to five victories in six games and a No. 23 ranking. "This is a total team effort. It's not about individuals."

USC, coming off an upset victory over Stanford, is 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the Pac-12 Conference going into Saturday's game at Colorado. The Trojans are three-touchdown favorites.

If USC wins, and defeats UCLA in the season finale, support for Orgeron could increase.

During a Tuesday night interview on the athletic department's radio show, Haden said that he counted 136 "pro coach O emails" in his inbox.

"That doesn't count the tweets, it doesn't count letters, it doesn't count the phone calls," Haden said.

Haden, however, reiterated that USC would continue with its process.

"What Ed has done has been absolutely remarkable and he's clearly in our eyesight," Haden said. "We understand. It's not just the fans. We're sophisticated enough and know enough about this that we understand the attributes that he has and he's a known quantity.

"But I think my job is to really find the best coach for USC. Not just for this year, for five or six or eight games or next year, but hopefully it's five or 10 or 15 years. So we're going to go through this process that we have and at the end of the day I think we'll have a rational decision.

"And I completely understand ... people are going to disagree with the decision I make, no matter who it is. So we're going to get that. I'm fully prepared for that. But my job is to try to do the best I can for USC."

Quick hits

Defensive tackle Leonard Williams said he took a painkilling injection before the Stanford game for his injured shoulder. He will probably suit up against Colorado but might limit his plays, he said. … With cold temperatures expected in Boulder, Colo., Orgeron said he would not coach in shirt-sleeves. "I'm not doing that anymore," he said. "No, those days are over." Once his postpractice meeting with the media ended, he said he was off to enjoy 16-ounce steaks with his players and staff.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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