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Lane Kiffin on the next USC coach: 'It should be Ed Orgeron'

'The players love him, the coaches love him,' Kiffin says. 'How could you even think about ... bringing someone from the outside?'

November 21, 2013|By Gary Klein

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Lane Kiffin is no longer USC's coach, but he has an opinion about who should be his permanent replacement.

"That's easy. That's already done. It should be Ed Orgeron," Kiffin said Thursday during a radio interview on KSPN-AM (710).

Orgeron has guided the Trojans to a 5-1 record since Athletic Director Pat Haden named him interim coach after firing Kiffin on Sept. 29.

The No. 23 Trojans, who are 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the Pac-12 Conference, play at Colorado on Saturday.

Haden said Tuesday that what Orgeron has achieved has been "absolutely remarkable" and that "he's clearly in our eyesight" for the permanent job. But Haden repeated that he would continue the search process.

According to Kiffin, the search should be over.

"You have someone right there that has been at 'SC in great times, won national championships there," Kiffin told hosts Mark Willard and Mychal Thompson. "He understands the Trojan way, the players love him, the assistant coaches love him. How could you possibly even think about going and bringing someone from the outside that really isn't going to know USC, even if they played there 30 years ago, to come in to learn USC and to get to those players, to take Ed away from them?"

Orgeron, asked for his reaction to Kiffin's endorsement, said, "I really respect Coach Kiffin as a friend and a coach, and that's all I'm saying."

Orgeron also said he respected former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel, now a Pac-12 Networks analyst who in the aftermath of the Trojans' victory over Stanford composed and performed a song in tribute to Orgeron.

"A tribute to what has taken place there," Neuheisel said before playing the guitar and performing the song during the Pac-12 Networks Football Podcast on Wednesday. "It wasn't very long ago we saw empty stands. We saw a dilapidated football team. And yet here they are, and that scene last week at the Coliseum was heroic in terms of, for Trojan fans to rekindle what they all remember as the glory of USC.

"And so I think it's fitting that we do a little song to tribute our good friend Ed O."

A sample lyric:

One win, two win, three win, four,

Hey Coach O, we want some more.

Then beat Stanford, let the whole world know

We will fight on all the way with Coach O.

Orgeron said he had not yet heard the song but planned to listen Thursday night.

Orgeron recruited against Neuheisel when Neuheisel coached at Colorado, Washington and UCLA.

"I have a lot of respect for Coach Neuheisel," Orgeron said. "I met him a couple of times and we kind of had a bond together, a mutual respect."

Quick hits

Senior safety Gerald Bowman had shoulder surgery and offensive lineman Jordan Simmons, a redshirt freshman, had knee surgery Thursday, Orgeron said….Receiver Marqise Lee, who suffered a shin injury against Stanford, did not practice and remains questionable. Silas Redd (knee) was absent again from practice.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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