As soon as that news settled in, however, we heard the story about Orgeron possibly leaving and it hits just as hard. Orgeron had been mentioned as a candidate for the Rebel job but Mississippi officials were also going after several others with head coaching experience. One by one those other names fell by the wayside while Orgeron prepared well and impressed the Mississippi delegation during his interview last week. By the time Dennis Erickson gave them a no on Wednesday morning it didn't take long for the Rebels to turn to Orgeron and just like that the heart and soul of our defensive line is gone.
It will be hard to replace Orgeron, even if Pete Carroll is able to bring in a capable and experienced coach there is little chance he will match the unique character that is Coach O. He's the closest thing USC has seen to Marv Goux with his fiery coaching style and that booming Southern voice that echoes across the practice field.
My how he got his defensive line to play. One thing you can say about Coach Orgeron and his defensive players over the years is that his players got better during their careers at USC. His defensive lines came to be known as the strength of the Trojan defense and this year you will find no better example of Ed Orgeron's teachings than the two men in the middle with Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson. Cody was the high school All-American who was seemingly headed to the Irish but Orgeron stubbornly stayed in the recruiting race until Carroll arrived to help close the deal. Patterson was considered too small and was prepared to head to Oregon until Coach O convinced the newly arrived Carroll that Mike was a player. Cody and Patterson were both named All-Americans this year and they could be the best pair of defensive linemen in the nation.
Orgeron also made his mark in the area of recruiting with his detailed work and thorough analysis of prospects across the country. The job of recruiting coordinator is often a thankless one yet Orgeron dove in and did a very impressive job during his tenure.
What happens now? It's unclear how Orgeron will divide his time between USC and Oxford in the coming weeks as the Trojans prepare for the BCS championship game against Oklahoma. Pete Carroll has already said he is prepared for this sort of situation so it stands to reason that it won't be long before he names a replacement for Orgeron and whoever that coach is he will walk into a dream situation with a position full of talented players including Frostee Rucker, Lawrence Jackson and Jeff Schweiger.
We certainly wish the best for Coach O but we can't help feeling a bit sad for the Trojan program on this day. He will be a hard man to replace. Good luck in your new job coach.