"Inside SC" interview with Ed Orgeron

USC assistant head coach Ed Orgeron sits down in the latest edition of "Inside SC" to gives his comments on the defensive line and the recruiting efforts for the Trojans. Click below for a transcript of that interview.

What do you want to instill in your football players?


"The mental attitude of wanting to go out there and be the best every day.  Toughness, an aggressive style."


Who taught you the game?


"I really learned how to coach when I went to Miami under that staff with Coach Johnson, Coach Wannstedt and Coach Davis.  I've learned a lot about coaching from Pete Carroll but the mentality of how to coach, I learned that at Miami."


You were at Miami during national championship years, compare where this program is right now to what you saw then.


"I can feel it.  Obviously we want to be like USC, we don't want to be like nobody else but I can feel a lot of similarities.  I can see the leadership in Coach Carroll and where this is going.  The reason I came to USC is because I thought it could be similar to Miami in that we could recruit the best players in Southern California, just as we recruited the best players in South Florida, but we could also go out of state to get some good players. I think we're getting to that status." 


You were here for some low lows and now you're here for a high point.  When did you know things were changing?


"The first two weeks Coach Carroll and I worked together we were the only two guys in the office and he'd be recruiting to 1 or 2 in the morning or watching film.  I saw the way he operated, that he was a go-getter and I had a feeling then that he could do it and then I saw the staff he brought in but I really feel that something happened to the team in his first season when we won those six games straight.  They just started believing."


What's the best part of coaching under Pete Carroll?


"Just knowing that he's on your side.  He works with you, not against you, and knowing how much he wants to win in his heart you can tell he's on your side.  I really feel that Pete's the man to bring this program back and it's obvious with what he's doing.  His experience is always helping us.  He's a very unselfish guy, he works tireless hours and he cares."


With the way he coaches defense what does it allow your D-line to do?


"Freedom.  He gives us freedom.  Coach has a unique ability through all his experience to put his players in the best position to make plays.  He can feel what an offense is doing and make some changes.  What I like the best is he lets me coach the defensive line the way I know how to do it and when I'm getting the job done there's nothing said but when there's something wrong he'll correct it.  Another thing that's great about Coach Carroll is he watches every bit of practice, he won't go home until he's watched film on every minute of practice and I love that."


Could Ed Orgeron have played for Ed Orgeron?


"Yeah but I don't know if Ed Orgeron could've coached Ed Orgeron (laughing).   There'd be some words there, you know, I'd have to have a talk with the young man."


Let's go through the four spots on the defensive line and give us the characteristics you look for at each spot.


"At nose tackle it's quickness.  I think Mike Patterson is by far the best nose tackle we've recruited here cause he's really quick in his feet and his hands and he has a tenacity about him.  I like the shorter guys that play with leverage because they get a lot of double teams and they need to be low to the ground.  I think Mike's a really good one.  At tackle, the three technique, I'm looking for a guy like Warren Sapp that is extremely, extremely volatile and can beat one on one blocks.  He's the key to our line inside, he's the guy who has to be able to make plays.  I think Cody is coming along at that position, he hasn't reached that standard yet but I think he can get there.  His tenacity and savvy are what make Shaun a special football player.  He loves football.  He's not as fast as people think he is.  That's the reason he didn't play end when he first got here because he was having some trouble at end when he was just a step slow on some plays but we moved him inside and boy he took off then.  To most people it would seem like Shaun would be at end and Kenechi would be at tackle but we just felt like it would be more of a natural position for both of them.  We started Kenechi off at nose guard and he was a taller guy which is what we want at the end spot.  I want a basketball player.  I want somebody who's 6-3, 275 and can run a 4.8 40, something like that.  The end position plays on the tight end so he has to be bigger than the leo position and I think Kenechi is perfect for it.  Leo is really our rush end and he's the guy with the most speed.  Omar Nazel plays that position now and has done a good job with it.  I think the guy coming in, Frostee Rucker, is really gonna do a fantastic job there and also Lawrence Jackson and Chris Barrett.  They're all speed guys, they're our fastest linemen."


When Kenechi Udeze first showed up at USC he weighed 350 lbs, talk about the transition to where he is now.


"Just a tireless worker.  He came to our camp at 351 and we told him to go home and if he could lose some weight we'd think about offering him a scholarship.  He did it, we offered him a scholarship, he redshirted and look at him now. He's the kind of guy who came up and said "Coach, what do I need to do?" so I told him what to do and he did it.  He just flat out did it. To be honest though I didn't think he was going to get down to 278 and look like he does now.  We were taking a shot that he could get down to 300 and play inside but not 278 with muscles like he has.  It's just a fantastic job that he's done and that Chris Carlisle has done with him in the weight room."


One guy who has been impressive this spring is LaJuan Ramsey, talk about him.


"Tough, tough.  He's tough, man, I like LaJuan.  He's a hard worker and he's kind of from the old school where he just comes to work every day.  He's really just learning the position so it's an advantage for him with Cody being out to get some reps with the first team and he's taking on the responsibility and maturing."


Talk about how you recruited LaJuan because it happened late in the recruiting process.


"Yeah, we watched him on film late in November and we liked some of the things that he did so we just brought him in.  That's typical of Los Angeles because there are so many good players here that you just have to continue the process because you never know who you'll find."


Let's talk about the other recruits coming in for the DL.


"We'll have Fili Moala, Sedrick Ellis and Ryan Watson on the inside and we just need to work with them and see where they're gonna fit.  It could be at either tackle or nose but it hasn't been determined yet.  The big kid Alex Morrow is gonna play at end.  Matt Spanos will also start off on the DL.  Jonathan Turner will be at linebacker."


You're from Louisiana, how happy were you to bring in a Louisiana recruit like Ryan Watson?

"Really happy, really happy.  Happy for USC and happy for Ryan to bring him here to USC because I know it's a great place and he's gonna get a great education and he's gonna love it out here.  I think it opens up some doors for us in Louisiana and that could be a real good thing."


Marv Goux.


"Yeah, Marv Goux.  When I got here he kind of took me under his wing, taught me some stuff, taught me the way things ought to be here and I ended up talking to Coach Goux about once a week since I was coaching here.  He became a good friend of mine.  He's still around, we believe in him.  When Coach Carroll was hired we went down and had breakfast with Coach Goux in the desert and Coach Carroll became a good friend of his as well.  We called him every week.  He'd talk to us about the game, talk about the philosophy of SC, we learned a lot from him. He's a great man."


Let's talk recruiting.  What are the things you try to emphasize about USC when talking to a recruit?


"First of all we emphasize winning and the opportunity to come here and compete at the highest level of college football.  To be able to win championships.  Second of all the education that we offer here.  It's a private institution with great educational opportunities.  Third, and probably the most important, is the Trojan family.  Once you're a Trojan you're a Trojan for life.  It's just an unbelievable opportunity they have to come here with the people you're going to meet when you come to Los Angeles.  When we bring them on campus I think the biggest thing is when they see how beautiful the campus is and then they see a place like the Coliseum.  It's a great atmosphere for a young man."


Talk about how you begin the information gathering process for the upcoming class.


"The biggest thing for us here at USC when it came to capturing Southern California and California was going to every school.  Each school is assigned to a coach and we're gonna be in that school every year.  They're gonna see the Trojans.  We use several resources to identify players but what we want to use is our own evaluation process.  It starts with going to the school and watching practice, bringing them to our camps,  having them at games, getting to know their character, asking some tough questions, all that stuff."


Who makes the initial evaluations?  The position coach? The area coach?


"I think one of the best things we do is we meet once a week on recruiting and it's a comprehensive deal with everybody on the staff.  It's not really on one person, obviously Coach Carroll makes the final decision, but everybody has input.  It's up to the area coach to establish relationships with the coaches and to know the players in the area and bring them to us.  The position coach watches them, the coordinators watch them but in the end it comes down to the whole staff making a judgement.  I like it.  I like the way it's done.  We have some very exciting meetings in there."


Talk about the importance of camps and combines to the recruiting process.


"It's big.  It's our own evaluation when they come to our camps.  I use Kenechi, Cody and Patterson as examples, they all came to our camp and I got to know them.  You get a feel for how they're going to react in your drills and your stuff.  To me that's the most important part.  I think all the combines are great, obviously they're not our combines, but the height/weight and speed times are so important to have."


Describe a USC in-home visit.


"When we go on an in-home visit an area coach goes in there, he's the first person to go in and meet the parents.  We bring a little presentation with us about what they're going to major in and the school and it's mainly for the parents to feel comfortable with us and the guy who is recruiting them.  After that we'll go in the home once a week and at the opportune time we'll bring Coach Carroll in.  That's the biggest selling point because I think Coach is by far, and I mean by far, the best coach I've ever seen recruiting and I've been with some of the best guys in the world.  He's by far the best recruiting head football coach I've seen from A to Z, from top to bottom, from evaluations to being into it and when he goes into homes they just love him."


I can hear the respect in your voice for Coach Carroll.


"Yeah, a lot of respect.  It's because I watch him, I watch him every day and how he works.  He works hand in hand with us and he's there."


Are there any specific recruiting stories where Coach made a big impact with his enthusiasm and energy?


"Oh, he does it in each home, I'm telling you.  Let's take Whitney Lewis.  To get Whitney Lewis when we were fighting Bobby Bowden is big, we went into the home with me, Norm, Lane and Coach Carroll was absolutely fantastic that day.  We laid it on the line and when we go into the home and lay the cards on the table with him selling the school and himself there's no better person to do it than him. I think that was a big, big coup for us was getting Whitney.  It's not just on the home visits though, it's on the official visits as well when the players come down with their parents.  When Reggie Bush came with his parents, Steve Smith with his parents, Coach Carroll was just great.  The players love being around him, he's a players coach, he can do different things with them and the parents see that."


Let's talk about an official weekend and how that is set up.


"Well, you've got a great place in Los Angeles that's easy to sell so we're gonna have a good time and we also want those guys to get a feel for what we're doing.  Our staff is enthusiastic, we've got some great coaches here, and when a player can feel that you're gonna help him get to the next level or help him be an All Pac-10 player then he's gonna like you.  When you're showing him things that he doesn't know and he can learn I think that captures a lot of guys on a recruiting weekend.  It's nice just to bring them around so they can feel the Trojan family and what we're all about, we have a good time."


How do you and your family enjoy living in Southern California.


"We love it, we love it.  We live in Aliso Viejo, we've got a pool in the back of the house, we have three boys and they're all into sports.  My wife does a great job with raising them, she's a fantastic woman.  She's from Arkansas and I'm from Louisiana and I remember the one year we were in Syracuse it was May 1st and it was snowing as I was leaving to go recruiting.  I was shoveling snow out of the driveway and I looked up at her and said "baby, we're gone".  Obviously there's always gonna be other jobs that come along but if it's up to she and I we'd stay here for a long time."


You recently received a new job title with the Trojans.


"It was really good.  It really meant a lot to me.  I'm very appreciative that Pete Carroll made me the assistant head coach, I'm very appreciative of Mike Garrett and what those guys mean to me because I've basically decided to give my best shot at my college career at USC.  I've decided to do that and we're just gonna see how it pans out."

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