Lane Kiffin found a soft landing spot following his dismissal as USC's head coach in September 2013, but three prominent members of his coaching staff were not so lucky during the last coaching cycle. Interim head coach/defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron, associate head coach/special teams coordinator/tight ends coach John Baxter and defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast led the Trojans to a 6-2 mark down the stretch and were rewarded by spending the 2014 season on the sidelines. No million-dollar coordinator salaries awaited them, talented as they are.
That, however, could change - and soon.
Baxter, a 30-plus year coaching veteran and owner of a quarter century's worth of experience running special teams on on the major college level, is currently a strong candidate to coach special teams under both Jim Harbaugh at Michigan and Charlie Strong at Texas. Sources tell FootballScoop that a decision is likely in the coming days.
Pendergast remains in the running for Washington State's defensive coordinator position (with a small number of others). With a decade of experience calling plays in the NFL and the Pac-12, Pendergast would be a good hire for Mike Leach in his quest to pair the nation's seventh-rated offense with something other than the nation's 99th-best defense. We hear a decision is expected in a few days.
And then there's the big kahuna of the group: Coach O. With LSU unable to retain John Chavis, and talks over with a number of other high profile candidates, and now with names like Oregon's Don Pellum currently floating around the search, it's beginning to appear that the Tigers' next defensive coordinator could already be in the building in the form of defensive line coach Brick Haley. If Haley indeed becomes the choice, he could move to linebackers and open a natural spot on the staff for Orgeron to slide in as defensive line coach. Perhaps Les Miles could sweeten the deal by throwing in an assistant head coach and/or defensive recruiting coordinator titles.
Orgeron wants to be a head coach again, but there are currently no vacancies in the FBS. The reality of the situation says an athletics director at a major program would be unlikely to hire a head coach two years removed from coaching. With one son at LSU already and twin sons heading into their senior years of high school in Louisiana, an LSU offer figures to be very attractive to Orgeron. If LSU chooses to eschew external coordinator candidates, scooping up one of college football's megawatt assistants and recruiters would certainly be a nice boost for the program.
None of these three are slam dunks, but each is a realistic possibility and it feels as if each scenario will play out in the coming days.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest updates.