For the first time in 21 years, Ed Orgeron will spend a fall away from the sidelines. Back then, he was in between jobs as Miami's defensive line coach and Nicholls State's linebackers coach. This time around, he's taking his time and weighing his options after a 6-2 run as USC's interim head coach.
Though he is not coaching at the moment, Orgeron is not done coaching. Not in the least bit. "I have the itch. I miss it," Orgeron told "Culotta and the Prince" on WNXX-FM in Baton Rouge. "I miss the grass. I miss being with the players. I definitely want to coach next season. I don't know where I'll be coaching, but come December I'm going to be with somebody."
Following his successful run as USC's interim head coach, Orgeron was in the running for the full-time job that ultimately ended up going to Steve Sarkisian, Orgeron's colleague under Pete Carroll from 2001-03. The Trojans ripped off five consecutive wins soon after Orgeron was handed the reigns, culminating in a 20-17 upset of then-No. 5 Stanford and Orgeron claiming something of a people's champion status within the coaching search. Orgeron could have returned to USC under Sarkisian, but chose to try his luck at finding a head coaching job elsewhere.
His search didn't work out. After sitting the upcoming season out, Orgeron will seek his second full-time head job (he was 10-25 in three seasons as the head coach at Ole Miss) or an assistant job in which he feels comfortable.
In the meantime, he waits. Even when Orgeron isn't working, though, he's still working.
"I'm always looking at the top recruits," he said. "I always have a plan for where I may be next year. I'm keeping up with the recruits, the commitments, the guys that are great players. If I see a player at 7-on-7 I'm obviously going to evaluate him. I'm able to go to high schools. I'm really spending a lot of time with high school coaches, talking to them about football and helping them out if I could and I really enjoy that part."
Until the next job comes around, Orgeron is playing catch-up back at home. His family remained at their home in Louisiana while Orgeron lived in a Los Angeles hotel for his stint at USC. He's doing now what he couldn't have then. "I look forward to watching (son) Parker play, watching the Mandervillle Skippers play, I think they have an outstanding program," he said. "My other son Cody is a tennis player, I got a chance to watch him play last year. My oldest son Tyler is working at LSU, so I go up and see him on the weekends. It's just been fantastic taking time off and being a parent."
A few other notes:
Orgeron, on recruiting high-end prospects: "It's a solid three-year process. Sometimes their ninth grade year but mostly when they're a sophomore. It's just a process. You've got to stay with it for three years, try to be first and offer them, get to know the champion, who is that person, who's the decision-maker, and recruit that person just as hard as you recruit the recruit."
Orgeron on New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton: "One of the greatest coaches I've ever been around. The greatest offensive mind I've ever been around, there's no question about it... They do a tremendous job of evaluation in the draft, especially lower draft picks. He's a winner. Those guys have a great attitude. They recruit great guys with character. I just was totally impressed with his program."