Yes, I know we have a huge game this weekend. And if we don't take care of business against Arizona State, it will be a massive disappointment. We will let Coach Mora and his staff worry about keeping the team focused on Saturday. In the meantime, it is worth noting the civil war that may be breaking across town.
gbruin already noted how Southern Cal and Pat Haden are dealing with the "Steve Lavin problem of the century."
Yes, the Trojies pulled out an euphoric win against a disinterested Stanford team, led by the Trees's version of Terry Donahue. Their ESPN-fueled media hype-machine is clicking on all cylinders. I am sure the bandwagoners are back out in force in LA in their ketchup and mustard outfits. But, something is simmering underneath all that good Trojie vibes.
"I want to be the head coach at USC," Orgeron said Monday during an appearance on ESPNU's "CFB Daily." "I love being a head coach. I think that it's something I'm able to do, and do well. And I want to be the head coach at USC when I get the chance. I think I can perform on a very high basis to do what the Trojan family wants me to do."
While on the other hand, some long-term Trojan diehards, who are astute observers of the game are flashing the warning signs against an emotional hire (emphasis added):
Just because Orgeron is beloved by his players does not mean those players know what's best for the long-term at USC. Being a head coach is about more than firing up the team, singing the fight song and cavorting with the fans. That Orgeron has played up this factor during his interim tenure is a testament to his wiliness and understanding of the environment at USC. He's done a fantastic job of building all kinds of good will - after all, he knows his best shot at getting the job is to gain as many allies as possible. But at the end of the day, the Trojans don't need to pay $6 million for a cheerleader.
To reiterate, Orgeron has done a fine job as USC's interim coach. But he hasn't ‘earned' the job anymore than Gerald Ford ‘earned' the Presidency after taking over for Richard Nixon. With millions of dollars at stake over the next five to 10 seasons, and the four-team playoff about to debut, the Trojans need to keep their eyes on the prize. If the superior coaching alternatives out there end up turning USC down, perhaps Orgeron should be considered. But, until then, his tenure as Trojans head coach should have an expiration date.
So what is Haden going to do?
This is not a good situation for him. If the Trojjans pick anyone other than the Ogre, their current players are going to be really bitter. Many of them will transfer. It will probably also quash some of the renewed enthusiasm in their program on the recruiting trail.
Just think back to the situation when Dewayne Walker was retained in Westwood as Rick Neuheisel's defensive coordinator in what appeared to be awkward, forced arrange-marriage of coaches at Spaulding. Despite all the happy talk, it never worked.
But, if Haden makes the Chianti move to satisfy the Ogre fans, who are looking to reward their hero for instant-gratification, it could have long term adverse impact on that program.
So this is something to keep an eye on for all of us, while we hope our Bruins take care of business (somewhere in the range of scenarios no. 7-10) rest of this season.