USC Football: Who Will the Next Trojans Defensive Coordinator Be?

Amy Lamare@GridironGoddessSenior Analyst IJanuary 3, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - 2009:  Clancy Pendergast of the Kansas City Chiefs poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by NFL Photos)
NFL Photos/Getty Images

Hopefully not Clancy Pendergast.

Monte Kiffin’s last game as USC’s defensive coordinator was the abysmal Sun Bowl on New Year’s Eve. Head Coach Lane Kiffin made it clear that he would not visit the subject until after the game.


It is now after the Sun Bowl and Trojan fans are eager to know who will bring the USC defense back to the powerhouse it was under former coach Pete Carroll.

Recently, we took a look at the three likely candidates to replace Monte Kiffin. Since then, USC promoted Ed Orgeron to assistant head coach and Randy Shannon accepted the job as linebackers coach at Arkansas under new coach Bret Bielema. The third choice we profiled, DeWayne Walker, is ruled out due to Lane Kiffin declaring whomever he hired would be someone with no ties to USC, as reported by the Los Angeles Daily News’ Scott Wolf.

We are basically back to square one.

Yesterday, Reign of Troy reported that former California defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast interviewed for the opening on USC’s coaching staff. Scott Wolf also reported this development via twitter.

Pendergast, 45, was the DC at Cal for the past three seasons, but his contract was not renewed when Jeff Tedford was fired. Prior to Cal, he was a defensive coordinator in the NFL, working alongside Todd Haley with the Arizona Cardinals (2004-2008) and the Kansas City Chiefs (2009).

It is imperative that Kiffin hire someone who can run a defense that can defend the various offenses within the Pac-12.

From pro-style to the spread and beyond, the new Trojan DC has to be prepared to defend them all while dealing with a reduced roster due to continuing NCAA sanctions.

Pendergast prefers to run a 3-4 defensive scheme which would be a big change both for current Trojans and incoming recruits, who have been (or were being prepared) to run Monte’s defensive scheme. Traditionally, USC has preferred to use its defensive tackles and defensive ends to rush.

Pendergast’s scheme would repurpose these players to defend rather than rush.

Look, it’s not like Cal has been a big defensive powerhouse in the past couple of years, nor were the Cardinals or Chiefs when Pendergast spent time at those destinations.

Why are Lane Kiffin and USC shooting so low? There are far better choices out there.

And before you all say Gene Chizik, let me stop you right there. There is no way USC will hire a man who has the NCAA swirling around him like a pack of hungry wolves hunting a rabbit. Lane Kiffin also doesn’t need any bad influences and it is my opinion that Chizik would be precisely that.

USC must tread carefully and wisely in choosing their next defensive coordinator.

One can only hope that Athletic Director Pat Haden is keeping a short leash on Lane Kiffin and his hiring decisions. USC does not need someone who will kowtow to Kiffin’s ego.

The Trojans need someone who will come in, rebuild the defense and get USC winning again.