The coaching search continues for USC, and now the Trojans are reportedly targeting one of the biggest names on the market.
As the previous regime headed by the more introverted Lane Kiffin proved, it takes a certain kind of character to find success coaching at USC and in Los Angeles. Previous head coach Pete Carroll brought a unique energy and charisma to the position and turned it into a dynasty.
As great as Carroll was for the Trojans, Gruden could be even better.
“I haven’t lost a game in 3½ years,” Gruden said. “But no, I would like to give coaching one more try.”
Since his departure from Tampa Bay after the 2008 season, Gruden has been giving fans a window into his personality as an analyst on ESPN's Monday Night Football and as the host of Gruden's QB Camp, in which he dissects film and practices with NFL draft prospects, primarily quarterbacks.
In little time, Gruden became one of football's most loved analysts and showed why he would still make a phenomenal coach, particularly at the collegiate level.
After struggling under Kiffin, USC needs an outgoing and infectious personality to lead the program—and Gruden is exactly that. He is as passionate about the game as any coach or analyst in the country, and every year his name takes a spin around the coaching carousel.
USC appears to be taking its time and weighing its options in this coaching search. Recently, Steve Mims of The Register-Guard named several possible candidates for the Trojans, including Fresno State's Tim DeRuyter, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, Chris Petersen of Boise State and Washington's Steve Sarkisian.
The coaching search has already featured plenty of drama, including overtures from fake USC representatives to several potential candidates, including former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, as USC released on its official website.
If the Trojans are indeed aiming for Gruden, the drama might finally end. Of course, then an entirely new drama would begin with Gruden taking over for the Trojans.
It would spark an intriguing coaching rivalry between Gruden and UCLA's Jim Mora, who also has experience as an NFL coach.
Mora was a quick hit for the Bruins. The former Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons coach led the Bruins to a 9-5 record, Pac-12 South Division title and a Holiday Bowl berth in his first season in Westwood.
Gruden could have a similar impact across town. In just one year in Tampa Bay, he led the previously 9-7 Buccaneers to a 12-4 regular season and a 2002 Super Bowl victory.
After several seasons under par for the Trojans, the quicker the fix, the better. Additionally, USC will be moving on past recent NCAA sanctions under its new coach, so fast success will help Trojans fans move on.
Gruden is just the type of coach who could quickly turn around a team on the field while also attracting top recruits.
Not only will Gruden be a good fit for USC, but he stands as the best possible choice in the team's coaching search.