While Denver Broncos defensive coordinator and current interim head coach Jack Del Rio may have his own set of plans for the future, there's no doubt that the California native would be the man best suited to tackle the task of returning the USC Trojans back to dominance.
Fox Sports' NFL insider Jay Glazer reports that USC athletic director Pat Haden has already met with Del Rio to interview him for the job. And Bleacher Report NFL columnist Mike Freeman reports that sources around the league have named Del Rio as one of the Trojans' top candidates:
NFL team officials are insisting Jack Del Rio among top, if not the top, candidate to replace Lane Kiffin at USC.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) September 29, 2013
Although interim coach Ed Orgeron has gone 5-1 since taking over, it's definitely not hard to see why Haden would have so much interest in the 50-year-old Del Rio.
After all, Del Rio will be forever tied to USC, where he was blossomed into an All-America linebacker in the early 1980s. Although Del Rio has earned all of his experience and has risen through the coaching ranks in the NFL and not college, there's no reason to believe he can't be successful at a lower level.
To prove it, just look at what Jim Mora has done across town at UCLA. Mora earned his stripes in the NFL, coaching professionals for three decades before signing on with the Bruins. Since taking over the program in 2012, Mora has changed the culture in Pasadena and has turned UCLA into a Pac-12 powerhouse.
The Bruins went 9-5 in Mora's first season and are currently 8-2 overall and No. 14 in the BCS rankings in 2013.
Del Rio's vast NFL experience should also give him a leg up in recruiting. Having stalked the sidelines for eight-and-a-half seasons as an NFL head coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Del Rio has been evaluating talent for a long time and would be aided in recruiting by the appeal of Los Angeles and the USC brand.
Who is the ideal candidate for USC's head coaching job?
The former linebacker would also be able to establish a firm identity in L.A. As one of the top defensive minds in football, Del Rio would be a great fit in a conference where offense reigns supreme.
Clearly, there's more for Haden and USC to gain from this potential hire than Del Rio, assuming he's content to coach defense and compete for Super Bowl rings at the next level.
But as a former Trojans star and one of the most experienced coaches not in a high-profile position, Del Rio makes perfect sense for USC. And for the long-time NFL coach, the new gig would provide an opportunity to return to his California roots while at the same time working to turn his alma mater into a national championship contender.
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