Ed Orgeron to Alabama Is a Long Shot, but Would Be Enormous Hire for Nick Saban

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterJanuary 13, 2014

USA Today/Kirby Lee

The gang could be getting back together.

If anyone would have written five months ago that Lane Kiffin would join Nick Saban's staff at Alabama for the 2014 season, that person would have been laughed out of the building. Had they said that Ed Orgeron would be joining Kiffin at Alabama as a defensive line coach, they wouldn't have ever been allowed in the building again.

Kiffin joined forces with Saban last week, and it appears that Orgeron—former defensive line coach and interim head coach at USC after Kiffin was fired midyear—could be coming with him to Tuscaloosa.

According to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports, the two are courting each other, and a marriage could be inevitable.

Hearing Ed Orgeron may be the new DL coach at #Alabama. Nothing definitive yet, but source says it'll happen "unless they hit a snag".

— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) January 13, 2014

Orgeron would replace Chris Rumph, who left for the same job at Texas over the weekend, according to AL.com.

CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman disputed the report Monday morning.

Saw reports saying that Ed Orgeron is expected to join #Bama staff.. I am pretty sure that's NOT gonna happen. Never was.

— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) January 13, 2014

BamaOnline.com reported Monday morning that Georgia defensive line coach Chris Wilson is also a candidate for the defensive line coach position in Tuscaloosa.

Breaking: BOL has confirmed that #UGA DL coach Chris Wilson is interviewing w/ Nick Saban today. #Alabama #UGA http://t.co/pjPxgZ9G18

— Shannon B. Terry (@sbterry247) January 13, 2014

The addition of Orgeron is a long shot and the situation is fluid, but it would be enormous for Saban and the Crimson Tide.

Former USC DL coach Ed Orgeron
Former USC DL coach Ed OrgeronThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Obviously, his recruiting prowess is the first thing that jumps to mind, and for good reason. Orgeron was rated as the fifth-best recruiter in the country last season in the 247Sports.com recruiter rankings and fourth in 2011, and the Louisiana native has plenty of Southeastern ties thanks to his time as Ole Miss' head coach and as an assistant at Tennessee and Miami.

But the recruiting angle is a bit overplayed. Alabama recruits itself, and while having an All-Star staff of ace recruiters—including Orgeron—is nice, it's not exactly what's going to separate it from the rest of the SEC West. Still, though, adding another one of the nation's top recruiters won't hurt.

Orgeron would give Alabama five assistant coaches on staff who have been head coaches at the FBS level, including director of player personnel Kevin Steele. That experience is huge.

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 16:  USC Trojans interim head coach Ed Orgeron celebrates after a two-point conversion against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half at Los Angeles Coliseum on November 16, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gros
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Trojans finished with the best defense in the Pac-12 in 2013 (334.9 yards per game), and they ranked in the top five in the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for loss in three of Orgeron's four seasons in Los Angeles.  

He's a proven position coach with ties to the region who knows how to recruit and could be a head coach somewhere sooner rather than later.

That's exactly why Orgeron to Alabama is a long shot.

He'd be selling himself short as the defensive line coach at Alabama. He led USC to a 6-2 record after taking over from Kiffin midseason, and while it doesn't look like he's going to get a head coaching job this season, he should at least be in line for some solid coordinator roles.

If he ends up in Tuscaloosa, it'd be a home run hire for Saban. It seems unlikely, but then again, how many people thought Kiffin would end up on that staff?


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