USC’s Orgeron named Coach of the Year semifinalist

LOS ANGELES — One Team. One heartbeat. USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron has made that his stance and he’s sticking to it.

Following games, the team doesn’t celebrate individuals. Stats aren’t talked about much. Neither will talk about the job Orgeron’s done in turning around USC’s season.

While Orgeron focuses on the team, the Maxwell Football Club recognized him on Wednesday by naming him a semifinalist for the Maxwell Football Club Collegiate Coach of the Year Award.

It’s a list that includes Alabama’s Nick Saban, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Baylor’s Art Briles, and others.

The aforementioned coaches have led their teams to 39 wins and zero losses this season. And then there’s Orgeron, with a record of 5-1 and who, at this point, is the subject of plenty of attention, leading USC’s current run and its most recent win over then-No. 4. Stanford.

“My first thought went to the players and the coaches and we got guys that are doing a tremendous job here and this is a total team effort,” Orgeron said of being a semifinalist. “It’s not about individual.”

“It’s just a reflection of what the team’s doing.”

The interim head coach is all for USC receiving recognition but doesn’t think any of the focus should be on him.

“Anything we can get for the Trojans I’m happy for,” Orgeron said.  

Since the Trojans win last week over Stanford, the conversation has grown in regards to the interim tag being removed from Orgeron’s title. Orgeron has received plenty of support with respect to that.

In an appearance on “Trojans Live” on Tuesday, athletic director Pat Haden said he received 136 “pro-Coach O” emails earlier in the day expressing their support for Orgeron to remain the program’s head coach.  

“What Ed has done has been absolutely remarkable and he is clearly in our eyesight,” Haden said.   

USC players have been vocal as well in their support for Orgeron. Many claiming they’d “run through a wall” for him.

To which Orgeron responds, “I’d run through a wall for them.”

Under Orgeron, there’s been a new attitude, new results, and a new menu. One of the things he’s celebrated for the most inside the locker room is the weekly meals the team has been surprised with. They’ve had Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, Harold and Belle’s, and In-N-Out to name a few.

Dinner on Wednesday night included 16-ounce rib eye steaks for the USC football team, an excited Orgeron announced following practice.

Players are excited for their meals, excited about their play, and, excited about Orgeron.