Orgeron, staff continues to recruit despite uncertainty

LOS ANGELES — Ed Orgeron wasn’t messing around on Saturday night when he sat at the podium and said he would continue to work following USC’s 35-14 loss to UCLA at the Coliseum.

The loss has been speculated to be the dagger in Orgeron’s chances to become USC’s permanent head coach. Still, Orgeron stands behind his “body of work” — winning six of the eight games he spent as the team’s interim head coach.

It’s a message he’s not only preaching to the media but also in the world of recruiting. On Sunday, Orgeron said USC coaches were on the road hitting the recruiting trail.

Orgeron says he spoke to plenty of recruits by phone on Sunday and the response was “positive.”

As they prepare to enter the stretch run leading to Signing Day 2014, the Trojans are doing so without a permanent head coach. That hasn’t stopped Orgeron or his staff from continuing to sell the program.

Athletic director Pat Haden encourages him to do so even though the two have yet to speak about Orgeron’s future as it relates to him potentially remaining as USC’s head coach.

“(Haden says) go ahead and recruit and do what you need to do,” Orgeron said.

Although it may not be the most ideal situation, it’s not foreign to Orgeron, who was on USC’s staff during the period between Paul Hackett’s firing and Pete Carroll’s hiring. The result was a recruiting class that would eventually lead USC to the top of the college football mountain.

Shaun Cody, Kenechi Udeze, Mike Patterson and Matt Leinart were all members of that class Orgeron refers to as “one of the best recruiting classes we ever had.”

“We know what to do,” Orgeron said. “At least we have an interim head coach now. Back then we didn’t have any (head) coach.”

Despite the uncertainty of who the head coach is going to be, Orgeron says the competitive nature kicks in on the recruiting trail and he makes it a point not to use the head coaching situation or anything else as an excuse.

There will be a major focus on recruiting this week.

As for the players already on the roster, the emphasis will be on academics. They will not hit the practice field at all this week as they wait for their bowl announcement next Sunday.

Orgeron says he will meet with the draft eligible underclassmen and their families this week as well.