Orgeron brings spark to first USC practice since Kiffin firing

LOS ANGELES — Ed Orgeron is in love with his expanded role. As the defensive line coach, there were just certain things he wasn’t allowed to do.

When he took to Howard Jones Field on Wednesday afternoon he could do just about whatever he wanted.

If athletic director Pat Haden was “blown away” by the the energy and enthusiasm Orgeron could bring day in and day out for 27 years with a “stupid bag drill” he hadn’t seen anything yet.

On Wednesday, it was Orgeron unmasked. Sure, he continued his work with the defensive line but he also challenged those that were opposite them.

He exclaimed for the offense to run the ball straight at the defense. They did.

Orgeron got inside the huddle and implored them to be better on third down.

They were, at least in this particular practice setting.

The coach was having the time of his life.

“I love being able to get in the offensive line’s butt and get them right,” the USC interim head coach said. “And scream at the quarterback.

“I missed it. I loved it and I want to give them my energy and toughness and attitude. I want for them to be able to develop that and to feel that. That’s one of my strengths.”

The result was one of the best practices the team has had in quite some time.

Orgeron beamed from the physicality that was displayed and the energy that was showcased.

More energy and more enthusiasm, Orgeron hopes, will lead to more of a difference on the football field than what was exhibited in the first five games of the season.

It’s different. He’s making subtle changes. Not wholesale.

“I think if we would’ve went the same direction and we kept on doing the same thing (and) nothing changes,” Orgeron said. “Nothing changes.”

He’s re-opened the doors to the media. He read off an injury report at the conclusion of practice. Team meetings have become more fun. There have also been desserts made available.

“You feed a lineman a cookie, he’s happy, huh?” Orgeron said.

“You feed a line coach a cookie, he’s happy,” Orgeron said.

He sure is.