USC coach Sarkisian reaches out to Ed Orgeron

When asked about USC former interim coach Ed Orgeron (left), Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian (right) provided very little insight.

LOS ANGELES — To return or not return? That is the question as it relates to former USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron.

A shift in USC’s coaching staff earlier this week has provided another opportunity for the assistant who’s had two tenures on the coaching staff at USC.

It is unclear if Orgeron is a candidate for the position following Bo Davis’ change of heart and decision to join Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama. When asked about Orgeron, head coach Steve Sarkisian provided very little insight.

"I don’t want to talk specifically about candidates for the job because then I’ll feel bad if I didn’t talk about one guy we might hire," Sarkisian said inside the McKay Center on Tuesday. "We have a lot of great candidates.

"We’re just trying to hire the right guy for the job, for our coaching staff, for our players, for USC. I think we’ll do that."

As he said he would do following USC’s bowl win over Fresno State, Sarkisian reached out to Orgeron and the two had multiple conversations.

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"We discussed things from the state of the program," Sarkisian recalled. "I tried to get Ed’s lay of the land on where he thought the program was because nobody’s been closer to that program over the last few years than Ed.

"We did talk about the possibility of him rejoining this coaching staff. I don’t want to get into particulars of that but we did have a couple of nice conversations and I respect Ed. He’s a great football coach. He did tremendous things for USC."

The absence of a defensive line coach shouldn’t have a great impact on recruiting with the end of the dead period coming up and National Signing Day less than a month away. The Trojans are "not heavy into a lot of D-linemen" with one defensive end/outside linebacker, Don Hill, already enrolled as a mid-year and another, defensive end Claude Pelon, expected to be on campus within a week. Although they’re short a body, as a staff they feel they can be effective on the recruiting trail.

As for who will fill the position, there is no shortage of candidates.

"The cell phones are blowing up," said defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. "We’re talking about guys with a lot of experience at different places in (the) NFL and college. It’s the D-Line coach at USC. We’re going to get somebody good."

The new Trojans defensive coordinator says he will have input into who the defensive line coach will be if approached by Sarkisian. However, the final decision will be made by the USC head coach.

Could that be Orgeron?

"This isn’t the end of Ed Orgeron’s career, that’s for sure," Sarkisian said. "Whether it’s here or somewhere else he’s going to continue to coach and do a great job."