The USC Trojans have reportedly tabbed James Franklin and Chris Petersen as their top two candidates to become their next head coach. The coaching search could be completed by the middle of the week, according to ESPN's Joe Schad.
Franklin, 41, has done quite the job revitalizing Vanderbilt in just three seasons. He's led the Commodores to an 8-4 record in 2013 after they won nine games in 2012. Following years of Vanderbilt struggling to bring in talent on the recruiting trail, Franklin and his staff have brought in top-40 classes nationally since taking over the program. He has no real coaching ties to the west coast, other than spending a year as the tight ends coach at Washington State in 1998.
Petersen, 49, has spent the last 12 years at Boise State. He's posted a 92-12 record since taking over as head coach in 2006, after serving five years as the program's offensive coordinator. A California native, Petersen has spent nearly his entire life either playing or coaching football on the west coast. While he may not be regarded as an elite recruiter, Petersen and his staff seem to always do a great job developing talent that some of the bigger schools might've overlooked.
In addition to Franklin and Petersen, current Washington coach Steve Sarkisian is another strong candidate for the job, according to Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports. Sarkisian, 39, made his way up the coaching ranks while working as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator at USC from 2001-2003 and 2005-2008.
While the players and some fans would like to see interim coach Ed Orgeron get the job permanently given the way he turned things around this season, it does not seem like he is a viable candidate for athletic director Pat Haden. That being said, the Trojans would very much like to keep Coach O around.
USC is prepared to make Orgeron the highest paid assistant and an associate head coach. He knew he lost the head job when he lost to UCLA.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) December 2, 2013
Question is does Orgeron get a head coaching offer that intrigues him after his 6-2 interim run. If not, he stays.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) December 2, 2013