Posted November 17, 2013

Would Jack Del Rio leave the Broncos to take USC’s coaching job?

AFC West, Denver Broncos
(Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Jack Del Rio (top) is serving as the Broncos’ interim head coach with John Fox sidelined. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Jack Del Rio interviewed for USC’s vacant head coaching position two weeks ago, FOX’s Jay Glazer reported Sunday. According to Glazer, USC athletic director Pat Hayden flew to Denver to interview Del Rio one day before Del Rio took over as the Broncos’ interim head coach.

Del Rio still holds that position, with Denver head coach John Fox requiring aortic valve replacement surgery. Fox has said that he is hopeful he will be able to return before the end of the season.

The notion of a Del Rio move to USC surfaced almost immediately after the Trojans fired Lane Kiffin in late September. In fact, University of Houston tennis coach Patrick Sullivan even tweeted that he saw Del Rio at the Los Angeles airport just days after Kiffin’s removal. Fox shot that down, stating that he was with Del Rio in Denver at the time.

Del Rio has never coached at the college level, but he did play for USC before starting his NFL career. He later spent nine seasons as the Jaguars’ head coach, compiling a 68-71 record with a pair of playoff appearances.

Whether or not the USC job will even still be available at the end of this NFL season is up in the air. Current USC interim coach Ed Orgeron has gone 5-1 since taking over for Kiffin, including a thrilling upset victory over No. 4 Stanford on Saturday.

It’s nearly impossible to see Del Rio leaving before the Broncos’ year concludes, especially given Fox’s health status. So for USC to hire its former player, Haden would need to wait until at least mid-January and possibly as long as early February, if the Broncos advance to the Super Bowl. That’s an extra month the Trojans would be without a head coach. And National Signing Day falls on Feb. 5, 2014, just three days after the Super Bowl — meaning that Del Rio would not have any time to retain or add recruits, if he stayed with the Broncos through that game.

USC could offer him the job and allow him to finish out the season in Denver, but that scenario may create unwanted distractions for the Broncos. Already, Fox’s absence has placed a hurdle in front of the team, though it won its first game with Del Rio standing in, 28-20 over San Diego.

Del Rio has served as the Broncos’ defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, ever since losing his gig in Jacksonville. Prior to that, he spent time in the Saints, Ravens and Panthers’ organizations.

11 comments
Slatlantican
Slatlantican

It wouldn't matter if Orgeron was 1-5; Del Rio is not the man. He lacks the work ethic of a head coach, amongst many other weaknesses.

He also has a sorry record. He holds an interesting NFL record: the longest tenured coach without a single division championship, which, amazingly enough, he did at during a period in NFL history when it was easier to win a division than any other.

mikalrod
mikalrod

Haden, would be tarred and feathered if he by-passes Coach O.

Marchoir
Marchoir

This writer is a total idiot. After yesterday, NOBODY not named Saban, is going to supplant Ed Orgeron as head coach at USC. Ed may eventually end up going the same route as Kiffin. Who knows? But we do know this. Ed is going to get his chance. Any attempt to bring in someone else at this point will result in a mass revolt. If Haden even thinks about hiring anyone else, it's him that needs to be fired.

Helzyeah1
Helzyeah1

A losing record as the Jaguars' HC doesn't impress. I think the Trojans would do well to stick with Orgeron. He's definitely earning his keep right now.

rapactor
rapactor

Forget Del Rio, KEEP COACH O!

gary41
gary41

Great LB coach, good DC sorely needed & wanted in Denver.  Great motivator.  He has job security + plenty of dough with no college recruiting or other secondary hassles.  The only thing missing is that challenge.....go for it.   

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

@Slatlantican I'm not the most knowledgeable about Del Rio's career, but wasn't he in the same division as Peyton Manning and the Colts all those years? I would look at his record against the Colts (7-10) before making some foolish blanket statement. And the point differential in those games is pretty damn competitive. 

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

@Marchoir Remember what happened to West Virginia after Rich Rod left? Bill Stewart had the emotional support of the institution and won a Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma. In the emotional momentum, the AD made Stewart the HC. 3 years later he was gone.

This is a parallel situation. USC needs to make the decision based upon long term credentials, not short term emotional momentum. If Orgeron was the man, he'd already be the man-somewhere else. 

doghockey
doghockey

@Marchoir Time to come in from the ledge and to quit screaming.  The writer did not say that Jack Del Rio was getting the job.   He simply wrote about him interviewing with Pat Haden a few weeks back.   Take a deep breath and relax.