Interim head coach Ed Orgeron is 5-1 as interim head coach at Southern Cal, and wants to be considered for the position permanently. According to athletic director Pat Haden, Orgeron is already on the list of candidates to be USC's head coach in 2014.
"What Ed has done has been absolutely remarkable," Haden said Tuesday night on KFWB-AM. "He is clearly in our eyesight. We understand. It's not just the fans. We're sophisticated enough and know enough about this to understand the attributes that he has and he's a known quantity."
Fans are becoming resounding supporters of Orgeron, not other known or rumored candidates such as former Trojans linebacker Jack Del Rio, who is the interim coach of the Denver Broncos at present.
"I had 136 pro-Coach O emails today," Haden said. "Those were just emails. That doesn't count the tweets, letters and phone calls."
Since Lane Kiffin was fired in September, Orgeron steered the team past Stanford and into the Pac-12 title conversation. With only Colorado and UCLA remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Trojans are in good position to earn a quality bowl bid -- possibly even a great one.
Orgeron has developed a chemistry with the Trojans that makes him a national coach of the year candidate.
"We want Coach O next year," freshman safety Su'a Cravens said. "Forget the hiring and all that. All we need is Coach O."
USC quarterback Cody Kessler said the Trojans "would run through a brick wall" for Orgeron.
"I think Coach O is very unique," Kessler said. "There's no one else in the country that is like him that I've seen. We absolutely love him. He has that look in his eyes that you can tell when he talks to you that he really does care.
"I gave him a hug after the (Stanford) game and I don't know if he'd want me saying this, but I saw his eyes water up. It's awesome when you play with someone who has the same passion."
The Trojans welcome Orgeron's open personality especially after playing for a tight-lipped straight-and-narrow coach like Kiffin.
"I've been here four years and we've never had a guest speaker," USC safety Bailey told reporters. "We've had like five now. (Orgeron) just enhanced the experience. This is the way I thought it would be when I came to USC.
"Coach O is making up for the last three years in eight games."