In case you missed it over the weekend, the University of Southern California parted ways with head coach Lane Kiffin. The details of his dismissal are a little bizarre, and somewhat amusing, but the important thing for us is their coming head coach search.
Greg Roman has not been officially connected to the USC job, but given his past interviews, it made sense to open discussion on this topic over the weekend. He has already been mentioned by several NFL and college media folks as a qualified candidate for the job. I am not seeing any specifics on USC's timeline for hiring, but at some point I have to think Roman will be more formally connected to the process.
USC has promoted defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron (former Ole Miss coach) into the role of interim head coach. A strong finish could be enough to secure the job for Orgeron. However, his odds are pretty long, at least according to oddsmakers. The folks at Bovada put together their odds for the job. Orgeron was the long shot at 20-to-1, while 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman was installed at 6-to-1:
Broncos DC Jack Del Rio - 3/1
Boise State HC Chris Petersen - 5/1
Vanderbilt HC James Franklin - 5/1
49ers OC Greg Roman - 6/1
USC DC Clancy Pendergast - 7/1
Alabama DC Kirby Smart - 8/1
Former Buccaneers HC Jon Gruden - 8/1
Washington HC Steve Sarkisian - 8/1
Clemson OC Chad Morris - 9/1
Texas A&M HC Kevin Sumlin - 12/1
Former Chiefs HC Herm Edwards - 15/1
USC interim HC Ed Orgeron - 20/1
In other college news, Connecticut has fired head coach Paul Pasqualoni, much to the delight of The UConn Blog. UConn is significantly lower on the head coaching totem pole, and there is nothing connecting Roman to the opening. Of course, it is back east, much closer to Roman's New Jersey roots. I don't think that will be a huge deciding factor for him to get a job, but I do think it is at least worth noting.
For those wondering, I am not writing all this because I want Roman out the door. I am covering this from the angle that it is newsworthy given that he seems to want to eventually get a head coaching job.
I think Roman can be an offensive genius, who with his staff can create some masterful game plans. The best example might be how the 49ers suckered the Packers into pretty much completely ignoring the read option heading into last year's playoff game. We'll never know for certain how much of that was Roman, how much was Harbaugh, how much was other coaches, but Roman has been a part of some great game-planning.
That being said, it seems like there are times Roman and company outsmart themselves. Maybe it is trying to get too cute, or being too stubborn in how they want to win, but the offensive game-planning has been all over the place at times this season. Things settled down to some extent against the Rams, but even then, there were stretches where the team went away from what to that point was a dominating run performance.
I realize there are ebbs and flows to games, and it helps to create some measure of balance to ensure greater overall effectiveness. But that does not make it any less frustrating when the team goes away from the tried and true dominant run game that has made this offense so effective the last 2+ seasons.
We'll continue to keep an eye out on these head coach openings. In the meantime, we have reactivated the coach/GM rumors story stream from this past offseason. We'll continue to use that to track the progress of 49ers coaches and front office personnel as potential job openings arise in the coming weeks, months and into next offseason.