Lane Kiffin to Fresno State became a popular rumor on Sunday after the Bulldogs fired head coach Tim DeRuyter. After all, it’s the Alabama offensive coordinator’s alma mater and it’s on the West Coast.
Later in the day, Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier’s name surfaced as another potential fit for the job. The second-year Gators assistant also has a connection to Fresno State, spending 2008 as the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator.
So when FOX Sports writer Bruce Feldman released his top 7 coaching candidates for the Fresno State opening, it was no surprise to see Kiffin and Nussmeier among those mentioned.
But the third SEC coach on the list may have been the most surprising of all. Feldman cited LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron as a potential fit for the California-based program. In his own words:
Ed Orgeron’s odds just improved to land the LSU head coaching job full time after his Tigers thumped Ole Miss 38-21. Orgeron still probably needs to win at least three of the Tigers’ four games left to have a good shot at getting the job permanently, and that’s still an uphill climb with Alabama, Texas A&M, Florida and Arkansas remaining. Could he still get LSU if he ends up 5-2 in the regular season? Maybe.
Orgeron, though, is boosting his coaching stock regardless by the way he has handled that situation. He’s also arguably the top recruiter in the country and knows West Coast recruiting as well as anyone from his decade-plus at USC. And keep in mind, recruiting was a big reason that led to DeRuyter’s demise at Fresno. Aside from the LSU situation, I think Fresno probably would be one of the better potential fits for Orgeron available this winter.
Though he had a successful stint as the interim coach at USC in 2013 and is 3-0 since taking over for Les Miles in a similar role at LSU, Orgeron has yet to land a permanent head-coaching gig since flaming out at Ole Miss in 2007. Orgeron went 10-25 during a three-year stint in Oxford.
Mixed in Feldman’s list alongside the SEC coaches are former Cal coach Jeff Tedford, USC assistant John Baxter, Michigan assistant Tim Drevno and Wisconsin defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.