Though interim head coach Ed Orgeron has coached many games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the spotlight has never truly been on him. That’ll change Thursday night.
After practice on Tuesday during the last media session of the week, Daily Trojan staff writer Darian Nourian was there to see what “Coach O” is thinking ahead of his head coaching debut at USC.
DT: Do you have any kind of speech planned for before Thursday night’s game?
Coach O: We’ve been preparing for this all week but come Thursday night when we get in the Coliseum, they’re going to be ready to go, but I’m sure I will have a couple of words to tell ’em.
DT: You’re making your debut as interim head coach, are you nervous at all or have any exciting jitters?
Coach O: I guess come Thursday I will be a little fired up. I don’t know about nervous though; I will be fired up.
DT: Have you planned how the game is going to go on the sidelines?
Coach O: I think we are going to have to work it out as we go, but I really think it is going to help having Clay Helton on the sideline managing the offense, and me right there helping him talking about the offense. … I’m really going to be there to encourage, show enthusiasm and keep things going on.
DT: What have you learned about game management and time management since the last time you had to do that as a head coach?
Coach O: Make good, sound decisions, not emotional decisions. The last time that I was a head coach [at Ole Miss], I made a couple emotional decisions and it cost me. One time, I went for it on 4th and two when I shouldn’t have, and if I wasn’t as emotional, I would’ve made a better decision and I’ve learned from that.
DT: One of the things that Lane [Kiffin] had talked about for the past couple of years was whether he was focusing too much on the offense instead of being a head coach. Is that something you are going to be fighting or thinking about?
Coach O: Not really … I’m going to do what I do best … coach toughness, style and energy throughout the whole game with the whole team. … I will be [with] the whole team as much as I can and we are going to give it everything we got. … I plan on coaching the whole team and I’m going to be on the sideline. … Ross Cummins will go with [the defensive line] and him and Clancy [Pendergast] will make the proper adjustments.
DT: Do you remember where to stand as a head coach?
Coach O: Oh yeah, right in the middle of everybody. I will be fine. … I feel at home at the Coliseum. I’ve been there since 1998, and I know that it’s going to be a little bit different, but ever since I came to Los Angeles, I’ve felt at home. … I promise you this … I’m going to feel good being a head coach in cardinal and gold.
Follow Darian on Twitter @dariannourian24