1. Who are your ideal candidates to replace Lane Kiffin and why?
Nick Selbe: This is all speculation at this point, but someone I'd like to see Haden and Co. take a good look at is Mike Riley. Changing schools within the same conference is fairly unusual, but Riley has experience at USC and has done a very good job recruiting in the West Coast during his stay at Oregon State. He has a very easy-going demeanor and a good relationship with the media, which would be just one less distraction in the pressure-cooker that is Los Angeles.
Trevor Wong: I would like to see Chris Petersen. His success at Boise State is well-documented - five conference championships, two undefeated seasons and two BCS appearances. He's turned down other offers before, most recently UCLA, but this is as an attractive an offer out there.
I also wouldn't mind seeing somebody like Kevin Sumlin around. His track record ain't too shabby, either. His teams have been pretty exciting on offense, whether he's been at the helm or helped served as offensive coordinator. And what does he do when Johnny Manziel leaves?
Will Robinson: Here are six, in some order: Pat Fitzgerald, Greg Roman, Chris Petersen, Dan Quinn, James Franklin, Kevin Sumlin. They're all young and have had success on various levels, in addition to be generally likable folks. Regarding Sumlin, Petersen, Roman and Franklin, they've shown the aptitude of advancing their respective team's offenses. Quinn and Fitzgerald have constructed strong defenses wherever they've ended up. It's fair to put trust in them to hire someone to be the 2013 Norm Chow to progress the offense.
2. If you were USC's head coach, what would be the steps you take to turn things around?
Selbe: I would do whatever it takes to convince the players that this 2013 season is not over. There are eight games left on the schedule, and the Trojans have enough talent (though maybe not enough depth) to be competitive in all of them. Going, say, 8-5 would be mediocre by normal USC standards, but simply not cashing it in down the stretch would be beneficial for the program's image, both to fans/boosters as well as recruits.
Wong: For the rest of this season, I would somehow make these kids really believe they still have something to play for this year. Not all is lost just yet. Running the table isn't realistic, but avenging last season's defeats to both Notre Dame and UCLA is important. Even if USC finishes 8-5, but beats both its rivals, it'll be considered a small success in a season marred by a lot of turmoil and distraction. The odds have been stacked against the Trojans and there's really nothing to lose at this point.
Moving forward, I would likely implement some sort of up-tempo, spread option offense that utilizes the talents of the four- and five-star recruits USC will and can eventually nab. The game is changing and has been changing. Make USC an exciting football team to watch again, something fans and alumni will be drooling over to watch week in and week out.
Robinson: Get the offense out of the Stone Age, for one. Chris Huston did a helluva job going over USC's inability to hire a coach since Howard Jones, so I won't rehash his argument. Pat Haden needs to hire someone who respects USC's tradition but won't be a slave to it. With the type of athletes USC attracts and recruits, an up-tempo spread option should be devastating and should be easy enough to pull off. "Should."
Evan Budrovich: The first and most important thing I would look to accomplish as the next USC Head Coach is to develop an identity, and specifically one the players can truly rally around. In each of the last three seasons, the mantra constantly changed from "Arrogant Nation" to "Just Prove It" and now "Assignment Perfect" this current season. The point being, the idea of a national headline or slogan may sound cliché, but college football is an extremely mental sport where gimmicky rallying cries continue to inspire players again and again. Players that buy into the cause can carry teams to victory that are under matched in terms of talent, so why can't USC find some fiery inspiration to play up to their potential for a full 60 minutes.