USC have finally found their new defensive coordinator. The Trojans announce that they have hired Todd Orlando to their vacant position Friday afternoon. News broke of Orlando and USC finalizing a deal to become the team’s new defensive coordinator earlier in the week.
Orlando spent three seasons with the Texas Longhorns as their defensive coordinator. However, he was ultimately let go in early December following the team’s 7-5 record. After his exit, Orlando joined the Texas Tech coaching staff as their linebackers coach, but left the job to become USC’s defensive coordinator after two weeks.
If fans are looking for an indication of what Orlando’s defense’s brought recently, then look no further than the last two seasons at Texas. The Longhorns were ranked 65th in total defense and given up 30 points or more to the first six Power 5 teams they’ve played. They ranked towards the bottom of the Big 12 in points allowed and yards allowed. One reasoning for the result was Texas facing numerous injuries on the defensive side of the ball. On the plus side Texas was solid against the run. The last two seasons the Longhorns were ranked 28th and 45th against the run. An area that USC struggled with in 2019.
Orlando brings an aggressive defense that loves to blitz and operates out of a 3-4 scheme. USC went to a base 4 down linemen front. There will be some adjusting with the roster has has, however he will have a solid and talented group to work with. They can also expect to see a physical and hard hitting style which could mean the Trojans getting back to tackling well. An area that they’ve struggled with the last three years under Clancy Pendergast.
The USC defense could also be in good hands for the 2020 season. Orland has been known to make quick fixes wherever he’s gone. During his first year at Texas, the defense saw a major spike in production. He took a Longhorn defense that was ranked No. 87 in total defense to No. 39. He also produced similar results at Utah State and Houston.
Orlando brings 15 years of college coaching experience as defensive coordinator. Before his three year tenure at Texas, he spent time at Utah State, Houston, Florida International, and UConn. During his time at Utah State, he was viewed as one of the best defensive coordinators in the nation for his work with the Aggies defensive. He will now have his work cut out as he looks to take a talented defense that struggled last season.
USC parted ways with former defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and special teams coach John Baxter after the team’s 49-24 loss to Iowa in the Holiday Bowl. The Trojans defense faced a consistent decline under Pendergast during his four seasons with them which included seeing their points and yards allowed increase each season. The final straw was the Holiday Bowl performance where USC’s defense was physically dominated by the Iowa offense and failed to make adjustments as they gave up 49 points and only forced the Hawkeyes to punt a total of 3 times through out the game.