Reports: Del Rio a candidate to replace Kiffin at USC after season

According to multiple reports, USC is expected to consider Denver DC Jack Del Rio for the head coaching vacancy created by the firing of Lane Kiffin last night.

Writes Mike Freeman:

What is clear, according to NFL team officials, is that USC considers Del Rio among the top, if not the top, prospect for the position.

Freeman goes on to suggest that Del Rio could choose to stay in Denver in hopes that he will be a hot candidate for a head gig in the NFL next year.

Here's what Adam Schefter reported this morning on Sunday NFL Countdown:

Jack Del Rio is expected to emerge as one of the leading candidates for the now-vacant USC  head coaching job. Del Rio would like the job for a variety of reasons, not the least of which, it's where he went to school. What could make the arrangement awkward is if Del Rio is actually offered the job late in the season, Denver would have to figure out how to make do without its defensive coordinator.

But at least they have John Fox, who knows how to coach a defense, there in Denver, should Del Rio actually be offered, and take the USC head coaching job.

He added this via Twitter:

Denver DC Jack Del Rio expected to emerge as a leading candidate for USC HC job, as @mikefreemanNFL said. Sources said Del Rio wants job.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 29, 2013

Indeed, part of what got Fox his first head coaching gig in Carolina was the excellent job he did coordinating the Giants defense under John Fassel.

But if Del Rio were to indeed depart midseason, it would surprise us to see Fox take on the coordinating duties.

Instead, the promotion of a current defensive assistant would seem more likely. Richard Smith, who coaches the linebackers, has been a coordinator in the NFL, albeit an unsuccessful one, for the Dolphins (2005) and Texans (2006-08).

Jason La Canfora suggests Del Rio wouldn't leave until after the season:

Del Rio, former Jags head coach, will be a very hot name for many openings if his defense keeps this up, and the school could approach him after the season. It's a job that has held allure for him in the past.

Mike Klis hears the same, and emphatically so:

Jack Del Rio will NOT leave Broncos D-Coordinator job during season

— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) September 29, 2013

Reports from Joan NiesenJeff Legwold and Vic Lombardi confirm that Del Rio will stay in Denver through the end of the Broncos' season, but it doesn't seem like we should expect him to be around in 2014. 

Heading into this season, one of the big storylines out of Dove Valley was that the Broncos finally had continuity at DC, after JDR had become the seventh coordinator (Larry Coyer, Jim Bates, Bob Slowik, Mike Nolan, Wink Martindale, Dennis Allen) in as many seasons.

Kiffin was fired by USC last night following the team's 62-41 blowout loss to ASU.

Updated 2:19pm ET

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM