Looking at Bengals coaching connections at USC

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

USC fired their head coach Lane Kiffin following a blowout against Arizona State. While they're vetting coaching candidates, we look at possible Bengals connections.

During a 28-0 third quarter run by Arizona State, University of Southern California Athletic Director Pat Haden met with advisers and around that time, the decision was made to fire head coach Lane Kiffin. After arriving at LAX Saturday night/Sunday morning, Kiffin was pulled from the team bus and fired, leaving his bag believing it was a routine chat with Haden. Kiffin had gone 28-15 in his four years at Southern California.

Now the team is vetting possible coaching candidates.

As for the Bengals, there's a limited number of connections with running backs coach Hue Jackson being the most prominent. Jackson spent our seasons at USC as an offensive coordinator from 1997-2000, while also being the team's quarterbacks coach ('97, '00) and running back's coach ('98-99).

Jackson isn't opposed to being a head coach in college, recently a candidate for the University of California vacancy last year. At the time, Jackson called it a "golden opportunity" and interviewing with the school in late November.

"I think they can be as good as they want to be," Jackson said. "They should have an opportunity to compete for the Pac-12 championship, BCS bowls, the national championship. Why not Cal?"

Eventually Cal hired Sonny Dykes and Jackson returned to Cincinnati as the team's running backs coach.

According to Scott Wolf with the Los Angeles Daily News, the top-five candidates emerging for the USC gig includes Vanderbilt University head coach James Franklin, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, Boise State head coach Chris Peterson and Oregon State head coach Mike Riley.

Defensive backs coach Mark Carrier played safety at Southern California from 1987-89. Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese was a graduate assistant (defensive backs) from '90-91 under Larry Smith.

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