USC Football

SOURCE: Todd Orlando to be next USC Defensive Coordinator

January 20, 2020

Late last night it was reported by Pete Thames of Yahoo Sports that USC was working on deal to bring Todd Orlando in as their new defensive coordinator.

USC SCOOP has gotten confirmation that Orlando will be the next DC at USC, replacing Clancy Pendergast who was fired last month after an embarrassing loss to Iowa in the Holiday Bowl.

Orlando was one of several coaches fired by Texas head coach Tom Herman after the season.

We’re told Orlando is well liked by high school football recruits from Texas, Louisiana and has connections to the Carolinas and DC Metro Area.

Here is Orlando's BIO from the official Texas Athletics site.

In 2018, Texas continued in its strengths of strong red zone defense, ranking 17th nationally, and stopping the run, allowing just 131.4 yards per game to rank 28th. Two defensive players earned Big 12 Player of the Year honors under Orlando. DE Charles Omenihu was the Defensive Lineman of the Year, while freshman S Caden Sterns was the Defensive Freshman of the Year. Both players, in addition to CB Kris Boyd, earned first team All-Big 12 recognition. At his position group, linebackers Gary Johnson (90 TKL, 16.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 8 QBH) and Anthony Wheeler (87 TKL, 8.5 TFL, 4 sacks) led the defense in tackles. Johnson was named second team All-Big 12.

In his first season at UT, Orlando’s defense ranked eighth nationally in rushing (106.8 ypg), third nationally in third-down defense (.271), eighth in fourth-down defense (.300) and led the country in both defensive touchdowns (7) and interceptions returned for a touchdown (5). The Longhorns improved 53 spots (from 94th to 41st) in total defense, and 61 spots (from 90th to 29th) in scoring defense.

Under his tutelage, linebacker Malik Jefferson was named Big 12 co-Defensive Player of the Year, a Butkus Award semifinalist and first team All-Big 12. He totaled 110 tackles (79 solo), becoming the first UT player since 2014 to eclipse 100 tackles. Senior DL Poona Ford was named the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2017, while safety DeShon Elliott was a Thorpe Award finalist and a unanimous All-American and first team All-Big 12 selection.

During his 24-year coaching career, Orlando has served as a defensive coordinator at UConn (2005-10), Florida International (2011-12), Utah State (2013-14), Houston (2015-16) and now Texas. 

Houston posted a 9-4 record in 2016, including wins over No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 3 Louisville. The Cougars became the first program nationally to defeat two top-five teams. UH featured the nation’s fourth-ranked rush defense (100.2 ypg), in addition to the nation’s 13th-best defense in total yards allowed (319.6 ypg). Houston was third nationally with five defensive touchdowns and allowed just 23.5 points per game. The Cougars also ranked as one of the nation’s best in bringing pressure, ranking 14th in both sacks and tackles for loss. 

At linebacker, Matthew Adams led the team in tackles with 82, including 7.5 tackles for loss, while Steven Taylor tied for the team lead with 8.5 sacks and was second with 12 tackles for loss. Taylor, a first-team All-AAC selection, was tied in both of those categories with Tyus Bowser, who reached those marks despite missing five games due to injury. Bowser was named second-team All-AAC.

True freshman DT Ed Oliver, who earned first-team All-America honors, was third nationally with 23 tackles for loss. He added seven quarterback hurries and led all defensive linemen nationally with his nine pass breakups.

In Orlando’s first season at Houston, his opportunistic and attacking defense forced 12 teams below their scoring average with the two teams eclipsing their average, doing so by less than one point. The defense led the nation with 35 takeaways while ranking eighth nationally in rushing defense (108.9 yards per game) and 20th nationally in scoring defense (20.7 points per game).

The Cougars went to their first New Year’s Bowl in 30 years, had their second 13-win season in program history and won their 11th conference championship by claiming the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship. With a 38-24 win over No. 9 Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Houston ended the season ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, its highest finish since ranking No. 5 in 1979, and just the sixth time in program history to finish in the top 10.

With direct oversight of the linebackers, Orlando mentored Taylor and Elandon Roberts, as both earned all-conference honors from the AAC. Roberts was named to the league’s first team after leading the nation with 88 solo tackles, part of the nation’s fourth-best 142 total tackles. Roberts led the conference with 19 tackles for loss while Taylor was right behind with 18.5 tackles for loss, including a league-best 10 sacks. Roberts went on to be drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.

In Orlando’s two seasons at Utah State, the Aggies defense ranked among the nation’s best in scoring defense (12th nationally in 2014 at 19.7 ppg, and seventh nationally in 2013 at 17.1 ppg) and turnovers forced with 59 over two seasons, the nation’s eighth-best two-year total. The USU defense was fourth nationally with 49 sacks in 2014 and second nationally with 114 tackles for loss as Utah State advanced to back-to-back bowl games during Orlando’s stay in Logan, Utah.

Orlando’s 2014 defense ranked 17th nationally and second in the Mountain West in pass efficiency defense (111.42), while its rushing defense led the league (130.7 ypg). The total defense was second in the conference (356.1 ypg), bolstered by a defensive group that led the conference with four First Team All-MWC selections. Zach Vigil was 11th nationally with 19.5 tackles for loss. and earned All-America honors, was the MWC Defensive Player of the Year and signed with the Miami Dolphins.

During his first season at Utah State, the defense ranked first in the Mountain West and seventh in the nation in scoring (17.1 ppg), the second-fewest allowed by a Utah State defense since 1971. USU also led the MWC in rushing defense (106.7 ypg/8th FBS), total defense (330.9 ypg/12th FBS), and pass efficiency defense (113.2/15th FBS). The defense also ranked sixth in the nation in the red zone, allowing opponents to score just 68.9 percent of the time, including just 19 touchdowns, to rank second nationally. Utah State played in back-to-back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history and won just its third bowl game ever in 2013.

Prior to Utah State, Orlando spent two years as the defensive coordinator at Florida International (2011-12). During his two years at FIU, Orlando mentored five players who earned various All-Sun Belt Conference honors a total of seven times, including safety Jonathan Cyprien and defensive lineman Tourek Williams who both earned First-Team All-League honors. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Cyprien with the 33rd pick of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Orlando went to Florida International after a 12-year stint at Connecticut, including six seasons (2005-10) as the defensive coordinator. In 2010, Orlando’s defense helped the Huskies capture the Big East Championship and play in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

In his first year as defensive coordinator at Connecticut, the Huskies led the Big East Conference in total defense at 297.1 ypg, its lowest average since 1979. In 2007, Connecticut won the Big East Championship behind the nation’s 10th-ranked passing efficiency defense and the 14th-best scoring defense (19.0 ppg). Orlando’s work with middle linebacker Danny Lansanah in 2007 helped earn the senior a free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers, while weakside linebacker Lawrence Wilson was named a second-team Freshman All-American. Orlando also mentored linebacker Alfred Fincher who was chosen in the third round by the New Orleans Saints in 2005, becoming the first Husky drafted in 11 years.

Prior to Connecticut, Orlando spent three seasons as the linebackers coach at the University of Pennsylvania. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., he began his coaching career in his home state as defensive coordinator at Central Catholic High School (1994) and Fox Chapel Area High School (1995).

Orlando was a three-year letterwinner at inside linebacker at Wisconsin and a member of the 1994 Big Ten Championship team that defeated UCLA in the Badgers’ first Rose Bowl appearance since 1963. He and his wife, Amy, have two daughters, Taylor and Addison.


Years    School    Position
2017-present    Texas    Defensive Coordinator/LBs
2015-16    Houston    Defensive Coordinator/LBs
2013-14    Utah State    Defensive Coordinator/LBs
2011-12    Florida International    Defensive Coordinator/LBs
2005-10    UConn    Defensive Coordinator/ILBs
1999-04    UConn    Inside Linebackers
1996-98    Penn    Linebackers
1995    Fox Chapel HS (Penn.)    Defensive Coordinator
1994    Central Catholic HS (Penn.)    Defensive Coordinator


Tags: Football, USC
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