Hugh Freeze and Dan Werner worked together on Ed Orgeron’s staff at Ole Miss, but before there was Werner there was Noel Mazzone.
Mazzone, who previously served as offensive coordinator with Tommy Tuberville before leaving with Tuberville for Auburn, was mentioned by former AD Pete Boone to Orgeron as a possibility for offensive coordinator. Introductions were made, and Mazzone was hired as Orgeron’s first coordinator for the 2005 season.
It would be his only season. He was fired before the season ended, though he stayed on through the final game, a big loss at Mississippi State.
Mazzone was always a good guy and good talker in interviews.
This week Mazzone and Orgeron meet for the third time as Pac-12 rivals. Orgeron is in his third season with Lane Kiffin at USC, serving as defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.
Mazzone was offensive coordinator at Arizona State the past two seasons. He was hired in January as coordinator by new UCLA coach Jim Mora Jr.
Ed won 34-33 in LA in 2010. Mazzone won 43-22 in Tempe last year.
Aside from the Ole Miss connections, this cross-town rivalry is interesting because UCLA has cracked the top 25, while USC, the preseason No. 1, has stumbled. Add to that last week’s Twitter smack when a false account under the name of a UCLA player started trash talking with the Trojans.
Mazzone and the Bruins are No. 11 in total offense, tied for 22nd in scoring offense.
Ed and the Trojans are No. 61 in rushing defense, 65 in total defense and 49 in scoring defense.