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USC, seeking a replacement for fired coach Lane Kiffin, has already interviewed former Bears coach Lovie Smith for the position, according to a league source. It would ideally love to land former Super Bowl winning coach Jon Gruden, but that won't be happening.
Smith was let go by the Bears following a 10-6 season in 2012, and was not a hot name with head coaching openings in the NFL last offseason, but could get more consideration this offseason with more openings expected. Smith has a deep history in the college game as well.
Early last month Smith's son, who serves as his agent, denied a report that an interview with USC had taken place at that time, but, according to a source, the school has spoken with Smith. USC is not commenting on the process.
Sources said that University of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian was well positioned to land that position, though a recent three-game losing streak may have cooled his star some. Gruden, if he returns to the sidelines from the broadcast booth, would most likely do so at the pro level