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Pete Carroll wanted Steve Sarkisian to take over for him at USC

Steve SarkisianSteve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin were both Pete Carroll’s understudies during the USC football dynasty of the 2000s. Kiffin already got his shot as the program’s head coach, and we all know how that turned out. Sarkisian now has a chance to prove he can rescue USC’s program from years of NCAA sanctions.

While discussing his “Win Forever” philosophy with USC students on Wednesday night, Carroll made it clear that Sarkisian would have gotten the job to begin with if the Seattle Seahawks coach had his choice.

“From early on, I tried to get the administration to guarantee that he would be the next coach if I left,” Carroll said, via Rich Hammond of The Orange County Register.

Carroll went on to say that Sarkisian’s “clarity with people” is the reason he hired him as quarterbacks coach. The former Washington coach has already done a great job of handling the Southern California media, which we know can be fairly scrutinizing.

“He knows what USC is about, what it is to work in SoCal and he is going to do a great job,” Carroll added, per Lindsey Thiry of FOX Sports. “I have no doubt in saying that.”

Of course, Carroll’s assertion that he pulled for Sarkisian is easier now that Kiffin’s time as head coach was such a failure. Had Kiffin enjoyed success, I doubt Carroll would have said he wanted Sarkisian to take over for him from the start.

H/T Bleacher Report

Barry Switzer: Johnny Manziel is an ‘arrogant little prick’ with ‘staggering’ ability

Johnny ManzielLegendary Oklahoma Sooners coach Barry Switzer has never been shy when sharing his opinion on Johnny Manziel or anything else related to football. The three-time national champion coach loves Manziel’s game, but he hates his attitude. He reiterated that during an appearance on CBS Sports Radio’s “The Morning After” show in St. Louis on Wednesday.

“I don’t like Johnny Manziel’s antics,” Switzer said, according to host Tim McKernan. “He’s an arrogant little prick.”

Back in September, Switzer said he wanted to jerk Manziel’s facemask after the way he dismissed Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin on the sidelines. But once he was done insulting Manziel for the way he carries himself, Switzer offered some of the highest praise of Johnny Football’s game that we have heard.

“I’ve never seen a college football quarterback do what he does,” he said. “It’s staggering … he’s the most dominant college football quarterback I’ve seen in a long time.I ‘ve compared Manziel to Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson. He takes over a game like those guys did.”

Having won three championships at the college level and a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys, Switzer has certainly earned the right to share his opinion. While Ron Jaworski does not think any team should draft Manziel within the first three rounds, Switzer said the Rams would be silly to pass on him at No. 2 overall.

In some cases, arrogance can work in a player’s favor. As long as Manziel continues to show that he is more focused on improving his game living it up, he’s a risk worth taking for several NFL teams.

H/T SI Wire

Craig James files complaint saying he was fired for religious discrimination

Craig JamesCraig James may have been sacked by FOX Sports Southwest, but he is not going down without a fight.

According to The Associated Press, Liberty Institute in Texas, a group that promotes religious rights, filed a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission Tuesday on behalf of James. The Liberty Institute believes James was fired by FOX Sports Southwest because of his anti-gay marriage beliefs.

James was hired by FOX Sports Southwest last September to serve as a college football analyst for the regional channel, but the larger FOX Sports network put an end to that after learning about the move.

“The decision to no longer use Craig James in our college football coverage was simply because he was not a good fit,” a Fox Sports Networks spokesperson told The Dallas Morning News in September. “Regrettably the decision to use him was not properly vetted, and as a result he will no longer provide commentary on Fox Sports Southwest college football coverage.”

A statement from FOX also supposedly called James “a polarizing figure in the college sports community” and said he was let go “based on the perception that he abused a previous on-air position to further a personal agenda.”

But here’s the quote from a Sept. 6 Dallas Morning News article that James and the Liberty Institute are focusing on.

“We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department,” said a Fox spokesman. “He couldn’t say those things here.”

Based on that comment, James and his group believe religious discrimination was at play.

Too bad there’s no legal reason that says you can fire someone on grounds of them being a d-bag, because that’s probably the best explanation for the situation.

Jadeveon Clowney ran 4.47 in 40-yard dash (GIF)

Jadeveon-Clowney-40-yard-dashAnyone who had forgotten just how physically gifted Jadeveon Clowney is was given an incredible reminder on Monday morning at the NFL Scouting Combine. Clowney recorded an unofficial time of 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Remember, folks, this is a 266-pound defensive lineman we’re talking about.

To give you some perspective, Clowney ran faster than USC wide receiver Marqise Lee, who posted a time of 4.52. Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, who many consider to be the best receiver in the draft, was slightly faster than Clowney at 4.43. He weighs just over 200 pounds.

Some of the faster quarterbacks at the Combine over the weekend were Johnny Manziel (4.68), Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas (4.61) and Miami’s Stephen Morris (4.63). If 40-yard dash times are any indication, those guys won’t be running away from Clowney at the NFL level.

The fastest defensive lineman at the 2013 NFL Combine posted a time of 4.60 seconds. Here’s a GIF that compares Clowney’s 40-yard dash time with Manziel’s:

Are there questions about Clowney’s work ethic? Plenty, and Steve Spurrier did nothing to answer them when given an opportunity recently. When scouts see speed like that, they tend to brush those questions aside.

GIF via Bleacher Report

Auburn DE Dee Ford: I’m better than Jadeveon Clowney

Dee-Ford-AuburnWhile most people are talking about players like Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Manziel at the NFL Scouting Combine, guys like Auburn defensive end Dee Ford feel that they are flying under the radar. Ford recorded 10.5 sacks last season and established himself as one of the best pass rushers in the country. Clowney, who faced a lot more double-teams, finished the year with only three sacks.

Ford will likely be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft in May, but he won’t be drafted ahead of Clowney. He thinks he should be, as he stated in an interview with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller on SiriusXM over the weekend.

“I’m better. Let’s put it like this — people like to talk about size all the time. Size is pretty much overrated in my eyes,” Ford said, via Eye on College Football. “You can look at guys like Robert Mathis, Elvis Dumervil,Von Miller. These are 6-2 guys and under. People are just looking at the fact that (Clowney is) a physical specimen. Honestly if you watch the film, he plays like a blind dog in a meat market basically.

“I play with a lot of technique. I watch a lot of film. These are the things I do and it shows up.”

In other words, Ford feels that Clowney relies strictly on his freak athleticism. He may be right to an extent, but you can’t teach size, speed and strength. That’s why NFL teams tend to focus on those things and assume they can refine a player’s game when needed.

Clowney ran a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine on Monday, which is incredible for a 275-pound lineman. That said, even his college coach has raised questions about his work ethic. Clowney will either be boom or bust in the NFL. Someone like Ford could be a steal later in the first round.

San Diego State’s Adam Muema says God told him to leave NFL Combine

Adam-MuemaAdam Muema rushed for 2,955 yards and 34 touchdowns in three seasons at San Diego State. Like many others with NFL aspirations, he headed to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to participate in this weekend’s NFL Combine. However, he was not around when it was time for running backs to go through their drills.

According to U-T San Diego, Muema left the combine before running backs competed in afternoon drills. When asked about his early departure, the former Aztecs star said he was “following God.” Muema explained that God spoke to him and told him he would fulfill his lifelong dream of playing for the Seattle Seahawks if he missed the workouts.

“Can’t go wrong with God,” Muema said.

NFLDraftScout.com currently has Muema ranked No. 30 among running backs. Whether he ends up with the Seattle Seahawks remains to be seen. One thing we do know, playing in the Mountain West Conference shouldn’t be held against him.

Prince Shembo reveals he was accused of sexual battery by Lizzy Seeberg

Prince ShemboThree and a half years after Lizzy Seeberg committed suicide after her sexual battery allegations were slowly investigated by Notre Dame, the identity of the football player accused of committing sexual battery against her has been revealed.

Prince Shembo, who has been a starting linebacker for Notre Dame since his sophomore season and is now an NFL draft prospect, admitted Saturday that he was the player at the center of the Seeberg case. Shembo says he’s been asked about it by teams who have interviewed him.

“I just tell [NFL team executives] the truth, I have nothing to hide,” Shembo said via Notre Dame 247. “No one’s heard from me one time. Do you go off of one person’s story?

“I’m still here, so I know I didn’t do anything. I tell them exactly what happened.”

Shembo says he wanted to speak about the incident while in college to clear his name, but he was advised by Coach Brian Kelly not to. He trusted his coach’s advice and followed it.

The alleged incident occurred inside Shembo’s dorm room on Aug. 31, 2010. Seeberg, then 19 and a student at neighboring school St. Mary’s, was in Shembo’s room along with a friend of Shembo’s (who did not play football) and that person’s girlfriend. When the couple left, she says Shembo came on to her and that’s when the sexual battery occurred.

Seeberg went to the hospital for a DNA evidence kit, consulted with a campus group that helps victims of sex crimes, and she reported the incident to campus police. She committed suicide by overdosing on pills 10 days later. It wasn’t until 15 days after she reported the crime that Shembo was even investigated.

Shembo may not have done anything wrong as he claims, but one thing seems to be consistent: Notre Dame did not handle the investigation properly.

Image via YouTube/BlueGoldIllustrated