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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

Recruits Adoree’ Jackson, Joe Mixon speak positively about Steve Sarkisian

Steve SarkisianSteve Sarkisian may not have impressed USC fans and observers as a hire, but many top recruits took notice of the move.

Adoree Jackson of Serra High School in Gardena, Calif. (same school Marqise Lee and Robert Woods attended), who is a 5-star recruit and top-10 player in the country in Rivals’ rankings, tweeted some big things about Sark:

5-star running back Joe Mixon from Oakley, Calif., tweeted that Sark’s hire brought USC “back in the picture” for him:

Mixon also had an in-home visit from UCLA’s coaching staff on Monday night. 247 Recruiting says he is strongly considering Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Cal. He also supposedly was warm on Washington, which would explain his interest in USC.

Jackson received offers from multiple major schools, and Rivals has his list narrowed to about a dozen programs, including USC, UCLA, Oregon, Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, among others.

In an interview with WeAreSC’s Blair Angulo, Jackson elaborated on why the Sarkisian hire would be good for USC’s program:

[Read more...]

Washington QB Troy Williams calls Steve Sarkisian a fake

Troy-Williams-WashingtonAny time a head coach leaves a school to take another job, there are always going to be players who feel cheated. Now that Steve Sarkisian has chosen to leave Washington to accept the head coaching job at USC, quarterback Troy Williams is one of those players.

Williams attended Los Angeles football powerhouse Narbonne, where he was twice named City Section player of the year, before he attending Washington. He committed to Sarkisian and the Huskies early and stuck to his word, despite other top programs like UCLA continuing to recruit him. And now, the promising freshman feels betrayed.

Williams deleted his original tweet. From Sarkisian’s standpoint, there is really no avoiding situations like this. If every coach who told a star player that they were not leaving a school actually never left, coaches would never leave programs. Does it suck for a player who showed loyalty to a particular coach? Very much so, but it’s simply an unfortunate part of major NCAA athletics.

Related: Justin Wilcox, Tosh Lupoi reportedly going to USC with Sarkisian

H/T Trey Wingo

Steve Sarkisian is a good coach but likely won’t build a dynasty at USC

Steve Sarkisian WashintongSteve Sarkisian has accepted the head coaching position at USC according to multiple reports and will become the school’s next football coach.

Sark is not the “home run hire” many were hoping for, but he is a good coach who is extremely familiar with the school and recruiting area. He also has experience as a former USC assistant and some success running a Pac-12 program already. But will he be able to build a dynasty with the Trojans? I don’t think so, and most fans and observers would agree.

Sark took a Washington Huskies program that Ty Willingham drove into the ground and turned them around. They went from 0-12 in Willingham’s last year to 5-7 and then 7-6 in Sark’s second year. Sark went 7-6 three years in a row and finally did better than that mark by going 8-4 this season. He coached Jake Locker for two years and then got three with Keith Price, so he’s had very capable quarterbacks during his tenure — guys he should have been winning with. He’s done fine at Washington, but he didn’t build them into the power they used to be. As we saw with Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, Jeff Tedford early at Cal, Todd Graham at ASU, or even Jim Mora at UCLA, it is possible to quickly turn around a program in the Pac-12. Sark never quite got to that level.

People have good reasons for not being impressed by this hire from USC. Sometimes you could argue that it’s not about what will impress fans — nobody was impressed when Pete Carroll was hired — and that it’s only about your win-loss record. But who actually envisions Sarkisian winning 11 or 12 games a season and taking the Trojans to the Rose Bowl or better on a consistent basis? I see him having similar levels of success at USC as Mora has had at UCLA. That’s pretty good, but you want to shoot for something better when you have a program that’s the level of USC.

It strikes me that USC went with a safe hire. They went with someone who can provide some consistent winning and stability. They went with someone who knows the area and will be able to have more success recruiting to USC rather than Washington. But they did not go with a guy who will get the program back to the dominance it saw under Carroll. Could many coaches in the country do what Carroll did? Probably not, but I don’t think USC got a guy who will dominate. James Franklin would have scared people. Sarkisian does not.

Report: Steve Sarkisian hired by USC as new head coach

Steve-Sarkisian-Washington

Steve Sarkisian has been hired by USC to be its next football coach, according to ESPN’s Joe Schad.

The USC head coaching search was picking up steam, with Sark reportedly one of the candidates who was interviewed for the position. According to ESPN.com, Sarkisian met with USC over the weekend.

Sarkisian confirmed during an interview with KJR-Radio in Seattle on Monday that he spoke with USC athletic director Pat Haden, though he stopped short of calling it an “interview.” He said he is not that far along with USC yet for it to be considered an interview, though it seems obvious that there is mutual interest.

A report on Sunday indicated that James Franklin and Chris Petersen were two of the top candidates for the job, with the intention of keeping current interim head coach Ed Orgeron on-staff as the highest-paid associate head coach in the nation.

As LB already pointed out, Franklin seemed like the most likely candidate given his resume and the fact that accepting a job at USC would be a clear upgrade over Vanderbilt. That being said, Sarkisian spent several seasons as a quarterbacks coach at USC in the mid-2000s and served as the team’s associate head coach and offensive coordinator from 2007-2008 before taking the job at Washington. It makes perfect sense that the 39-year-old, who has compiled a 34-29 record at Washington, would be a top candidate.

David Shaw fires back at Steve Sarkisian: ‘We don’t fake injuries’

David-Shaw-StanfordOver the weekend, Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian accused Stanford of faking injuries on defense during the Huskies’ 38-21 loss to the Cardinals. Sarkasian claimed in a postgame interview that he saw a coach telling players to get down on the ground.

“Their defensive line coach (Randy Hart) was telling them to sit down,” Sarkisian told KJR 950-AM, via ESPN.com. “I guess that’s how we play here at Stanford, so we’ll have to prepare for that next time.”

Not surprisingly, Stanford head coach David Shaw firmly denied the accusations. He also blasted Sarkisian for accusing another coach of doing something like that.

“We don’t fake injuries. We never have and we never will,” Shaw said. “And I don’t care what Steve Sarkisian thinks that he saw. “I believe it’s unprofessional to call out an assistant coach on another team. It was unprofessional; it was disrespectful. The only D-line coach that I know of that’s ever instructed players to fake an injury works at the University of Washington, not at Stanford. That’s not calling a person out, that’s stating a fact.”

Tosh Lupoi, a defensive line coach at Washington, was suspended for a game in 2010 while he was at Cal after he admitted he coached players to fake injuries against Oregon. Shaw said Sarkisian “crossed the line” and noted that Stanford is one of the most respected football programs in the country.

“How we play here at Stanford is averaging five and a half penalties a game,” Shaw said. “We’re one of the least penalized teams in the nation. How we play here at Stanford has led to three BCS bowl games in a row, a Pac-12, a Rose Bowl and an Orange Bowl championship and 100 percent graduation rate.

“We’re one of the most well-respected programs in the nation. I’m not going to put that on the line just to beat Washington.”

Injury faking is something that is undoubtedly becoming more popular across college and professional football as more and more teams go with an up-tempo offense. Cal coach Sonny Dykes accused Northwestern of doing it earlier this year and another video captured Georgia players blatantly faking injuries against Clemson. It’s just something teams are going to have to learn to deal with.