Pat Haden goes onto field to argue with refs (Video)

Pat-HadenUSC came away with a thrilling win over Stanford on Saturday afternoon, but the game did not pass without controversy. These are the Trojans, after all.

USC head coach Steve Sarkisian was not a happy camper when linebacker Hayes Pullard was ejected for targeting after he hit Stanford receiver Ty Montgomery on a kick return. Sarkisian argued the call and ended up picking up an unsportsmanlike penalty of his own when an official ruled that he was standing on the field of play while a play was in progress. Here’s the targeting play that got Sark’s blood boiling:

That’s when USC athletic director Pat Haden somehow became involved. Haden, who had been sitting in a private box, jogged down onto the field at Stanford Stadium to argue with the officials. He later explained during an interview with ESPN’s Heather Cox that Sarkisian had summoned him via text message.

“I got a text just to come down because Sark wanted to talk to me,” Haden said, via Fox Sports. “He felt the penalty was unfair and the referee explained he had warned him, so that’s why he got the penalty. It’s been a really frustrating quarter with the penalties, believe me.”

As if an athletic director arguing with refs in the middle of a game isn’s bad enough, Haden also happens to be one of the 13 members of the College Football Playoff selection committee. His behavior would not have been acceptable for any AD, let alone someone in his position. That was not a good look for the NCAA.

GIF via GIFD Sports

ESPN’s John Anderson: USC is a ‘clown college’

John-Anderson-ESPNESPN’s John Anderson said what a lot of people are thinking on Wednesday when senior cornerback Josh Shaw admitted he was lying about saving his 7-year-old nephew. The Trojans have dealt with a lot of distractions in recent years and rarely ever have a season of just football. Take it away, John.

“If you go back to Pete Carroll and the embarrassment of getting stripped of a national title, the Heisman Trophy that Reggie Bush got back, how they handled Lane Kiffin’s firing,” Anderson said Wednesday. “There was the probation. This is a clown college. How should I look at this place?”

When Anderson says “clown college,” I’m guessing he’s just referring to the football program. USC ranked 23rd in US News and World Report’s national university rankings this year, so we don’t want to insult the 18,000-plus students who study there.

As far as football is concerned, Anderson makes a good point. USC certainly botched the Lane Kiffin firing and there’s no denying the sanctions stemming from Carroll’s tenure were a major blemish. The fact that a senior captain got himself wrapped up in such an embarrassing lie doesn’t help.

Pete Carroll denies leaving USC because of sanctions

Pete CarrollPete Carroll left USC for the NFL roughly five months before the NCAA dropped the hammer on the Trojans, slapping them with a two-year bowl ban, the loss of 30 scholarships and a forfeiture of victories from their 2004 championship season. The assumption has always been that Carroll knew what was coming and got out while he could. He claims that is not true at all.

Even after taking the job with the Seattle Seahawks, Carroll has maintained that he did nothing wrong at USC. He calls the penalties “extraordinarily overdone,” claiming USC had no knowledge of Reggie Bush or anyone else receiving cash and benefits.

“It does bother me because it’s not right and it’s not accurate,” Carroll said, per Gary Klein of the LA Times. “I didn’t feel bad about leaving at all. I didn’t feel bad about it because I knew what the truth was.”

Carroll insists he had no idea the NCAA was about to slap USC with such a massive punishment before he left for the NFL. In fact, he says he would have stayed and tried to right the ship had he been aware.

“The truth was, an opportunity came up and it was one I couldn’t turn away from,” he said. “The NCAA came back at the university … ‘Now we’re going to revisit after five years.’ I had no knowledge that was coming. We thought maybe it wasn’t coming because they didn’t have anything to get us with. It wasn’t five days, it wasn’t five weeks. It was five years.

“Had we known that that was imminent … I would never have been able to leave under those circumstances. When I look back now, I would have stayed there to do what we needed to do to resolve the problem.”

Sure you would have, Pete. USC hasn’t been the same since Carroll left, while his career has turned out just fine. While the Seahawks are still smiling from their dominant Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos, Steve Sarkisian will look to bring the Trojans back from the dead. I’m sure Carroll really wishes he could be there to rebuild.

Adoree’ Jackson chooses USC

Adoree Jackson

Adoree’ Jackson was one of the biggest dominos to fall on national signing day Wednesday, and he ended up choosing USC. The five-star recruit is one of the top 10 players in the entire class of 2014.

In fact, Jackson is so athletically gifted that there is uncertainty over whether he will be a cornerback or wide receiver with the Trojans. He played both ways in high school and made a huge impact on both offense and defense. It took him a while to get his hat out to make the announcement.

Jackson chose USC over UCLA, LSU and Florida. He spoke highly of new USC head coach Steve Sarkisian a couple of months ago and apparently meant what he said. Jackson played high school ball at Serra High School in Gardena, Calif. Serra is one of the top football schools in southern California and has a reputation for sending players to USC. Wide receivers Robert Woods and Marquise Lee both went to Serra and ended up at USC.

Jackson’s decision is huge for Sarkisian. His hire did not impress many USC fans and observers, but Jackson’s decision proves that top recruits liked the move.

GIF via SB Nation
Photo: Instagram/Adoree’ Jackson

Ed Orgeron resigns, reportedly ‘outraged’ over Steve Sarkisian hire

Ed Orgeron USCWith USC naming Steve Sarkisian as its new head coach today, the move is already having a domino effect in L.A. coaching circles.

Ed Orgeron, who led the Trojans to a 6-2 record as interim coach after taking over for Lane Kiffin, reportedly was outraged by USC athletic director Pat Haden’s decision and resigned, according to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.

Orgeron immediately becomes a hot candidate for several jobs, particularly in the Pac-12. Washington would be at the top of the list. The Huskies could also try to woo UW alum and current UCLA head coach Jim Mora as their pick? Or maybe Mora adds more heat to the UCLA-USC rivalry by hiring Orgeron to his staff at UCLA?

Report: Steve Sarkisian hired by USC as new head coach


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.

James Franklin, Chris Petersen reportedly top candidates for USC coaching job

James FranklinJames Franklin and Chris Petersen are two of the top candidates for the USC Trojans coaching vacancy, and the job could be filled as early as this week, according to a report.

ESPN’s Joe Schad reported the story and also says USC would like to try convincing current interim head coach Ed Orgeron to stay on as in some capacity. ESPN LA’s Arash Markazi says USC is prepared to make Orgeron the highest-paid assistant and an associate head coach.

Franklin is believed to be the top candidate and it’s easy to see why. He has led Vanderbilt to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1974-75. Vandy went 6-7 in his first season, 9-4 last year, and 8-4 this season. He is a high-energy, spirited coach much like Pete Carroll. And it’s pretty obvious that he can work wonders with a program.

Petersen has been the head coach at Boise State for eight seasons and has led the Broncos to a 92-12 record. He has rebuffed multiple offers in the past, but the USC job could be intriguing. He might also feel more open to leaving after a down season at Boise State (they’re 8-4).

CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman says he heard from sources that USC could make runs at the Harbaugh brothers. But Feldman believes USC is most intrigued by Petersen and Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, who was a Trojans assistant.

The Trojans were also believed to be interested in Kevin Sumlin, but he agreed to a big extension with Texas A&M.

Franklin certainly seems like the most viable candidate to me. Not only does he seem qualified for the position, but he’s at a school where moving to USC would be a clear upgrade. In other words, he might be more likely to accept the offer than some of the other candidates.