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#pounditTuesday, August 9, 2022

Articles tagged: USC Football

USC reportedly not giving up on landing notable ex-Pac 12 coach

Chris Petersen at a press conference

The USC Trojans continue to eye big names in their search for a new head coach, including one former Pac-12 rival.

According to Scott Roussel of Football Scoop, USC athletic director Mike Bohn is particularly intrigued with two candidates for the school’s vacant head coaching position. One is Penn State’s James Franklin, as has been widely reported.

The other is former Washington coach Chris Petersen. The 57-year-old is in his second year away from coaching after abruptly leaving Washington following the 2019 season. Petersen has long been eyed by USC, but has never accepted their overtures.

As recently as September, Petersen sounded uninterested in the USC job. Perhaps that’s changed, or perhaps the Trojans think they can change his mind. The appeal is that USC wouldn’t have to go through any hurdles to land Petersen, as he’s not attached to any program. He also has ample Pac-12 experience with Washington.

Franklin is appealing, but the Trojans appear to have competition there. The door may be open to wild card candidates as well.

Photo: Jul 24, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Huskies coach Chris Petersen during Pac-12 football media day at Hollywood & Highland. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Did Carson Palmer reveal big inside info about USC coaching search?

Carson Palmer during Cardinals game

Carson Palmer is one of the best players in the history of USC football, and the former quarterback says he has been consulted on the school’s search for a new head coach. He also may have inadvertently leaked some big information about a coach the Trojans are targeting.

Palmer discussed the USC coaching search during a Monday appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show.” He said he has shared input about candidates and was asked if Penn State head coach James Franklin is the frontrunner for the job. Palmer responded that there are “a lot of frontrunners,” which led to Patrick pressing him further. The former first overall pick then brought up Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

“You’ve got a wild card like Mike Tomlin, if Mike Tomlin wants out. … That’s what’s so great about the job,” Palmer said. “It can lure an NFL guy who’s tired of his current situation and worried about, ‘Is Ben Roethlisberger gone. Who are we gonna draft?’ Does Mike Tomlin have to start over with a first-round young rookie quarterback? Everybody is on the table given that job is so big and so coveted.”

The interview took a funny turn from there, as Palmer was clearly unaware that Tomlin’s name hadn’t really been floated as a possible candidate for the USC job. You can see the clip below:

Tomlin has been the head coach in Pittsburgh for nearly 15 years. The Steelers are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL and sports in general, so it seems highly unlikely that Tomlin would voluntarily leave that job for an underachieving college program. Palmer and other USC alumni can dream, however.

USC seems to have one top candidate in mind, but they could be competing with LSU to hire him. They’ll likely make plenty of calls to the NFL, but we’d be shocked if Tomlin has any interest.

Photo: Nov 26, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) looks on after defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

USC had absolutely baffling clock management before halftime

USC lines up in shotgun

If you want to understand just how lost USC looks this season, look no further than their possession before halftime at Notre Dame on Saturday night.

The Trojans trailed the Fighting Irish 17-3 in South Bend and were looking to narrow the gap going into halftime. USC began its possession at its 23 with just over four minutes left. They moved to their 45 with 1:47 left, and that’s when everything went downhill.

USC ran five straight times thereafter, burning up all the clock they had left. They went into halftime without taking a shot at the end zone or attempting a field goal. It was pathetic clock management.

On 3rd-and-4, the Trojans let too much time go by and then ran a draw. Then with 39 seconds left, after Notre Dame had taken a timeout, the Trojans used a timeout too because they couldn’t get a play off. They were so disorganized/unprepared that they needed to take a timeout after a timeout!

USC ran on 4th-and-2 to convert, and then ran again on 1st down. It’s like they didn’t understand the time circumstances of a basic 2-minute drill.

Then on a 2nd-and-4, Kedon Slovis scrambled for a first down. But the team wasted the first down because they couldn’t clock the ball before time ran out in the half!

To show you how unprepared and disorganized the offense was, they lined up in shotgun for their attempt to spike the ball.

Quarterbacks should line up under center for that to get the ball as quickly as possible.

The Trojans offense looked like they had never been in a 2-minute drill before. From the coaching to the players loafing and showing poor decision-making (like Slovis scrambling and then lining up in shotgun for the spike), this was an embarrassment to USC from the top down.

Report: LSU, USC have same top target for head coaching jobs

James Franklin

LSU and USC are both premier coaching positions. With both open at the same time, there was inevitably going to be some overlap on their lists of targets.

According to Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports, both the Trojans and Tigers will have Penn State’s James Franklin at or near the top of their wishlists. Feldman said on “Big Noon Kickoff” Saturday that LSU’s decision to part ways with Ed Orgeron complicated USC’s search by putting them in the running for the same coaches.

It’s not a shock that Franklin is a hugely popular target. His work at Vanderbilt and Penn State speaks for itself. Vanderbilt in particular posted two nine-win seasons at Vanderbilt, a school that has had little football success otherwise. The links to USC are long-standing, too.

While LSU may be looking at Franklin, there are also rumors they may have their eyes on another Big Ten coach as well.

Report: USC boosters interested in Anthony Lynn as head coach

Anthony Lynn

USC is conducting an expansive search for its next head coach, and Anthony Lynn is reportedly on the list.

NFL Media’s Jim Trotter reports that USC boosters have reached out to Lynn, who is currently the offensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions. While there has been no formal contact between Lynn and the school, Trotter says Lynn has interest in the job.

Lynn was fired as head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers despite a strong end to the 2020 season. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert had an excellent year under Lynn, and there was certainly plenty about the season that would appeal to a school like USC. He finished his tenure in L.A. with a record of 33-31 and one playoff appearance.

USC is eyeing several other big names for its head coaching vacancy. Reggie Bush recently shared his opinion on the search, and many were surprised with his top candidate for the job.

USC fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a great gift for you or a friend – you can buy it here:

Report: James Franklin attracting significant interest from USC

James Franklin

Penn State may be facing a battle to keep head coach James Franklin amid significant interest from USC.

According to Scott Roussel of Football Scoop, Franklin is “high” on athletic director Mike Bohn’s shortlist of coaching candidates. In a related podcast, Roussel said Franklin is already being vetted by USC and is one of the school’s top targets.

Roussel did caution that Penn State still “loves” Franklin, and will make a strong effort to keep him if USC goes after him. The likelihood is Franklin has a big new contract in his future, whether it is at USC or Penn State.

Franklin has been linked to USC before back when he was still at Vanderbilt. His reputation has only grown since then thanks to his success at Penn State, where he boasts a 63-28 record. Franklin signed a six-year contract extension with the Nittany Lions less than two years ago.

USC’s coaching search is expected to be extensive, and other big names have surfaced in connection with the job as well.

Report: Eric Bieniemy open to USC job

Eric Bieniemy

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy made it clear this week that he is focused on his current job, but that does not mean he has completely ruled out the one he has been linked to.

Bieniemy is believed to be someone USC will target after the school fired Clay Helton as head coach. The 52-year-old said on Thursday that he is solely focused on coaching the Chiefs. However, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports was told by sources close to Bieniemy that the Southern California native is open to coaching at USC.

Timing could be a significant obstacle, as USC wants to have a new head coach in place by Thanksgiving. That would allow the new coach to get enough of a jump on recruiting. Bieniemy may have to leave the Chiefs at some point to interview with USC.

Bieniemy has been mentioned as an NFL head coaching candidate during the past two hiring cycles. He said this past offseason that he is disappointed he has not landed one of those positions. If Bieniemy does decide that coaching at the college level interests him, the USC job should have a lot of appeal.

USC team plane tipped backwards with staff aboard after arriving for game

USC Trojans logo

The USC Trojans had a nervous moment Friday when arriving for their Saturday game against Washington State.

After landing in Lewiston, Idaho, the team plane tipped backward on the tarmac, leaving the nose in the air. Coaches and staff members were still on board at the time.

A USC spokesperson told ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura that the players had already exited the plane and no one was injured. The grounds crew was able to level the plane, allowing everyone to deplane successfully.

It’s been an unusual and tumultuous week for the USC football team after the firing of Clay Helton on Monday. Interim coach Donte Williams will take charge of Saturday’s game against the Cougars.

Reggie Bush names his surprise pick for USC head coach

Reggie Bush

Reggie Bush weighed in on the USC head coaching search, and the former running back has a somewhat surprising candidate he’d like to see considered for the role.

Bush vouched for Jackson State coach Deion Sanders to take over at USC, citing his ability to recruit and bring quality players to the Trojans.

“I do believe there is a coach out there that can help restore USC to its greatness,” Bush said on FOX’s “Big Noon Kickoff,” via Matt Howe of 247 Sports. “I believe Deion Sanders can be that person. He can be that person. When you think about what he’s done at Jackson State right now, Jackson State has the No. 55 recruiting class in the nation. They’re one ahead of Kansas State, which has a significantly much-larger budget than Jackson State does.

“But what does that tell you? That tells you Deion knows how to recruit. Let’s just use this as an example. Deion Sanders is the head coach at USC. He walks into your house and says, ‘Matt (Leinart), I want you to come play and be the starting quarterback at USC.’ What are you going to say? … You’re gonna say yes.”

There is no question that Sanders has succeeded in elevating Jackson State’s profile and bringing in a higher caliber of player there. However, he’s still very inexperienced as a head coach, untested at a higher level, and prone to somewhat strange controversies.

It seems logical that the Trojans would target someone a bit more experienced at a higher level of college football for a longer period of time. That fits with the name that is reportedly at the top of the school’s list.

Report: Mario Cristobal is USC’s top choice for head coach

Mario Cristobal

The USC Trojans reportedly have one name in mind at the top of their list as they embark on the search for a new head coach.

According to Scott Wolf of Inside USC, the Trojans are eyeing Oregon coach Mario Cristobal as their top choice for the job. It is not clear if that interest is mutual.

Cristobal would certainly tick a lot of boxes for USC. He has Pac-12 experience, obviously, and has shown himself to be a good recruiter. He’s coming off the biggest win of his career after beating Ohio State in Columbus, and the Ducks are in position to make a run at the College Football Playoff if they can avoid any wobbles for the rest of the season.

It’s worth noting that Cristobal had previously been asked about rumors linking him to USC, and made it pretty clear he wasn’t going to talk about it.

Cristobal has been linked to other coaching vacancies before, and hasn’t taken them. In fact, he just got a new six-year deal with Oregon last December while being linked to another high-profile position. USC may be interested, but he seems happy and entrenched with the Ducks, so this might just be a pipe dream.