Time to answer some questions on New Year’s Day.
Q: Steve said:
During the peak Pete Carroll recruiting years there were a number of USC fans who theorized that the roster was overfilled with 4 and 5 star athletes. The belief was two fold:
1.) Too many disgruntled players who because of their star ratings believed they should be getting more snaps, yet found themselves sharing those snaps with a phalanx of equally talented/hyped guys at their position.
2.) Too many high profile/star guys who were constantly rotated in and out of games and practice (presumably to keep them happy) only to ultimately eliminate any semblance of rhythm or continuity on offense, defense and special teams.
Do you think that it is reasonable to conclude that a silver lining to the scholarship reductions will be the fact that with fewer available bodies, USC coaches will continue to move away from the frequent substitution patterns established under the Carroll regime and that that move will lead to better individual execution and a more cohesive football strategy in all phases of the gameplan? Do you think this will lead to better overall player development within the program now that guys will be given more snaps/longer looks before they are written off as busts etc.?
A: The past year demonstrated that Lane Kiffin does not like to substitute. He beat Washington with 45 scholarship players and Utah with 47. I don’t think USC’s roster was overstocked with four-and-five star players. I think it started to get too many players ranked as four-and-five stars that clearly were not at that level. I attributed this to a weakness on the part of the recruiting coordinator.
I think the scholarship reduction will simply refine what Kiffin’s already done and make USC an efficient if slightly lean operation. I will don’t see the reductions having a huge impact because Kiffin’s already shown he can win using less players.
I think it is only fair, however, to mention that he won on the backs of players (Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, Matt Kalil, Dion Bailey, T.J, McDonald, etc.) that were brought into the program by Pete Carroll. It can be easy to downgrade Carroll now that he is gone. But if Mark Sanchez did not turn pro early, he probably would have won 10 games for eight straight years.
Q: mownyc said:
You said in the last forum that you wouldn’t go for a coach from LBSU, what top flight BB coach is going to come to USC? I would really like you to name 5 if that’s possible.
A: I think getting a top-flight coach is due to the reputation of the athletic director. Not a lot of basketball coaches that working for Mike Garrett was going to be a pleasant experience especially after Tim Floyd’s messy departure. Would Pat Haden have a better reputation? Hard to say right now.
You can’t really say who wants a job until it opens.
The marquee name out there is Pitt’s Jamie Dixon, who was not real interested the last time around. But he might feel differently without the threat of probation and a new athletic director. I don’t have anything against Dan Monson. But his tenure at Minnesota was nothing special.
My point is USC has a new arena and is in Los Angeles. That’s two big selling points for a successful program. So it should be able to attract a Shaka Smart (Virginia Commonwealth) or a Tony Bennett-type (when he was at Washington State, not Virginia), someone seen as a rising star in coaching.