Did USC Defensive Coordinator Clancy Pendergast Do His Job?

About 11 months ago Lane Kiffin hired Clancy Pendergast to fix the defense against spread offenses. The defense received plenty of plaudits this season but the results were mixed in big games and against spread offenses.

Arizona State was a debacle. Arizona scored 31 points, which is probably not unreasonable for a typical Pac-12 game. The defense held Stanford to 17 points but last year Cardinal scored 21, so that’s a wash.

More troubling were the rivalry games: USC could not stop Notre Dame’s running game when it had Tommy Rees and 6-7 tight end Troy Niklas was defended by 5-8 cornerback Anthony Brown.

UCLA supposedly had an inexperienced offensive line and things got worse when a starter was ejected at the start. But the Bruins scored 35 points and it wasn’t just Brett Hundley doing damage. How many times did Hundley find a tailback uncovered in the flat for good gains?

I think everyone can assume USC was fortunate not play Oregon even with the Ducks struggling in November. So overall, I’d say Pendergast did an average job and needed to have a secondary coach instead of doing two jobs by himself.

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  • carter

    It would have helped if he did not inherit the likes of Torin Harris, and even Demetrius Wright, who while having a good game against the ruins, was seemingly always in the wrong place at the (w)right time the balance of the year.
    Having speedy corners and safeties is fine, but they do need to be good and tall at those positions, not just track stars.

  • Mark

    No depth

  • G Man

    So what? USC just got kicked in the rear with a golden horseshoe: they won’t be hiring Ed Orgeron.

    The next coach, if they hire very well (which it seems Haden will), will have a pretty easy job of getting things going. If beating Jim Mora Junior and that dude at Notre Dame are the most important things they can do short-term, then that’s not a tall order. A major coach has to salivate at that opportunity. Jim Mora, while a good coach, really is only beating a USC team on probation and facing some of the worst coaching the program has had since Lord knows when. The guy hasn’t beaten anyone else.

    • anno nimus

      Yeah v you’re right, Jim Mora isn’t any good. Idiot.

      • G Man

        Good, but not great Mr. leap Frogger.

    • Go Tama

      Haden gave USC Kiffin, you think he will make a good hire?

      • carter

        Garrett gave USC Kiffin.
        Haden inherited him, just like the O inherited the team mid-season, and Clancy inherited the players on defense.
        3 years down the road, even with Clancy, Ed and Clay, plus other assistants to be named, the Trojans will return to the Top 10, maybe 1-2 years, but next year is still a probation signing year, so expectations will be modest, depending on how many current roster players opt to leave for the pros, etc.
        Still like giving the O the job!

      • FightOn

        Stop trolling and get your facts straight: Mike Garrett hired Kiffin. Get on, troll.

    • rusoviet

      Mora hasn’t beaten anyone else? Well he’s beaten USC two years in a row – first to do that since Bob Toledo. He’s taken a decent recruiting class of Neuheisel’s and turned them into a top end squad and he beat Troy a week after losing to AZ St. who I believe (AZ St.) will win the Pac-12 next Saturday night.

      anno nimus has it right – you haven’t a clue –

      • Joe Blow

        Are you really that dumb? Beating a lousy SC team is nothing. Heck, fucla hasn’t won ANY big game since he’s been there. WAKE UP.

      • G Man

        Yes he’s great by UCLA standards, where going 9-3, no conference championship, and getting a Holiday Bowl appearance is the high water mark.

        But the dude is beating the pants off SC to his credit.

        • FightOn


          Let’s not even talk about the “coincidence” that whenever UCLA plays teams – starters start getting hurt. Barkley – and don’t forget that a UCLA football alum said hurting Barkley was his favorite play. Price, Martin, etc. If the Ruins want to talk about cheating, it should be why their players are called for targeting and blindsiding. Not to mention the massive amounts of penalties they’ve been racking up.

    • Joe Blow

      Finally, a guy that knows what he’s talking about!

  • steveg

    Clancy took a defense and totally turned it around. One season does not answer all the questions, but as I see it, we had a good defense except the cornors who never look to see where the ball is. With some good recruiting he will build an excellent defense that can win championships.

    • anno nimus

      “Win Championships” what kind of championships, you delusional Trojan,

      • Joe Blow

        What championships have you won? NONE

        • anno nimus

          One, 1954, don’t you know anything? Lol

    • Ben Factor

      Plus one. How many expected the 2013 defense to perform as well as it has? Suddenly, CP is a bum? Be serious! He faced the same roster issues as the offense. Which unit performed better this year?

  • Go Tama

    How can you defend CP? He got canned from Kal and has moved from job to job, he sucks and should be canned along with most of the asst coaches. Give EO the job, go get Tim Davis, who is out of a job, get a top DC & HC and get USC back.

  • Arturo

    I’d just like to know what kind of D the D played: It seemed Leonard Williams, a stud, and George Uko, solid, were the only two linemen down in a three point stance- no wonder they couldn’t stop the run or put pressure on last night. Two against 3 or 4. Not a 3 -4 and more of a 2 – 5 for most of the night. Kennard played slow and left wide running lanes for Hundley when he rushed up field -not to mention his inability to cover RBs out of the backfield. What was the game plan? Sarao couldn’t keep up with the RBs either. To be fair, these guys aren’t CP’s recruits and the starters logged too many minutes. Still wondering why Kenny Bigelow redshirted and why Greg Townsend Jr., Jabari Ruffin, and Quinton Powell get no PT.The effort was there, the execution was not. Fight On!

  • SFTrojanFaithful

    I would have liked to see the D rush more then 3 or 4 guys. I think we played way too passively until well into the 4th quarter. We should have been sending 5 or even 6 from all over the field right out of the gates. Seems we thought we could get pressure rushing only 3 or4 against their freshmen linemen. Didn’t happen and that plus poor special teams play cost us the game. Can we get a kicker who can put the ball in the endzone please.

  • B.Miller

    The fact that USC Plays the same guys with one sub.. DOES NOT HELP.. The Defense had to be exhausted and without the Offense maintaining drives to give the defense a rest..