Is Ed Orgeron/Steve Sarkisian A Lane Kiffin/Norm Chow Replay?

NCAA FOOTBALL, USC AT WASHINGTONWhen former USC athletic director Mike Garrett hired Lane Kiffin, he imagined a dream staff that included Ed Orgeron and Monte Kiffin. And he wanted Norm Chow as offensive coordinator. So he told Lane Kiffin to try and hire Chow.

So what did Kiffin do? He left an unenthusiastic message on Chow’s cell phone saying, “Mike Garrett wanted me to call you, so if you want a job, call me.”

Chow wasn’t about to leave his job at UCLA for someplace it didn’t sound like he was wanted. Plus he would give up playcalling if he went to USC. We all know how well that worked out for Kiffin.

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  • FightON

    Aren’t Sarkisian and Chow on bad terms? Ted Miller over at ESPN said as much of the relations between Chow, Sark, and Lane and it’s been hinted at in many other articles.

    So I’m not sure the comparison is entirely accurate. I mean, sure, Orgeron could feel that Sark pushed him out – but the anger should be directed more at Haden for making the decision.

    By the way, for those still angry about the Sark hire, hop over to Bleacher Report for the article by Paul Peszko which compares Chow to Sark. It’s old, but it lays out Sark’s failures at USC pretty clearly.

    • rusoviet

      FightON – so ‘Peszko’ is saying Haden made a bad decision? Nothing is ‘foolproof’ – once I post this message it shall be inundated with bel-airians mocking Pat, Steve et. al.. That’s all those morons can do is mock – seriously this is a ‘bad’ hire? Sarkisian? Time shall tell but one thing is for certain Chris Petersen sure knew when it was right to jump ship and head for WA – give it a chance – sure beats the mess Garrett left us back in 2010 – hey Mike how’s it shakin’ down @ OK A&M?

      The end of 1st half at the HI Bowl OR St. 31 Boise St. 6….what about the ossuary for jonnie the woodie?

      • FightON

        Nah. Peszko wrote the article in 2008. He was saying Chow was better than Sark and would lead UCLA to victories, namely national championships (lulz looking back). I just think Sark has mistakes that he has to make sure he has learned from. We will see if he has learned.

        • rusoviet

          Merci beaucoup mon frere en armes….

          2014 is Mora’s best and frankly only shot at an NC – the bel-airians are saddled with OR and WA as well as the rest of the schedule and also with a full roster of recruits – if we smoke all and I believe we shall leading into that final game – then shades of 2001 – the tide has turned and Mark Wahlberg’s doppleganger will be lookin’ to scurry back to the NFL

          “Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war!”

          • Trogan Fan

            What happens after next year? Does Mora explode? Take his dream job at UW like everyone here said he would? Go to the NFL? If you think UCLAs best year is next year and then it’s over, you’re not paying attention!

          • rusoviet

            It is over moron – top tier football players go to programs that give them the finest NFL exposure – that is USC and only USC – what goes to ucla my sucla are 10:4 trucker na%is ‘questionably female’ softball players

            Give me the ucla shlong give me that ucla shlong – give it to me babee I need it I need that jonnie was…give it to me babee give it to me babee I need that jonnie shlong…

          • Trogan Fan

            Signed Anthony Barr, XSF, Hundley, Jack etc. LoL. Yesterday U still lives in your mind. sC is where players go to kill their NFL dreams now!

          • Jack B

            Trojan NFL history is so much greater than piddling UCLA, the little gutties are laughably pathetic in comparison. USC could (once again!) have more NFL draftees this year than UCLA even though we only have 47 guys on scholarship and we are at a big low as a program. More NFL Hall-of-Famers, first rounders, overall draftees, Pro Bowlers, current players in the league – by far!!!!! Look it up. You make me laugh. HAR, HAWRRR, HAWRRRRR!

          • Arturo

            Game.Set. Match.

          • realtrojan

            Yes!!! We are SC!!! Fight on!!!

          • Ben Factor

            Jack, you don’t even have to bother with that assertion. It’s un-contestable and obvious.

            But that was then, and this now. In 2013, laurels don’t count for much.

            It is just as un-contestable that Mora has evened the playing field, and that in past times when UCLA has grown stronger, USC has not dominated on the national stage. So. Cal. has a large population, but does not crank out D-1 players like the Southeast. Athletes pursue a wider variety of sports here. There are only so many Rivals 150 players to go around in So. Cal.

            Parity is growing within the Pac-12, and within L.A. We shall see how USC weathers that.

            Rather than bragging, I think that realism, humility, determination, clever strategy, and incremental improvement seem appropriate. I believe that one Nick Saban likes that approach.

          • FMUSC81

            Even the Field ??? Really ??? We have scholarship reductions .

          • Ben Factor

            First, I follow USC, not UCLA. It bothers me to see USC followers responding to UCLA fans with statistics that are way behind the times.

            Second, yes, gentlemen, I said parity in the Pac-12 and across town, and I said a more even playing field.

            Right now, Rivals ranks USC #33, with 15 recruits. That is behind # 26 Oregon, with 16 recruits, and #28 Stanford, with 16 recruits. It is 6 spots ahead of #36 UCLA, with only 13 recruits.

            May I also mention the consecutive losses to UCLA, with neither game especially close?

            My fellow USC followers, you can deny what the facts show, but as I said, I think realism, humility, determination, clever strategy, and incremental improvement are more productive than bragging about days gone by.

            Things ARE more even, things ARE tougher, and the useful question is what USC can do about that? Sure, more scholarships in 2015 will help. But that alone is no panacea.

          • rusoviet

            Even the field? Yeah well let’s handstring your pathetic program with 10 fewer recruits a year for three years and then we’ll call it evening the field – then again I’d say it is even i.e. your fools need a 10 handicap to even get level.

          • FMUSC81

            Yet if every draft eligible player went into the draft we’ll have more draftees than UCLA

          • TrojanFamily

            Yes it was this year and the Mighty Sun Bowl!

  • rusoviet

    Never forget at that infamous 2006 Rose Bowl BCS Championship Game it was Kiffin that called for the hand off to Len Dale White – something Chow would never have done.

    Kiffin….what a disaster….Kiffin…FL just announced a new OC and it ain’t Kiffin…..Kurt Roper from Duke…keep wandering the earth Lane….let us all know when someone decides you’ve finally eaten some humble pie and truly realize how ‘bleeping’ inept you always were!

    • Ben Factor

      You may be right…and you may not. I don’t think Kiffin has the range of qualities to be HC. I’m not so sure that he can’t succeed with sole focus on offensive strategy. That is what he loves in football, and he might make it work. I won’t be surprised if he turns up with a powerhouse offense within a few years. I won’t be shocked if he doesn’t, either.

      • Jack B

        Problem with Kiffin is that he’s not a leader of men and he doesn’t understand how to delegate. Does not command respect, so I don’t see how he can be successful as a HC. I guess if he can totally change his personality he could somehow become a leader. Otherwise, there are plenty of other coaches who would never have to work at that aspect of their qualifications so hard.

      • rusoviet

        Ben I didn’t say he couldn’t be a solid OC just that he needs to go and really ask himself how is it I’ve lost three HC positions in <7 years? Hmm how likely is it I am ever going to have those chances again?

        Kiffin knows or should know – It is not easy changing – rather try not to replicate the behavior and sharpen your skills and be satisfied with that.

      • Independent_George

        Kiffin is too radioacitve to be hired by a stable, solid major program. I thought maybe he’d take the Florida job, but after the flack Saban got for simply “inviting” him to Tuscaloosa, I would guess Muschamp is re-thinking that.

        Can’t see Kiffin being an OC at a major conference program in the near future, but then somehow John Shoop became the oC at Purdue, so you never know.

  • Jack B

    Worked out just as badly for Chow, who has been fired several times since his SC days and now is hanging on by a thread with a hapless Hawaii outfit. The Rainbows deserve much better than a long ago has-been who couldn’t recruit if he tried – which is doesn’t.

    • rusoviet

      I agree – I remember after he left USC he was offered (I recall) the KY job but wanted the Stanford job – Chow is a truly gifted 2nd tier coach but if you have ever heard him speak he does not ‘engage’ athletes – all cerebral – then again leave it to a bel-airian to take a gifted assistant and screw it up by ramming in an unproven never used offensive scheme and expect victories.

      Neuheisel’s moves were so indelibly ‘bel-airian’ (did we get the GLBT to agree? We didn’t? Oh no! We need to appease them before they go ‘flaming’ perverto…hmmm perverto…..so close to West Hollywood and all those ‘players’….go ucla go sucla!).

      • Jack B

        Chow interviewed for the Stanford job and was expected to get it. The job was his. But he bombed the Stanford interview so badly that the Cardinal pulled back and decided to immed take him off their list, True story.

        • Ben Factor

          Interesting anecdote, Jack. Thanks for sharing it. As you know, that was the scuttlebutt about Peterson and USC.

          Chow had such a mediocre career after USC that I wonder whether he was really the genius behind USC’s offensive success? Most USC fans believe that Chow was, and that PC blew it over jealousy. I don’t know enough to say. However, it seems relevant that Chow never again approached his success at USC.

          What are your thoughts about that?

          • Jack B

            Pete and Norm, who was always lobbying for yearly raises and some HC job there which he felt was worthy of him, grew to dislike each other. So Pete tossed him. That’s what happens when your boss thinks you are more trouble than you are worth – in every industry. Chow’s career post USC has been one of getting constantly fired – less than mediocre. Pete looks like he’s headed to the Super Bowl and his career in the NFL post USC has been successful. He’s been a big improvement over Mora at Seattle. Chow and Carroll both won at USC because of talent, which came to USC because of Pete, not Norm, who hates to recruit. Couldn’t be bothered and is not personable. Carroll’s teams took on his personality – confident, loose, brash and sometimes reckless. Not always smart but sometimes brilliant. Had USC taken on Chow’s personality, the Trojans would have never won any championships. None. Chow was an excellent play caller who was limited to that realm. Carroll was the man who set the vision for the program and attracted the talent, along with Orgeron. Carroll’s expertise is at being the face of the program. Chow is Kiffin, but with experience, feel and a knack for exploiting defensive weakness. Chow and Carroll both needed and used each other. Two huge egos. Pete moved on and has been successful. Norm hasn’t been able to cut it, wherever he has been. Pete jealous of Norm? Never. Pete resentful of Norm? Definitely.

          • Ben Factor

            Jack, before Carroll got bored, he was very, very good–marketing, strategy, and motivation. And one example was apparently in hiring Chow

            Didn’t Chow deserve annual raises? Carroll got them.

            It’s hard for me to picture Chow as really troublesome. And i may well be wrong.

          • Cheap seats

            I sometimes wonder: was there truly a “genius” behind the offensive success?

            Or was it a case where anybody could’ve just called “give it to Reggie / Lendale” 30x per game?

            In the case with Kiffin, I think he totally lucked out that a senile NFL owner was willing to fall for Sark telling him, “Kiffin is the guy you want..” It turned out that same owner cherished legacy football names. The Superbowl blowout was fresh in Al’s memory where Monte’s gang shut down the #1 offense.

          • rusoviet

            Cheap that’s right! Sark steering Davis to Kiffin and Kiffin’s ego actually believing he could be the first Raider HC coach to actually be respected by Davis – that’s w.o. the 15 mos. shenanigans that prompted his getting the patented Davis ‘heave ho!’

          • Cheap seats

            After the dust settled, you have to admit that the Raider debacle actually HELPED Kiffin’s career.

            At that point of Al’s career, he had zero credibility and his overhead projector press conference made things even more laughable.

            I guess we know that Al was RIGHT while everyone was laughing at him. Look at the mess his successors have made of his team!

          • gotroy22

            Not Jack but many good OCs fail at being a head coach. They get promoted beyond their level of competency. Think of Mike Shula and Homer Smith. Even Kiffin may turn out to be a decent OC given the right head coach.

          • Ben Factor

            But Chow took some OC jobs, and didn’t do much.

          • gotroy22

            He did much at BYU for decades and at North Carolina State and USC because he had talent. The ruins had nothing to work with as we proved with 50-0.

    • marvgoux1

      Too bad Pete couldn’t handle Norm getting the limelight at the 2005 BCS title game blowout win over Olahoma. That was the high point for USC football the last decade. With the talent we had gushing in from recruiting we would have won 5 or 6 more BCS titles if we had just kept Norm as OC.

      • Cheap seats

        You don’t think it was the demise of SC’s DEFENSE that had more to do with not chasing more BCS titles?

  • Isaiahdolan

    In his prime, Chow’s strength appeared to be in developing qb’s. He has been on a steady decline for years and when he was hired by Hawaii I cringed as I sensed what was going to happen to their team.

    • Ben Factor

      There is something to what you say. I think that Chow had a knack for assessing QB skills and playcalling within that skill set. Has there ever been a more successful USC QB than Leinart? Yet he had a worse arm than Barkley, whose skills beyond 25 yards were dubious.

  • Fred Sampson

    Norm Chow has a great Football mind and is very effective when his Teams have Talent . He was a scapegoat over at UCLA because that staff could not recruit a Quarterback the whole time they were there .

    • Ben Factor

      But Fred, he never again reached great success in any job. Could there be an error in the conventional wisdom that PC pushed Chow the genius out over jealousy? I’m not saying, but I’m asking. What do you think?

      • Fred Sampson

        That was the big rumor at the time , Pete Carroll stripped Norm Chow of his play calling duty’s and no one knew why . When Chow got back into College Football after a few years in the NFL he never put himself in a position to win , UCLA was low on Talent just as UH is right now . I don’t think Chow forgot to coach , he’s just in a bad situation .

        • Cheap seats

          I think Chow’s biggest flaw is similar to Kiffin’s: they both have the tendency to always try to “out scheme” the other side. As a result, their offenses end up with no identity or a “bread and butter” play to set everything else up.

          If you look at Chow’s offenses (with the exception of UCLA), you’ll see that they attempt to be very “multiple” with complex formations and QB reads.

          The problem with this approach in coaching is that it affects the players’ mentality. When players aren’t asked to take advantage of match ups, you’re missing out on the swagger that can make play calling very easy.

          • FMUSC81

            Wrong on Chows offenses…. He actually dumbed down Hackett offense… he really plans arounds strengths and weaknesses… problem is that college kids make a lot of mistakes…not to mention, Chow a #2 not a number 1

          • gotroy22

            Exactly, he got rid of the Hackett mess and Carson Palmer thrived.

          • rusoviet

            Then Kiffin brought his father and himself and it was Hackett-Tollner-Smith supercharged

        • Ben Factor

          But Fred, he left USC with his reputation at its zenith. Why didn’t he get a good job, where he would succeed? Was it self-sabotage?

          Did Bobby Bowden forget how to coach? Mack Brown? Al Davis? All of us can lose our edge. All of us can hold onto old ideas in an environment that has changed.

          This is the psychological and biological/chronological dimension of Joseph Schumpeter’s “creative destruction” of capitalism. Aging is a bi***. Take it from one who is going through it. :)

    • Cheap seats

      Chow was a square peg under Neuhiesel and even UCLA fans will tell you that.

      The decision for Neuhiesel to run the pistol was one of many blunders during his tenure.

      • Fred Sampson

        I totally agree

  • Independent_George

    Ed Orgeron/Steve Sarkisian is not Lane Kiffin/Norm Chow, no mattert how hard you, the media and crazy people on the pay boards want it to be.

    The fact is that USC played its best game of the season, hands down, without Ed Orgeron. Replace Orgeron with Clay Helton as interm coach after the ASU game, and the result is probably exactly the same. The most important thing was not that Ed Orgeron replaced Lane Kiffin, it was that Lane Kiffin was replaced. But under Scott Wolf troll logic, if Oregeron>Kiffin because USC played better, then Clay Helton should be given a lifetime contract.

    Ed Orgeron is extremely popular among the rah-rah set, people who believe that it is rah-rah speeches and fight songs and uniform colors that win games and “Trojan Family” platitudes, and not so much the players. But the fact remains that once the emotion started to leak out the window, such as in the UCLA game, USC was flat, flat flat.

    • Cheap seats

      And if Helton did take over, Wolf would find some reason to complain about that, too.

      Unfortunately for Wolf, it’s not that the coaches don’t like him from the beginning. Wolf needs to hold himself accountable and know that he’s socially awkward and make strides to correct it. It has nothing to do with “sucking up” like his trolls here would like to say.

      This would apply not only to journalism, but any job that requires you to speak to high profile people.

    • gotroy22

      Wrong, USC’s best game of the season was against Stanford. How soon they forget!

      • Independent_George

        Toughest, ballsiest, grindiest, most emotional and thrilling. Yes, Stanford.

        Best execution. Most dominant on both sides of the ball. The Fresno State game.

        • Ben Factor

          You’re overlooking the talent differential.

          It’s much more impressive to win pretty easily against AZ, against OSU in Corvallis, and to beat Stanford, than to flatten a much lesser team in Las Vegas. Hey, good job by coaches and players to motivate themselves. That was really what was in doubt, not that USC would win if both teams were ready to play. I think you know that.

    • Ben Factor

      You’re not giving Ed enough credit. Pac-12 coaches gave him credit–coach of the year.

      If I had to guess, Sark wants Ed because of the Lupoi problem. Per Cowherd, Pendergast won’t recruit. The Wilcox hire may not happen. Without Lupoi, Sark NEEDS Orgeron, or some strong defensive recruiter.

      I can pretty much guarantee you that Sark is very ambivalent about hiring Orgeron. Wouldn’t you be?