USC’s five starters average between 12.2-and-12.6 points per game, a remarkable balance that can make the Trojans immune from relying on one player. Here’s my story on how the roster got put together and how the balance led USC to its 18-5 record.
“Towards the beginning of the season it was fun when we beat teams, but now we expect to win,” guard Elijah Stewart said.
When four USC assistant coaches were fired in December, a makeshift staff was put together. Among those elevated were former player Lenny Vandermade, who coached the offensive line and tight ends; volunteer assistant Mike Tuiasosopo, who helped coach the defensive line and graduate assistant Mike Goff, who coached the offensive line for the Holiday Bowl.
It appears they are all still working at USC despite not being hired to the full-time staff. So there is still quite a shadow staff that was originally assembled by Steve Sarkisian.
One of USC’s coaches gave me a “find the positive scenario” for the season opener against Alabama. “We are better now defensively with the coaching changes. A quarterback emerges in spring practice. The offensive line finally improves with the coaching change. And maybe Alabama will need some time to transition to a new quarterback.”
I’m hearing USC linebacker Scott Felix officially appealed the one-year suspension he would receive for failing a drug test. USC says Felix’s status is uncertain. The NCAA will decide the appeal. One interesting aspect is the NCAA committee that hears appeals never knows the name of the athlete or the college during the hearing.
There is some buzz today that Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich might be interested in the USC job. Jurich is from Arcadia, so he obviously has local ties. Again, a question would be whether Rick Pitino’s NCAA issues would tarnish his image and chances.
Louisville actually issued a statement today denying Jurich applied for the USC job, for what it’s worth.
“I am not going to (USC),” Jurich told TV station WLKY. “People say what they want because I’m from there . . . I’m staying right where I am.”
USC announced athletic director Pat Haden felt lightheaded this morning and was treated by medical personnel outside Heritage Hall. He was taken to his doctor’s office. Haden reportedly felt the way he did at the Notre Dame when he fell to a knee.