As spring practice begins, it is ironic that three of the most high-profile assistants from last season — Ed Orgeron, Clancy Pendergast, John Baxter — are without jobs. Orgeron seems like he decided to take the year off. Pendergast’s personality is the not most outgoing and that might hurt him getting another job. Baxter’s kept a low profile and could be in Fresno for all I know.
How quickly will USC players learn the new defense? Former Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox runs a hybrid defense that uses 4-3 and 3-4 formations.
The main issue is the veteran players are adjusting to their third defensive coordinator in three seasons. That’s an adjustment that takes time for any player. And it’s also an indictment of the program the past three seasons.
What is an issue entering spring practice that is not being discussed in public? According to sources, it is the lack of athleticism at quarterback and whether USC can run all of Steve Sarkisian’s hurry-up offense. Maybe this is one reason Sarkisian speaks so highly of freshman Jalen Greene, despite the fact he is not ready to play.
Sarkisian was used to Keith Price and Cyler Miles at Washington. He might need to modify his offense to adjust to the traditional quarterbacks he is now dealing with at USC.
Arizona guard Nick Johnson is named player of the year and the Wildcats’ Sean Miller is coach of the year. No one from USC is anywhere on the all-conference lists, even honorable mention. At least that will change when the USC women’s team (above) gets its conference honors.
The Pac-12 all-conference team and individual honors after the jump:
Here is my ballot for this week’s Associated Press college basketball Top 25 poll:
Does anyone seriously believe the nation’s two top quarterbacks reside within a couple hours of each other? Josh Rosen and Ricky Town are ranked the top two quarterbacks by the recruiting services.
Rosen was the MVP at Sunday’s Nike combine but Town was inconsistent and threw an interception. Corona Santiago QB Blake Barnett (committed to Notre Dame) and Hart QB Brady White looked better.
Does it matter? Are high school combines really effective measures of one’s talent? Are you nervous Rosen seems headed to UCLA? Whatever you think, rankings are overrated. I do not believe for a second there is not a QB in the South or Midwest who is better or just as good as Rosen and Town. Blake Bortles was a three star and ranked the 44th-best quarterback by Rivals in 2010. Now he may be the No. 1 pick in the draft.
So does any of this combine/rankings chatter matter? Not really. You know what matters? Coaching.
The Trojans defeated Oregon State, 71-62 as Ariya Crook scored 16 points. USC (22-12) trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half before coming back. This is the first conference women’s basketball tournament title for the Trojans.
It is also a feather in the cap for new coach Cynthia Cooper. Now I think comparing the men’s and women’s teams is apples and oranges especially since the women’s program had more talent for Cooper to inherit.
But here’s an important distinction: Some of the women complementary players have gotten noticeably better as the season progressed to help Crook and star forward Cassie Harberts.
Can you say anyone on the men’s team has gotten better?
The Trojans fell short and lose their fourth straight of the week against difficult competition.