Guys, I don’t expect you to like this because it’s a super emo time for everyone with our interim coach not getting the chance to follow in a long line of interim coaches that failed as head coaches.
But it’s my job to play devil’s advocate, even against my own fans and fanbase. This may not apply to you all, but read it anyway.
Today, USC hired Sark away from Washington to replace Coach O who was replacing Coach Kiffin. This was the USC reaction on Twitter:
Relax, Trojans. This is making you look like SEC fans. I get that this rock was painted for different reasons, but people who flip out about reasonable coaching hires usually think the Gulf of Mexico is the ocean.
Sark is not the big, sexy hire everyone wanted. Short of Pete Round Two or Harbaugh coming to Troy, who was that hire? There wasn’t one.
Which brings us to the second reason everyone is flipping out. People wanted to give Coach O the job. This is because after Kiffin’s 3-2 start had everyone acting like SEC fans (myself a little too), Coach O brought the fan base back, he inspired the players and made USC football feel good again.
But let’s break this down a little. Sark has taken an 0-12 program to a respectable one in a part of the world (one I live in now) where you don’t get players from LA, Texas or Florida without paying for them (COUGH COUGH CHIP KELLY). Sark had to recruit mid stadium renovations and his best connections are in Southern California.
USC is one of the few schools out there that can get big AND fast players. Oregon has fast players and you see what happens when they play NFL size/speed lines like Stanford.
Sark’s head coaching record is slightly above .500, pretty much what Pete was coming into the USC job (albeit from the NFL). No one dug him either as a hire and all of those people probably named their kids after him.
Coach O was a monster failure at Ole Miss, who won plenty when they had Eli Manning. He had some recruiting, but if Kiffin’s 7-5 and 11-2 wasn’t good enough, Coach O’s previous legacy should scare us more than Sark’s.
When Coach O was at USC, he was a fourth and nine “holy shit” pass to the best receiver USC may have ever put on the field from being 5-3 with losses to both rivals and a team that had been owning us of late. No one is clamoring for a 5-3 interim coach to take over.
I love Coach O. He’s a staple of our family and we should give him so much money to talk him out of having another bad head coaching run somewhere else. We should give him a harrier jet filled with naked girls and stacks of 100s. He’s a Barkley-like figure and I will ALWAYS appreciate what he did for the positivity of the program.
But Sark is a better Xs and Os coach and he’s going to recruit well. It’s already starting.
Sark will run a pro set here because he won’t need gimmicks because USC will remain fast and big.
Another thing is that it’s a little ridiculous to kill Pat Haden over this hire when you don’t know the interview process. Armchair QBing is fine, hell, I have over a million readers a year that like seeing me be one, but keep it real. Sumlin has probably never been to Dorsey high school. Franklin doesn’t know the home address of the Mater Dei booster club heads. Pederson’s Boise State charm already missed it’s window of relevance to recruits he can’t get a phone call with already.
Sark knows all of these people and when he was recruiting for USC, they said yes. When he was recruiting for Washington, they said no. To assume Sark can’t get it done at USC is to assume USC itself cannot be a kingmaker. King Carroll disagrees.
Am I saying Sark is going to win Rose Bowls and National Championships like crazy? No. Definitely not right away with year 238 of sanctions.
Do I think he could? Sure.
What I am certain of as the Bearfighter, a person that only has a following because I told everyone to stop overreacting when the sanctions first happened, is to stop overreacting now.
Outside of Nick Saban, rarely do coaches do the same thing two jobs in a row. It’s an unpredictable world.
I do know Sark was there, just like Kiffin, just like Coach O, during our greatest tenure in decades and he deserves some respect just like Coach O does.
This is a Trojan who left, took a lot of our staff and frankly would have been a much better hire than Kiffin, but he was probably smart enough to stay away then. Whatever he told Haden, it had to be enough.
Let’s just wait and see. We’ll never know if Coach O would have won next year and if you really loved him, wish him well at the bowl game and be glad you won’t have to find out. He’ll go out a hero.
Please. Enjoy the holidays. Root responsibly. We’ll know a lot more in September after the Dodgers win the NL West.