This is the first season I the Pete Carroll era that SC hasn't had any turnover within the coaching staff. It sometimes doesn't get mentioned enough, unless of course there are problems say like on special teams. But not having changes in the coaching staff goes a long way towards hitting the ground running in spring and with a new starting QB lining up behind a lot of new starters on the O line hitting the ground running in spring ball is key to setting the tone early that will hopefully carry on into fall ball.
The day UCLA's football players went "over the wall" and skipped out the gate to blow off practice while coaches fumed, USC may have had its best practice of the Pete Carroll era.
CBS' Craig James said he'd never seen a team hit, especially one not in full pads, and compete the way the Trojans did. Ditto for Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel, who's been coming to see USC work out for four or five years.
Maybe there is something to having a coaching staff that for the first time in Carroll's seven seasons hasn't turned over, not a single spot.
Its also obvious that having continuity lends itself to having a certain comfort level as the ALL the players know exactly what is expected in camp. Another observation from the article was the anonymous make-up of this coaching staff.
Watson is a 31-year-old former Minnesota and Western Illinois player who began his college coaching career at Southwest Minnesota State. He is beginning his third season as a full-time assistant for the Trojans. He said he doesn't mind that "name" assistants like Chow and defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker are at UCLA.
I don't think anyone is pining for the days of old there were some absolute studs on the coaching staff as we witnessed there can be too many chefs in the kitchen. Anonymity goes a long way towards motivating people to make their own mark and I have no doubt that beating Chow and Walker that is a strong motivating factor for the younger coaches on the staff.
Pete Carroll still has a tight grip on the make-up of this team and staff sometimes to a fault. We will probably never know what if anything he may have said to Sarkisian after the Oregon game but I am sure he let his displeasure be known that Sark froze on that 4th and goal play when the UO line shifted in the direction of the play that stopped McKnight. Sark's rookie season at the helm is now in the past and it is my guess that that he won't make that mistake again.
Right now SC is hitting on all cylinders. Another solid recruiting class is coming in the fall and they are off to fast start to the 2009 season with another stellar recruiting class taking shape. It won't be a perfect season, it never is, but I have no doubt that SC will make its mark once again on the national scene.
A quick note in comparison to the circus going on across town, seems like they could have used that extra day of practice. Maybe Mandel's piece was a bit pre-mature...good luck with that!