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Putting it all on Jeremy Bates...That would be a mistake!

I noted yesterday that Pete Carroll was not overtly looking to make any changes to the coaching staff. That really shouldn't surprise anyone...Even if he is looking to make changes, Pete Carroll is not going to throw any coach under the bus as the team goes into bowl prep later on this week. That doesn't mean that there won't be any changes but he isn't going to tip his hand now either.

Carroll knows that the team performed below expectations, but whose expectations? Expectations are tricky as SC has been held to a much higher standard than many other teams. Some would say those expectations are unrealistic, I would tend to agree, they are extremely unrealistic. Not that it matters, but that doesn't mean I have to be happy with the result...

Others would say that because SC has so much talent that this type of drop-off is unacceptable. The problem is not always with the talent but sometimes with the talent not getting coached up. Successful programs like SC always have their coaching staffs poached by other programs looking to catch lightning in a bottle. That SC has been so high profile the past few years makes this disappointing year look like some sort of disaster in the eyes of those who are always looking for SC to go to a major bowl game.

Even the press is trying to look for a scape goat. Enter the OCR's Scott Reid...

On an electric night nearly four years ago with 35 million fans watching across the nation, Pete Carroll came within 19 seconds of winning a third consecutive national championship and establishing himself as arguably the greatest coach in college football history.

Even with Texas quarterback Vince Young’s fourth-and-5 game-winning dash in the 2006 BCS championship game, a case can still be made that Carroll was the sport’s top coach this decade. Carroll is certainly the most dominant coach in a major sport in the Pac-10 since the conference expanded in 1978.

Which is why the complete mess Carroll has made of the 2009 season has to be so baffling and ultimately frustrating to USC and its fans. And it could have been even worse. The Trojans are a couple of Oregon State personal-foul penalties and a handful of head-shaking decisions by Ohio State’s Jim Tressel from being 6-6.

A mess in whose eyes?

Sure, this season was disappointing but SC can't win the Pac-10 every year, I don't care how much talent they have. I am in NYC, not able to attend practice and even I can see that by losing 11 players to the NFL, starting a true freshman QB with a rookie college QB coach/play caller that SC was going to have a tough time living up to those expectations. That doesn't mean I was completely pleased with some of the things that I saw but now that the season is over and the whole picture has been painted it is not too tough to see where the problems were.

My problem with Reid is that he thinks that if Bates is gone things will suddenly get better...

As the clock wound down on the Trojans’ third loss in their final five games, Barkley was perhaps the most overrated player in the country, and it was largely Carroll’s fault.

Whether he was attempting to boost Barkley’s confidence — or perhaps shore up his own as he sent an unproven freshman quarterback into the season — Carroll’s endless hype of the former Mater Dei star created unrealistic expectations that no freshman, certainly not Barkley, could live up to. Carroll further compounded the foolishness of his endless promotion of Barkley by then placing Barkley’s future, and to a large extent that of the USC program, into the hands of someone just as in over his head as Barkley — Bates.

Barkley needed to be eased into the starter’s job. Instead, Carroll billed him as the next Palmer-Leinart-Sanchez-Elway-Unitas.

Barkley needed a teacher who would smooth his rough edges and elevate his game. Instead, Carroll handed him over to SlingBates.

Aside from Bates’ obvious shortcomings as a play-caller, his failure to develop Barkley alone should be enough for Carroll to help him find a job elsewhere.

Reid is out of his mind. Bates was in a no win situation.

Bates is the reason for all of what ills SC?

That is a huge mistake.

First, lets get this out of the way. Scott Reid is a known PC basher. He may be wanting to build his reputation or maybe become the next Scott Wolf. Are all Scott's related? Don't forget he is the one that called PC a hypocrite over the long bomb against ucla.

People like Reid are grasping at straws trying to look for one thing that made the season turn out like it did. If anybody can put their finger on one thing that went wrong this season, and that cures all, then that person is a genius and I want them to pick my lotto numbers this week!

Heck, there were a dozen things that went wrong this season. And for Reid to say that the future is doomed with Bates, after one season, is ludicrous. I have often said that play calling is over rated but I admit I was not happy with the play calling against Arizona. I wrote that I was "off the Bates bandwagon". I thought he relied too much on the pass on that first drive...we saw later on what happens when you pound the ball with some success. It opened things up. Bates admitted that he didn't call his best game...it happens. I may be pissed about it but it really means nothing.

But it isn't all Bates' fault.

I have heard that Barkley and his dad are actually quite happy with Bates. Maybe, maybe not, but he certainly comes with pretty good track record from the NFL.

SC had the perfect storm of things go wrong that turned it into a disappointing season by USC standards of late. If you go back and do some research you find very few teams who win the MNC go undefeated. We all know the system is bad but it is what it is.

Simply pointing to one person or one thing as the reason the season was a "failure" is extremely short sighted.

I was recently told a story by someone who was around back when Norm Chow was the OC early on.

He said the following...

"In order to win, you have to be very, very lucky, scheduling, injuries, a lot of things have to fall into place."

That is the truth...go back and look at that 2004 season carefully. SC was lucky to get away a few of those wins. They were not as dominating as everyone saw in the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma.

This year, absolutely nothing fell into place for the Trojans.

There was a grueling road schedule. There were a ton of injuries. We had to replace a lot of talent that went to the NFL, etc.etc

There is not one thing that went wrong this season that was the reason this team struggled. There were a multitude of reasons.

Maybe Pete Carroll didn't handle the the Corp/Barkley situation right. Maybe that led to some shifting in team chemistry, but he played the hand he was dealt. Maybe that was why he was so visibly upset when Sanchez declared for the draft. He knew what he had in Mustain and Corp and he knew that Barkley was going to to get thrust into the mix earlier than he wanted. How else can you explain Carroll constantly praising Barkley even in the face of average performances.

He did not want to blow the kids confidence.

Carroll isn't blind, he knows he has issues but he isn't going to let it play out in public. The one thing he has over everyone else is simple...he has all the information. He sees and discusses things behind closed doors with coaches and players that we will never know about.

I think it is fair to ask about the experience in the coaching staff. But PC is not going to hold anyone back from going on to chase their dreams. It isn't as easy as you think to get "top" coaches to leave where they are. Mack Brown had the same coaching staff in place for years and he only has one MNC. It simply takes a lot of things to fall in place.

Reid's piece is a gratuitous shot at Bates. One year is simply not enough especially with a true freshman QB at the helm. It isn't always going to go right.

Reid may get his wish as Bates is being linked to not just rejoining Mike Shanahan if he coaches in the NFL again but he also rumored to possibly take over as the OC in Chicago if, more likely when, Ron Turner is fired. I would be very careful what we all wish for...another change at the QB coach spot may not have the desired affect that everyone hopes....

.......and no Norm Chow is not coming back!