Steve Sarkisian, USC head coach roundtable: Are the Trojans back?

Stephen Dunn

What are your thoughts on Sark at USC??

Nam Le: And I quote myself: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

But seriously, USC can do better.

Ruey Yen: Don't make much sense to me, but maybe I can redirect some of my dislike of Washington in recent years, mostly for that coaching staff, back to USC when all the coaching changes are settled.

LeonPowe: We're not in much of a position to laugh at other programs with the year we've had, but it feels like USC could've done a lot better with their brand name and southern California and tradition. Can't say I'm sad about it though.

Berkelium97: I originally wanted USC to keep Orgeron because they could have hired a better coach than him. They didn't keep Orgeron, but they managed to find someone substantially worse than Orgeron! This is a comedy of errors, particularly in light of Bruce Feldman's quote that O has won 6 conference games in his short tenure. Sark has never won more than 5 conference games in a season. Let that one sink in for a moment.

TwistNHook: I do not see the allure of Sark. He had a fairly talented UW team and he consistently won 7 games with it. Kiffin's worst years were better than his best. What is it about him that really provided a clear advantage over the alternatives here? I guess USC just wanted a USC guy to be their head coach. That doesn't always work best, in my view.

Vlad Belo: I was surprised to see that USC hired Sark. I thought this would be USC's time to make a big splash hire. This is USC, one of the legaciest of legacy programs in college football. Whatever we think of USC as a rival, the fact of the matter is that USC head coach is a great job. I thought they'd get one of the bigger names that propped up in their search, like Chris Petersen or James Franklin, guys who have shown great track records. I also would have understood a guy like Jack Del Rio: he's a good coach with USC ties. Sark struck me as an effort to keep one foot in the 2000s glory days.

TwistNHook: I agree 100%, Vlad Belo. It's like they wanted to get the band back together. They wanted Coach O and Sark to be there together just like old times. O wouldn't accept the demotion and is moving on, partially ruining their plan.

Avinash Kunnath: Uninspiring hire, but it could work. I'm just not really sold on offense being the thing USC needs to improve upon to become a perennial power again. Sark isn't Kiffin in temperament, but in terms of overall control it's still the same dealio. He'll call the plays. He'll run the offense. He might be a better playcaller, but were you ever impressed with Washington's offenses after Nussmeier left for the Tide? I never quaked in fear at playing against him, even if we never beat him (three of our losses were coin flips).

The big question is whether Sarkisian can recruit the way Kiffin and Orgeron did the last few years. It also remains to be seen if Justin Wilcox and Tosh Lupoi join the crew, as they have complicated buyouts that the Trojans might not be willing to pay. Sark does have roots in the Los Angeles area that I imagine he'll try and capitalize on immediately.

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