Scott Wolf of the L.A. DAILY NEWS, who Friday was the first to report that Pete Carroll had accepted the head coaching job with the Seahawks, is first with the news Sunday that Carroll has resigned his position as USC coach. USCFootball.com follows up by reporting that Carroll handed in his resignation tonight.
Two USC administration sources told me today that Carroll actually resigned last night over concerns that a delay in finalizing his new job in Seattle was wrecking USC’s recruiting class. (Which it was.)
So now what is USC looking at? Don’t ask.
The school’s top choice, Mike Riley, will almost certainly pass on the USC job. Oregon State also is now prepared to offer Riley a lifetime contract with the school.
L.A. and national college football media consensus has Jack Del Rio, who is once again on the ropes in Jacksonville, taking over for Carroll at USC - but only if he allows USC boosters to hire his key assistants. Names kicked around for Del Rio’s staff are Ed Orgeron, Norm Chow and Kennedy Pola. All three were on Carroll’s staff for USC’s championship run.
You might think that USC will have a war on its hands in trying to pry Chow away from UCLA, but remember that as a private school, USC is uninhibited in what it can pay Chow. State school UCLA doesn’t have that luxury.
As an aside, I’ve been told that when news broke out that Mike Riley was under consideration for the USC, UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel called Oregon State commits to try to get them to drop the Beavers for the Bruins.
As for Del Rio’s USC staff, most likely to be first in line is Orgeron, a recruiting ace who Del Rio once interviewed and tried to hire in Jacksonville.
One other tidbit for recruiting junkies: Del Rio played with Jim Jeffcoat with the Cowboys, whose son Jackson is a top prospect in Texas. USC has been on Jackson’s trail for some time now, and bringing in Del Rio would almost certainly ensure Jackson signing with the Trojans.
So why aren’t Chris Petersen, Jim Harbaugh and Kyle Whittingham gaining consideration for the job? Power brokers at the school know that hot coaching prospects aren’t going to want to deal with NCAA sanctions which are likely to hit the program in the spring. USC admins and boosters also know that Del Rio is desperate to take the job and will agree to give up a lot of control over the program, something Petersen, Harbaugh and Whittingham would be much less likely to consider.
Not to mention trying to followup Carroll’s extraordinary success.
Notice I haven’t mentioned USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett once in this post? Garrett is a figurehead who has little knowledge of the best prospective coaches. And even less inclination to do the homework that it takes to find out. I’ve been told that one of his suggestions for the job was actually Herm Edwards, which says it all.
When USC School President Steven Sample retires in August, I’m told the 65-year-old Garrett will be escorted to his car in the parking lot on the same day - with the school claiming that he “retired.” (Okay, the parking lot thing was an exaggeration, but he will indeed leave the school when Sample retires.)
As for DeWayne Walker, I was told Sunday that he hasn’t yet been contacted by Carroll about taking over the defense in Seattle, but that could change at any moment. It is also known that Walker, who is currently head coach at New Mexico State, won’t return to USC unless he’s made head coach, which is unlikely. I still think he’ll end up in Seattle as DC.
Here’s the kicker, I was actually told a couple weeks ago that Carroll was considering resigning back then, which I’m guessing was before he had any inkling about the Seattle job. (Who knows though, this could’ve been in the works for months.)
If that isn’t an indication of how much Carroll despised Garrett and possibly feared future NCAA sanctions, I don’t know what is.