The probable move of USC head coach Pete Carroll to the Seattle Seahawks is having a national impact on the class of 2010 but Pac 10 schools other than UCLA probably aren't going to be the one's to benefit.
Carroll has always had the best of SoCal at his beck and call but he also turned USC into a national recruiting machine during his tenure with the Trojans.
Schools such as Notre Dame, Florida, Texas, and Ohio State seem to be the obvious beneficiaries of possible late USC defections rather than the UW's, Cal's, and Oregon's in 2010.
If you are "Tricky Rick" Neuheisel Christmas arrived a couple of weeks later this year. The departure of Carroll opens the door for the Bruins in their hometown and we all know that Rick can recruit. The absence of a Pete Carroll even though USC will hire a very good head coach to replace him gives the Bruins a shot at players who were always locks to be Trojans in their shared home town.
Just for example Hayes Pullard and Josh Shirley are two of the remaining players high on the Huskies wish list that were also considering the Trojans. Both were scheduled to visit USC next weekend and the word was they were leaning USC. Now it will likely come down to a battle between Washington and UCLA with the Bruins sporting the home town edge.
Don James secret to success was getting the best in the Northwest to stay home, owning the Bay Area, and Central Valley, and finally getting three to four guys who the Trojans really wanted every year to head North to Seattle. UW's Steve Sarkisian who has the 7th ranked recruiting class in the country currently is following that blueprint in only his second recruiting season.
If you ask me 2010 is looking a lot like 1976 in many ways. Steve Sarkisian is sitting in about the exact same position as DJ was prior to 1976. Legendary USC coach John McKay left the Trojans for the NFL. USC also went on probation for a year because of an academic credit scandal. That was really all the opening that Don James needed to forge his dynasty up in the Pacific Northwest and return the Huskies to the Rose Bowl after the 76 season.
Lets speculate on who will be USC's next head coach for a minute. When McKay left in 1976 the Trojans went right to the family tree and hired John Robinson who had a succesful six year tenure which included a 28 game unbeaten streak and a national championship. After Robinson left they hired Ted Tollner in 1982 and USC went on an up and down slide that lasted until the hiring of Pete Carroll.
Mike Riley - Oregon State
The Trojans came very close to hiring Riley last time around but because he could not get permission in time from the Chargers to speak with USC AD Mike Garrett the job went to Pete Carroll. This time the job is his if he wants it but the word we are hearing this morning is Oregon State is putting together a lifetime contract for Riley over the weekend.
Riley who was born and raised in Corvallis before going to Alabama to play under the legendary Bear Bryant has significant ties to his hometown. Sources are saying this morning that he is staying out but an offer in the $4 million dollar range from USC is on the way to tempt him.
My guess is Riley will stay at OSU.
Jack Del Rio - Jacksonville Jaguars
The former All Pro Trojan LB will be sitting down soon with Jacksonville management to discuss his future. Sources say the 48 year old is interested enough in the job to listen. Some sources even say he will jump at the job. He makes a lot of sense because he and the Jacksonville franchise don't have a lot of security at this point. Kennedy Pola is an assistant that would probably come with him if he gets the job.
When Riley turns down the Trojans Del Rio will be available to take the job.
Jeff Fisher - Tennessee Titans
Fisher took himself out of the running today by saying that he expects to remain in Nashville at least a few more years. The former USC WR is the NFL's longest-tenured coach with one team, and in 2007 he signed a contract extension through 2011 worth close to $6 million per year.
With a $6 million per year contract and job security he isn't going anywhere.
Jim Harbaugh - Stanford
Harbaugh has rebuilt the Cardinals against all odds over the last three seasons and like Riley some of his biggest wins have been over the Trojans. Harbaugh turned down Kansas earlier this year and signed an extension through 2014. Harbaugh enjoys life in Palo Alto but most think his future is at his alma mater Michigan after next season.
With Carroll leaving it creates more opportunity on the farm for Harbaugh who wasn't shy about challneging the Trojans.
Mike Bellotti - Oregon AD
Mike was offered the job last time it was open and if he wants another tenure as a head coach he could get this job if he shows interest and Mike Riley turns it down. Everyone knows that Bellotti can coach. Everyone also knows that he can still coach and most expect him to coach again. The USC job if offered may be pretty hard to pass up even though he is still married to Oregon.
Dewayne Walker - New Mexico State
Walker supposedly has been approached by Carroll to join him in Seattle. He finally got a head coaching job last season after being passed over for many years. He is a well known quantity in LA after his tenure as the UCLA DC. A combo of Walker and Chow would be interesting and has been discussed in the LA media.
Norm Chow - UCLA OC
Norm seems to pop up on every list out West for every opening and he never ends up getting the job. On his tombstone there will be the inscription "Always a bridesmaid and never the bride".
Kyle Whittingham - Utah
Word on the street is Whittingham has interest if Mike Garrett calls. Kyle pulled out of the Washington search early last season but USC is an opportunity that would be tough for him to pass up if he ever wants to leave Salt Lake.
They probably won't get this far down the list but as we have seen in coaching searches recently you rarely get your top choice.
Steve Sarkisian - Washington
A natural choice because he spent seven years at the school as Pete Carroll's wingman. Despite that he isn't in the top five of most lists circulating out there. Garrett has a track record of hiring out of the NFL and that makes Del Rio the front runner in my mind. I doubt the job slips farther than Jack Del Rio.
Sark said on Friday he is happy at Washington and people don't realize that the Huskies are his dream job. The decision by Jake Locker to return for another year in exchange for passing on immediate millions from the NFL is another huge anchor.
If anyone knows how the sausage was made at USC it is Sarkisian and Holt. Just thinking they are happier where they are now with sanctions looming in LA.
Sunday Morning Sark Update
According to Scott Wolf who covers USC for the LA Daily News Washington coach Steve Sarkisian was contacted by USC to gauge his interest but said he was happy to remain in his current job, according to sources.
Obviously USC is putting together their list of candidates and would like to have someone in place by the end of the week to take over for Pete Carroll. I think it is only logical that they would give Sarkisian a call to gauge his interest. I am sure they have been making quite a few phone calls across the country to do that. I still think Jack Del Rio will be the next head man.
Sunday Afternoon Carroll Update
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times is reporting that their could be some snags in finalizing the contract for Pete Carroll to coach the Seahawks.
So is this deal with Carroll now on the rocks? Only if you assume there was a mostly done deal in the first place, and it has become clear that those initial reports of an agreement were inaccurate in the characterizations of how much power over personnel Carroll might receive.
Now, the landscape is more clear and one side is going to have to give. Either Carroll is coming to the NFL without the full control he previously said was a prerequisite for making the jump back to the NFL or the Seahawks are going to hedge on the commitments made to the Fritz Pollard Alliance to secure an interview with Leslie Frazier, Vikings defensive coordinator.
Stay tuned because Pete has been in negotiations with NFL teams before and has pulled out after the terms were clarified. This would be a pretty interesting twist if Carroll doesn't end up coming to Seattle. Did Seattle jump too quickly without getting all their ducks in a row because of time constraints and the Rooney rule?
Carroll Resigns at USC and Ken Norton JR is following him to Seattle
According to Scott Wolf of the LA Daily News Pete Carroll has resigned at USC so it looks like the Seahawks and Carroll have come to an agreement. According to ESPN LB coach Ken Norton is also leaving to join Carroll in Seattle. Norton leaving won't help USC recruiting efforts. Not sure how much this will help the Huskies but Rick Neuhesiel was last seen dancing in the streets of Westwood.