Silas Redd

Current Trojan would give up scholarship to make room for Redd


Exactly one week after NCAA sanctions against Penn State were announced and his name was first connected to USC, current Nittany Lions running back Silas Redd is expected to make a decision in short order as to his football future.

If as all the signs seem to indicate that he will head out west to continue his playing career, one current Trojans player would (grudgingly) take one for the team and make room for the talented back.

While not identified by the Orange County Register, the unnamed player told the paper that, if asked by the coaching staff, he would give up his scholarship in order to provide room on USC’s roster for Redd.  Because of its own NCAA sanctions, the Trojans are limited to 75 scholarship players this season; the Register writes that, based on its tally, the Trojans are right at that 75-man limit and would need to create roster space to add Redd.

The player, a former walk-on, used words like “heartbroken” to describe having to give up the scholarship he earned, but would understand if it comes to that.

The player said he would be “heartbroken” if it came to that because he had worked so hard to earn the scholarship. However, when the player initially received it, Kiffin explained that it was a year-to-year deal and that the player might have to give it back if USC’s roster limitations left no other recourse.

Although losing his scholarship would be a source of frustration, the player said he would remain with the squad. “I love this team,” he said.

The player said he understood the current situation regarding Redd and how his addition would improve the team’s chances to win the national championship. While hopeful of keeping his scholarship, the player would be willing to sacrifice it if absolutely necessary. I found his team-first approach to a potentially unpleasant situation admirable.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported earlier today that a decision from Redd is expected Monday.  However, Redd’s hometown newspaper, the Hartford Hour, reports that no decision is expected until Tuesday at the earliest.  Redd is currently headed back to the East Coast and will spend the day Tuesday talking over his decision with family and friends.

USC’s Max Tuerk already questionable for Notre Dame game

TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 11:  Center Max Tuerk #75 of the USC Trojans prepares to snap the football during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona.  The Trojans defeatred the Wildcats 28-26.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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As if the questions about the head coach’s future aren’t enough, now USC could have a rather significant issue in the middle of its offensive line to deal with as well.

Early in the first quarter of what would turn out to be an embarrassing loss to Washington Thursday night, Max Tuerk sustained a sprained knee. Upon further examination, it was determined that the veteran center would be unable to return to the game.

Not only that, Tuerk, who was wearing a brace on his right knee following the loss, is already labeled as questionable for what it in every sense of the phrase a must-win game for Steve Sarkisian against Notre Dame eight days from now.

With Tuerk sidelined for the remainder of the game, he was replaced by Toa Lobendahn. It’s unclear which direction the Trojans would go if Tuerk is a no-go this weekend, although Khaliel Rodgers, who had been dealing with a personal issue, has been Tuerk’s backup.

Tuerk has started 38 games in his Trojan career — 18 at center, 14 at left guard, five at left tackle, one at right tackle. Lobendahn started all 13 games as a true freshman last season, the first eight at left guard and then five at right tackle.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.