Following an offseason of heavy turnover, USC has officially added three more assistant coaches. As expected, Mike Summers and Mike Ekeler have joined the Trojans’ coaching staff.
In a release issued Saturday night — which you can read in its entirety HERE if you so choose (no, there’s no injury news on it, so stop asking) — Lane Kiffn announced the additions Summers as offensive line coach and running game coordinator, Ekeler as linebackers coach, and Tommie Robinson as running backs coach and passing game coordinator.
Summers comes from Western Kentucky, Ekeler from Indiana and Robinson from the Arizona Cardinals.
Additionally, some coaches have been assigned different responsibilities. Quarterbacks coach Clay Helton has been promoted to offensive coordinator, replacing Kennedy Polamalu. Special teams coach John Baxter will also coach tight ends, and James Cregg will still now share offensive line duties.
“I am excited to have completed the reconstruction of our staff,” Kiffin said in a statement. “It was a very exhaustive and thorough process. Mike Summers, Tommie Robinson and Mike Ekeler bring extensive coaching backgrounds to the Trojan program. They all are looking forward to start working with our players immediately.”
Clancy Pendergast, formerly of Cal, was named USC’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach last month.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah