USC v Oregon State

Support for Orgeron flooding USC AD Pat Haden


The search for USC’s next coach is officially underway with athletics director Pat Haden already having an interview with Denver Broncos assistant (and interim head) coach Jack Del Rio, but with the Trojans turning their season around and coming off an upset of Stanford, the support for the removal of the interim tag on Ed Orgeron is growing.

“I had 136 pro-Coach O emails today,” Haden said in a radio interview on KFWB-AM Tuesday night, according to ESPN LA. “Those were just emails. That doesn’t count the tweets, letters and phone calls.”

Orgeron has changed the attitude of the football program in a pretty short period of time since taking over as interim head coach following the dismissal of former head coach Lane Kiffin. USC is 5-1 since Orgeron took over and the Trojans still have an outside chance to play for a Pac 12 championship, although this puts USC fans in the awkward situation of having to root for crosstown rival UCLA this weekend against Arizona State. USC has held four of their opponents to fewer than 20 points under Orgeron after giving up 61 in Kiffin’s final game. Orgeron was just named a semi-finalist for the Maxwell Football Club’s Coach of the Year Award and there could be more coaching honor considerations headed his way.

“What Ed has done has been absolutely remarkable,” Haden said in the same radio interview. “He is clearly in our eyesight. We understand. It’s not just the fans. We’re sophisticated enough and know enough about this to understand the attributes that he has, and he’s a known quantity.”

There are some pros and cons to Orgeron as a head coach at USC, and if USC keeps winning he will continue to gain support from USC fans and alums, but will he be the best candidate for the job out there?

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

Steve Sarkisian
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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.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
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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.