The start of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC had a rough introduction leading up to the game itself, but once the ball was kicked it was a completely different story. USC’s offense showed some new wrinkles as Sarkisian started to leave a new stamp on the Trojans. It was only one game, but a preview of things to come certainly seems to suggest the Trojans are going to keep the pressure on with their offense.
As noted in John’s week one round-up, USC ran 104 plays in a victory over Fresno State. The total number of plays is a new Pac-12 record, which says something given Oregon is in the conference and up-tempo coaches like Rich Rodriguez and Todd Graham are picking up the pace on offense. USC will not be running 104 plays every week, but the trend could see the Trojans running more plays than usual. For the sake of comparison, USC ran an average of 68.4 plays per game in 2013 (67.5 plays per game in 2012, 70.6 plays per game in 2011).
It was only one game, naturally, but the Trojans were on fire on offense. USC converted 1 of 18 third-down attempts and racked up over 700 yards of offense. Cody Kessler had a great game, passing for 394 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Javorious Allen led the way running the football for 133 yards. Eight different Trojans ran the football and 10 different players caught a pass as USC spread things around.
One other point to consider is USC’s offense looked far more promising than their city rivals from UCLA did in week one. Of course, UCLA flew across the country to play on the east coast at noon eastern. That is no easy task for any team from the west coast, college or pro, but the Bruins were sloppy on offense. UCLA’s offense was probably not as weak as it looked against Virginia, and USC’s offense may not be quite as explosive as it was in this match-up. Letting the schedule play out will provide more time to evaluate it all more fairly.
Sarkisian’s debut could not have gone much better.
You can add yet another name to the burgeoning free-agent quarterback pool.
Tuesday night, Nick Starkel used a tweet to announce that he has decided to transfer from Texas A&M and “will explore finishing my final two years of eligibility at another program.” Starkel will graduate from A&M this June, which would make him eligible to use the first of those two years of eligibility immediately in 2019.
Starkel was the Aggies’ starter to open the 2017 season, but suffered a broken ankle in that game that sidelined him for nearly two months. It turned out to not be a season-ending injury as Starkel returned to start the last four games of Kevin Sumlin‘s final season in College Station, a late-season stint that included a career-high 499-yard effort in a Belk Bowl loss to Wake Forest.
Entering the 2018 offseason as the incumbent, but with a new head coach in Jimbo Fisher in place, Starkel lost the starting job to Kellen Mond and played in just five games this past season — the first four of 2018 plus the bowl game. In those appearances, the redshirt sophomore completed 15-of-22 passes for a touchdown.
The A&M portion of his playing career will end with the Texas native having totaled 1,962 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions on 138–of-227 passing.
Barring a change of heart in the next couple of weeks, there won’t be a Primetime legacy in Tallahassee this coming season.
In October of last year, Shilo Sanders, the son of former Florida State great and College Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, received a scholarship offer from his father’s alma mater. three months later, the elder Sanders, a 2019 prospect, announced via video that he has committed to playing his college football at South Carolina.
The defensive back’s decision to commit to the Gamecocks came not long after a second visit to Columbia.
While holding an offer from FSU, Sanders chose USC over a group of schools that included Colorado State, Nebraska and Tennessee. He was also offered by, among others, Georgia, Oregon, Oregon State and UCF.
CSU was the only other school to which he took an official visit.
The elder Sanders is the offensive coordinator at his son Shilo’s school, Cedar Hill (Tex.) Trinity Christian High School. Shilo’s younger brother, 2021 prospect Shedeur Sanders, is a wide receiver at the school as well.
Shilo Sanders is rated as a three-star recruit on 247Sports.com’s composite board for the 2019 cycle.
Not long after losing a position coach to an SEC West rival, Joe Moorhead turned to an area of the country familiar to him to fill his Mississippi State staff void.
Tuesday, MSU announced that Terry Richardson has been hired by Moorhead to serve as the Bulldogs’ running backs coach. Additionally, Richardson will hold the title of assistant head coach.
Richardson will replace Charles Huff, who’s expected to move on to a job on Nick Saban‘s Alabama coaching staff. That move has yet to be confirmed by the Crimson Tide.
“Terry has coached running backs for nearly 20 years at both the college and NFL levels,” Moorhead said in a statement. “He has a firm grasp of our offense and will maximize the potential we have in our running backs room. Having played and coached in the NFL, he understands what it takes to develop players for the next level. Terry is also a dynamic recruiter with proven experience in the South, especially in the state of Florida. We are excited to welcome someone of Terry’s caliber to the Mississippi State family.”
The past two seasons, Richardson was the running backs coach at UConn. He’s also spent time in that position on staffs at Maryland (2015), Miami (2011-12) and again at UConn (1999-2010). During that first stint with the Huskies, Moorhead was that team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
From 2013-14, he was the running backs for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
“This is a great opportunity to work with great people at an outstanding university in the best conference in America,” Richardson said. “I am excited to reconnect with Coach Moorhead and work with him again. He is a tremendous football coach and an even better person. We will be well-versed on all five phases of running back play, and our group will maximize our opportunities to make a major impact in winning football games.”
After a brief foray in the NFL, Gunter Brewer is back in college football and, more specifically, back in the ACC.
Brewer was announced as Louisville’s wide receivers coach on Tuesday, completing Scott Satterfield‘s initial staff.
This will be Brewer’s fourth different tour of duty in the ACC. He joined the conference as a Wake Forest wide receiver in 1985-86, then joined the Deacons’ coaching staff as a strength and conditioning assistant in 1986-87. He returned to the conference as North Carolina’s wide receivers coach from 2000-04, then coached the Tar Heels’ wideouts again from 2012-17.
In between those stints, Brewer has coached wide receivers at East Tennessee State, Marshall, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss. He has tutored two Biletnikoff Award winners and a third finalist — Randy Moss at Marshall (1997 winner) and Dez Bryant (2008 finalist) and Justin Blackmon (2010 winner) at Oklahoma State. (Blackmon also won the honor in 2011, but Brewer was at Ole Miss by then.)
Brewer spent the 2018 campaign as the wide receivers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. His NFL stint ended with Alshon Jeffrey‘s drop against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional round.