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IMHO Sunday: Sam I am

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC

In my humble opinion, cardinal and gold thoughts on what I see, what I hear, and what I think.

One man’s opinion: Former Trojans assistant coach Yogi Roth and now Pac-12 Networks analyst said during his network’s recent recruiting show that incoming quarterback Sam Darnold (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente – see above photo) is the signal caller he thinks Trojans fans should keep an eye on when he arrives in the summer. And Roth said he wasn’t trying to devalue Darnold’s competition, Ricky Town, who is already enrolled for spring practice.

Wishful thinking: The NCAA better hope that former Trojans assistant football coach Todd McNair isn’t as aggressive as late Hall of Fame basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. It’s doubtful that McNair will need to wait as long as Tark the Shark did when his case ended with an out of court settlement and a basic NCAA apology. Don’t count on McNair going this far without exposing the NCAA for what it has always been – pompous, self-serving, vindictive, unfair, hypocritical, and delegators of unreasonable and inconsistent punishers.

The waiting: It will be very interesting to see what USC will do when the NCAA emails and the like are released for public consumption. It would seem if there is a massive outcry from the Trojans community and college football in general, the powers inside the university will be faced with some interesting options.

It’s all academic: Pat Haden, the Trojans athletic director and former Rhodes Scholar, has to like the academic background of new offensive line coach Bob Connelly. Connelly was a three-time All-Academic All-American.

Memory jog: Honestly, I can remember a Trojans offensive line coach like Bob Connelly drawing so much scrutiny before even setting foot on Howard Jones Field. At least not since Mike Summers a few seasons ago.

Fairness doctrine: While there appears to be legitimate concern for the caution flags being up, I will reserve judgment until I see Bob Connelly’s first season. After all, he is inheriting an excellent group of young linemen and it would seem difficult to send them in the wrong direction. Of course, I gave Paul Hackett the benefit of the doubt when he was hired as Trojans head coach when my brain told me this was a disaster waiting to happen.

On the spot: Nobody is more on the spot regarding the Bob Connelly hire than Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian. If Connelly is a success, Sark will be vindicated and should be applauded, but if things go south, “I told you so” will be repeated a million times over. Okay, maybe not a million times, but you get the drift.

On second thought: Guess the potential concept of a Trojans seat license for season ticket holders is on hold until that first shovel is planted into the Coliseum grounds.

Williams report: According to ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper, Trojans departed All-America defensive tackle is going No. 2 to the Tennessee Titians in April’s NFL draft,

Thoughts: You have to wonder what freshman All-America offensive left tackle Toa Lobendahn must be thinking when he sees that Nebraska’s Randy Gregory is listed as the No. 4 overall first round selection on Mel Kiper’s ESPN top 32 prospects. Lobendahn did a great job of neutralizing Gregory in the Holiday Bowl.

Speaking of Toa: When Chad Wheeler comes back ready to go at starting left tackle in August, will Toa be moved back to left guard? And if he does, what does that mean for Viane Talamaivao or possibly even Damien Mama?

And now from the press box…

Just wondering: Everywhere I look it seems that the wide receiver position in the NFL draft is really loaded, which may be a reason why Trojans Nelson Agholar isn’t considered a first-round selection. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for Nelson to forego his senior season. Let’s hope it was a decision wasn’t made on pride that if you’re any good, you have to enter the draft after your junior season.

A good guy retires: Former Trojans defensive back Terrell Thomas and New York Giant announced his retirement from the NFL after an injury filled career that cut short what was promising to be a stellar career. Don’t fret for Terrell, he has his act together, and it wouldn’t shock us if he didn’t end up coaching. A true gentleman in very sense of the word.

A question: Is being an assistant coach at USC a steppingstone or a destination? Seems to me it should be a destination and not a steppingstone or lateral move.

A question – Part 2: I would like to think that Tim Drevno left USC and his hometown because of his strong relationship with Jim Harbaugh.

Repositioning: One of John McKay’s greatest strengths as a coach was to take players and reassign them to a different position. He was a master at it, so it bears watching if any of the heralded class of 2015 are reassigned by Steve Sarkisian to a new position.

Repositioning – Part 2: One of the greatest player relocations was when John Robinson moved an incoming safety named Marcus Allen to the Trojans backfield, first as a fullback then to a Heisman Trophy winning tailback.

The post-game show…

The Michigan man: As of the moment, there should be no real concern regarding Trojans 2016 linebacker verbal Daelin Hayes. As reported by WeAreSC recruiting specialist Johnny Curren and confirmed by Hayes on his own Twitter site, the kid is making a trip to L.A. this week and seems quite excited about returning to the Trojans campus.

The Michigan man – Part 2: However, Daelin Hayes was also quite excited that he not only got a recent offer from Alabama but talked with Nick Saban, as well. Of course, how does all this Trojan talk and Saban communication set with new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh? Presently, it certainly doesn’t appear the new Wolverines coach has a real shot at his state’s reputed No. 1 senior-to-be prospect.

Spring practice attendance: Apparently not all of spring ball will be made open to the public. Fans will be best served to check with the athletic department or subsequent news releases regarding open public practices.

Here come the Irish: The Trojans mid-October visit to Notre Dame is still a long ways away, but one local ticket agency is already selling tickets for $440 apiece.

Say what:
Although yet announced, the expected new Notre Dame offensive coordinator is Mike Sanford Jr., most recently the OC at Boise State and the son of former Trojans wide receiver coach, Mike Sanford Sr.

More Sanford: In case you were wondering about Mike Sanford Sr., the former Trojans assistant coach (1977, 1989-96), is doing now, he is the head coach at Indiana State after a stint as the head coach at UNLV.

Last add Sanford: Yes, Mike Sanford Sr., under John Robinson, was the Trojans wide receivers coach in the exciting 1996 Rose Bowl victory over Northwestern.

The final word: There were indications that current Trojans offensive coordinator Clay Helton had earlier interviewed for the vacant University of Tennessee OC position. You can exhale Trojans fans, the job was eventually given to Mike DeBord, former Michigan offensive coordinator and former head coach at Central Michigan, where current Tennessee head coach Butch Jones actually worked under DeBord.

Greg Katz

Now entering his 59th season of either writing, broadcasting, or just plain watching USC football, WeAreSC columnist Greg Katz began his affiliation with the website back in 2001, introducing his well-received O/NSO (The Obvious/The Not So Obvious) column and later adding his respected IMHO Sunday opinion and tidbits column. Greg, a former ESPN.com college football columnist covering USC, is also a member of the Football Writer's Association of America. He is also known in Southern California as a professional public address announcer, having called the the 1996 Rose Bowl Game between USC and Northwestern. Greg also holds a master's degree in athletic administration and was a former varsity high school coach of 27 years.

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