By Greg Katz – WeAreSC
The Obvious: On the day after the Trojans lost to Stanford for the Pac-12 title game at Levi’s Stadium, USC head coach Clay Helton fired four assists, including defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, defensive line coach Chris Wilson, secondary coach Keith Heyward, and offensive line coach Bob Connelly.
The Not So Obvious: Of the four assistant coaches that were relieved of their command, the least surprising was Wilcox. Before the Pac-12 Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium, more than a couple of scribes commented, as Wilcox walked by to go to the coaches both in the press box, how gaunt the former Trojans DC looked. The stress of the season had taken its toll.
The Obvious: The Trojans will be looking for a new defensive line coach.
The Not So Obvious: The departure of Chris Wilson wasn’t earth shaking. Wilson had the inevitable task of replacing former Trojans D-line legend Ed Orgeron. The former Georgia D-line coach gave it his best shot, but it seemed as though players remaining from the Orgeron era didn’t seem as inspired or as aggressive. The aggressive part may have as much to do with the earlier scheme as the coach.
The Obvious: The Trojans will be looking for a new secondary coach.
The Not So Obvious: Former coach Keith Heyward was certainly a focal point during the season, as his secondary was up and down much like the team. The heat was turned up with a secondary in shambles during the Oregon game when it appeared the Trojans secondary was racing around like in a four-alarm fire. Veteran observers and respected coaches couldn’t believe how wide open the Ducks were in the secondary.
The Obvious: The Trojans will be looking for a new offensive line coach.
The Not So Obvious: Perhaps the most interesting of the released coaches was former offensive line coach Bob Connelly, who arrived at Troy from Oklahoma State under a swirl of mix reviews. During spring ball, most of the offensive linemen praised their new coach. It looked the original controversy was being forgotten. Even former Trojans linemen gave Connelly thumbs up. However, much bigger expectations were expected from this line in spite of two earlier season ending injuries to centers, Max Tuerk and Toa Lobendahn. The rest of the offensive line seemed to have one malady or another.
The Obvious: Former Trojans linebacker commit Daelin Hayes (Ann Arbor, Mich./Skyline) announced his commitment to Notre Dame on Thursday.
The Not So Obvious: Well, that should spice up the Trojans-Irish rivalry just a little bit more. Of course, the Hayes announcement had to be announced through a slickly produced video. Will Hayes be missed? A lot depends on whom the Trojans sign in February, and don’t forget that current linebacker coach Peter Sirmon, a currently the lone holdover from the defensive staff firing purge, is also the Trojans recruiting coordinator.
The Obvious: Every bowl game gives its teams and players “welcome” gifts.
The Not So Obvious: According to SportsBusiness Journal’s 10th annual rundown of the gift packages provided by college football’s bowl game organizing committees, the Holiday Bowl will provide USC players with a cap, Fossil watch, and a gift suite. A gift suite is arranged as a private event in which game participants, and often bowl VIPs, are given an order form and allowed to select a gift, or gifts, up to a value that is predetermined by each specific bowl and not exceeding the NCAA limit of $550 per person.
The Obvious: The Trojans were hoping for a Rose Bowl bid, but lost that opportunity when they were defeated by Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
The Not So Obvious: Had the Trojans defeated Stanford and played in the Rose Bowl, their “welcome” gifts, according to the SportsBusiness Journal, would have included a gift suite; Fossil watch, Ogio backpack, and New Era fitted 59 Fifty cap.
The Obvious: Tickets have gone sale for the Holiday Bowl.
The Not So Obvious: Prices range from $35 to $135.
The Obvious: The head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers is Paul Chryst.
The Not So Obvious: You know you’re getting older if you can say you saw Chryst, a three-time football Wisconsin letter winner, at quarterback for the Badgers (1986-88).
The Obvious: There is optimism by the Holiday Bowl that the fan bases of the Trojans and Wisconsin will sell out Qualcomm Stadium for the Dec. 30.
The Not So Obvious: The listed capacity for Qualcomm Stadium is 66,000. The largest crowd to attend a Holiday Bowl was 65,416 for Oklahoma and Oregon in 2005.
The Obvious: Nearly half of the Pac-12 Networks All-Century Team (24) was USC Trojans.
The Not So Obvious: Really, it’s hard to argue with that large number. The O/NSO says there’s a reason the Men of Troy have had so much team success – national and conference champions, All-Americans, Heisman Trophy winners and high NFL draft picks. And did we mention Hall of Famers for both college and the NFL. It’s recruiting and great coaching.
The Obvious: And finally, Steve Sarkisian is suing USC because he was allegedly fired for his bout with alcoholism.
The Not So Obvious: As they say, the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.