The USC Trojans: Three Keys to Success

David HedlindAnalyst IIMay 27, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 04:  Head coach Pete Carroll of the USC Trojans throws a football before the game against the Oregon Ducks on October 4, 2008 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

This is part 10 of a 10 part series about what I see as three points for each Pac-10 team that will be important factors for success in 2009.

Reload vs. Rebuild

I truly believe that no school reloads like USC does. It seems like they have five star recruits growing on trees outside the Coliseum and they just go pick a new one when they need it.

This year they will be going to that tree to replace the quarterback and a whole bunch of defensive players, including two linebackers who were taken in the first round of the NFL draft, and another who was taken in the second. Along with those three, four other defensive starters are gone.

Now, every year they lose players and never seem to have trouble replacing them. I don’t know if they have lost this many players on one side of the ball before and it may be a little bit more difficult to replace all of them perfectly. I still expect them to field one of the top teams in the country.


New Coordinators

When Steve Sarkisian moved on to be the head coach at Pac-10 rival University of Washington, head coach Pete Carroll knew he would have to replace the offensive coordinator. What he didn’t know was that this would also eventually lead to him having to replace his defensive coordinator as well.

The new offensive coordinator is the former receivers coach John Morton. Morton had been the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator for USC for the last two seasons. He is very familiar with the offense and what coach Carroll will want and expect. There may still be some new wrinkles as he puts his own personal touch on the offense.

As I mentioned before, Sarkisian's departure also led to Carroll's need to name a new defensive coordinator. That is because Sarkisian was able to lure then USC defensive coordinator Nick Holt away to join him in the northwest.

Promoting from within worked for the offense and Carroll did the same for the defense. Long time defensive assistant Rocky Seto is now the defensive coordinator for the Trojans.

Seto has worked many aspects of the defense as a safeties, linebackers, and secondary coach. It is my understanding though, that Carroll—being a defensive coach himself—still has a pretty strong hand in the defensive play calling.


Um, It’s USC and Pete Carroll

Do I really need to elaborate?

Under Carroll USC is 88-15. Six of those losses came in his first year as head coach.

In 2008, USC won an unprecedented seventh consecutive Pac-10 title.

USC has played in a NCAA record seven consecutive BCS bowls.

They have finished each of the last seven seasons with at least 11 wins and ranked in the AP top 4.

The last seven recruiting classes have been ranked in the Top 10 nationally. Some services have had them ranked first a number of times as well.

To simply say they will be successful because they are USC and they are coached by Pete Carroll may have been all I needed to say from the start.