The Trojans have finally found their man to replace Monte Kiffin, as USC has hired Clancy Pendergast as the team’s defensive coordinator, per Joe Schad of ESPN, after USCFootball.com reported the deal imminent, yesterday. The 45-year-old Pendergast held the same position under Jeff Tedford at Cal from 2010 to 2012, after an NFL career that saw him hold the same post with both the Arizona Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs.
In Berkeley, Pendergast’s resume is highlighted with the effort of one game in particular, when he held the then-No. 1 ranked Oregon Ducks to just 15 points, one offensive touchdown and an astounding 2.9 yards per carry in 2010. Considering that the Trojans have been desperate to find answer for Chip Kelly’s blur, especially after giving up 62 points and 730 yards to the Ducks back in November, there’s a lot for Lane Kiffin to like in Pendergast.
Under Monte Kiffin in 2012, the Trojans were exposed multiple times at the hand of the spread offense, though they still lost manageable games to more conventional offenses like those at Stanford, Notre Dame and even UCLA, which runs a more pro-style based spread attack.
Pendergast is a believer of the 3-4 defensive scheme, the scheme that’s been linked to giving the spread fits. But, it’s also a scheme which raises multiple questions for the Trojans.
How will Pendergast work in tandem with defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, who thrives in a 4-3? Will USC’s defensive commits have a change of heart with a new direction? What happens to the Trojans’ existing defensive linemen and linebackers? Does Devon Kennard become a linebacker again? Does Dion Bailey move to safety?
What we do know, is that according to player on the defensive line, Ed Orgeron told the unit on Monday of the hiring of a defensive coordinator, and that they would play both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. That would seem to be a happy medium between Orgeron, Pendergast, Kennard, Breslin, etc.
And for now, the Trojans can look ahead toward solving those questions, with Signing Day looming and a big recruiting weekend just days away.