Defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders is no longer a part of the Trojan coaching staff, USC head coach Lane Kiffin announced on Thursday.
News of this first surfaced earlier in the week, though at the time, no reason had been given for letting him go. On Thursday, Coach Kiffin gave an official statement on the matter:
“We wish Marvin Sanders and his family the best of luck,” said Kiffin. “Marvin did a great job for us coaching our secondary and in recruiting. But with the hiring of Clancy Pendergast as our defensive coordinator, we decided to go in a different direction based on Clancy’s desire to oversee the defensive backs unit.”
Many of the current players were extremely partial to Sanders, as were recruits such as the highly-coveted cornerback Jalen Ramsey. It is entirely possible that Ramsey could flip to Florida or Florida State with his position coach having been let go two weeks before National Signing Day.
Fortunately for USC, DBs Su’a Cravens, Chris Hawkins and Leon McQuay III are already enrolled.
Despite his popularity, it is not hard to see why Sanders was let go: under his leadership the secondary has been a liability, and they not only didn’t get better in 2012, they actually regressed. If USC is to compete against the potent spread offenses in the Pac-12, a reliable secondary is of the utmost import.
With Pendergast taking the reigns, the USC DBs can start fresh, with new talent and a new coaching philosophy that could mean all the difference between another season of groaning at the secondary play and actually having confidence in them, come August.