USC had a flurry of hires on Wednesday to Steve Sarkisian’s staff, including Tee Martin, Johnny Nansen and Keith Heyward. The biggest hires however, have long been expected to be Justin Wilcox and Tosh Lupoi, Washington’s defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, respectively.
The swipe of Wilcox and Lupoi would turn the hiring of Sark from one considered blasé, to an intriguing one with a ton of potential, both on and off the field.
But it’s not an easy process. Wilcox, who is considered to be a potential head coach candidate at Washington and elsewhere, has a big buyout making it difficult for the Trojans to poach him, as Adam Jude of the Seattle Times explains.
Steve Sarkisian wants defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox to come to USC, according to sources and other published reports. The $1 million buyout in Wilcox’s UW contract appears to be a sticking point. Will USC pay that? As of Wednesday night, Wilcox was still a UW employee, and we can confirm he interviewed with Woodward for the head-coaching job on Wednesday.
In addition to Wilcox, Boise State head coach Chris Petersen and Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier are favorites for the Washington job. As pointed out by The Solid Verbal, only four teams in the Top 25 currently are coached by external hires coaches lacking previous head coaching experience. Nussmeier would fit in that category.
Wilcox deploys a hybrid 4-3 that utilizes a rush end and has the ability to accommodate a hybrid linebacker-safety nickel back. In two years as the Huskies’ defensive coordinator, Wilcox has turned around a defense that ranked 106th nationally in 2011, to one that was immediately 31st in 2012.
If Wilcox were to land at USC, it would be a formality that Clancy Pendergast would not be retained.