USC held its first bowl preparation practice on Monday and for the third time in the 2013 season, it was under a new head coach.
Clay Helton, the current man-in-charge led the Trojans through practice as they prepare for the Las Vegas Bowl against Fresno State on Dec. 21.
Newly hired Steve Sarkisian was in attendance for a portion practice, but didn’t coach. Sarkisian, along with the new assistants he hired, are unable coach players, but can recruit for the 2014 class.
Prior to leaving practice, Sarkisian spoke to the media and shared new information regarding the pending hires needed in order to complete his staff.
Sarkisian said he is close to finalizing his staff, and has already informed the assistants who will not be retained of his decision.
Of which, names were not provided.
Given Sarkisian’s rumored interest in hiring Tosh Lupoi and Justin Wilcox away from Washington, current Trojan defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast appears to a likely candidate who may be dismissed.
However, hiring both Lupoi and Wilcox could prove to be difficult, and if only one comes to USC, particularly if it is Lupoi, Pendergast may then be kept on staff in his current position.
Thus far Sarkisian has hired three assistants, Keith Heyward, Johnny Nansen, and Peter Sirmon, who were with him in Washington, and retained USC wide receivers coach Tee Martin.