In the past 24 hours, three things have become clearer, as we inch towards the soft New Years deadline that Steve Sarkisian set to name his staff. Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast will not return, while Justin Wilcox will take over for him following Washington’s bowl game tonight. And, special teams and academic guru John Baxter will not be a part of the future staff, as reported by Gary Klein of the LA Times.
Baxter said he met with Sarkisian earlier this week and was told there was not a scenario that he would remain with the staff. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done collectively and proud of the work I’ve done at USC,” Baxter said Thursday night. “I enjoyed every day working there. I’m proud of what was accomplished on the field and academically.”
The Trojans currently have six coaches set to join Sarkisian’s staff.
Incumbent Clay Helton will stay on staff and likely serve as the Trojans’ offensive coordinator, while Wilcox will coordinate the defense, as mentioned.
Tee Martin returns as an offensive assistant, while Peter Sirmon, Keith Heyward and Johnny Nansen come from Washington to coach linebackers, defensive backs and special teams, accordingly.
That currently leaves four spots remaining for coaches. USC has been linked to Washington State defensive line coach Joe Salave’a, in addition to Washington’s current interim/bowl head coach Marques Tuiasosopo, who could coach either quarterbacks or receivers.
Running backs and offensive line coaches are the other two likely spots that the Trojans are still needing to fill. Current running backs coach Tommie Robinson could be in the mix, while reports have surfaced that Sarkisian is waiting until after the NFL season ends to announce an offensive line coach from the NFL.