Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC Coaching Staff: Grading the Keith Heyward Hire

Of all the coaches on Steve Sarkisian’s coaching staff, defensive backs coach Keith Heyward has the opportunity to have the largest impact.

Without a dedicated position coach last season, the defensive backs’ play was a erratic.  They managed to limit prolific pass-catchers Brandin Cooks, Paul Richardson, and Davante Adams.

Against Arizona State, however, the pass defense took their share of lumps. UCLA’s Brett Hundley also had his way, completing nearly 67% of his pass attempts en route to 208 passing yards.

Heyward was the defensive backs coach at Washington for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.  In 2012, the Huskies’ pass defense was ranked No. 23 in the nation.

Prior to joining Sarkisian at Washington, Heyward was the secondary coach at Oregon State from 2008 to 2011.

During his tenure with the Beavers, Heyward coached James Dockery, Brandon Hughes, and Keenan Lewis, among others, and all of whom reached the NFL.

With the potential loss of Josh Shaw to the 2014 NFL Draft, Heyward may inherit a young secondary.

Heyward will also serve as the passing game coordinator for the defense.

Final Grade: B

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