Finalizing Staff At USC Won’t Be Easy For Steve Sarkisian


James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Exactly five years after hiring Steve Sarkisian as their head football coach, the Washington Huskies replaced him with Chris Petersen on Friday morning.

Yes, the same Petersen who spent eight seasons at Boise State and resisted overtures from the likes of Arkansas, Oregon, UCLA, and most recently, USC.

Petersen’s hire at Washington takes the coaching carousel and gives it a dizzy-inducing spin.

Sarkisian began assembling his USC staff this week by keeping Tee Martin, hiring Johnny Nansen and Keith Heyward, and then setting his sights on Peter Sirmon.

Noticeably absent from Sarkisian’s staff are Tosh Lupoi and Justin Wilcox.

Lupoi and Wilcox immediately became hot names at USC when Sarkisian’s hire was announced on Monday.

Despite being passed over for the head coach position at Washington, Wilcox still has a myriad of options available to him.

He could stay at Washington with Petersen, join Sarkisian at USC, or perhaps head to Boise State as a head coach, where he helped Petersen take the Broncos to national prominence.

It is believed Lupoi may ultimately land wherever Wilcox does.  With Wilcox likely to be a candidate to fill Petersen’s vacancy at Boise State, Lupoi could conceivably receive a promotion in the form of defensive coordinator for the Broncos.

If the two coaches go in separate directions, Lupoi may also receive consideration for the defensive coordinator position at Washington, should Wilcox leave the school.

Potentially losing out on Wilcox may not be the disappointment many at USC are predicting.

Current Trojan defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast is well ahead in a poll regarding who would be the best fit at USC.

Under Pendergast, the Trojan defense has become a force to be reckoned with.  One of their deficiencies however, was the inconsistent play from the defensive backs, some of which may be attributed to a lack of a dedicated position coach.

Sarkisian’s hiring of Heyward should provide a boost to solving that issue.

If the Trojans lose out on Wilcox, but are able to hire Lupoi, the duo he could form with Pendergast wouldn’t a poor consolation prize.

Pat Haden decided the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and hired Sarkisian over “outsiders” James Franklin, Chris Petersen, and Kevin Sumlin, among others.

Perhaps Sarkisian needs to look no further than the defensive coordinator already in place at USC.

Assembling a coaching staff is never easy, and in Boise State’s, USC’s, and Washington’s case, the challenge is much more difficult with each school is vying for the same group of coaches.

How the dust will settle is unknown, but one thing remains certain, salary raises are in order.