Steve Sarkisian Takes Leave of Absence as USC Football Coach


Just a few days after the USC football team lost to an unranked Washington team 17-12 at the LA Coliseum despite being 17-point favorites, head coach Steve Sarkisian is going on a leave of absence to reportedly seek treatment.

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The initial report came from Lindsey Thiry of the Los Angeles Times:

This comes less than two months after Sarkisian was in hot water over an incident at Salute to Troy, in which he was seen inebriated in front of boosters, family and players.

Was it tied to that? Was it tied to performance? According to Joe Schad of ESPN, Sarkisian will seek treatment.

Under Sarkisian, the Trojans have underachieved. They have been 12-6 over the course of two seasons, including a 5-4 record when being deemed double-digit favorites. Thursday’s loss to Washington wasn’t just an irregular outing from the Trojans, but a sign of how consistently inconsistent USC has been.

The Trojans lost to Stanford 41-31 on September 19, only to bounce back in impressive fashion with a 42-14 beat down of Arizona State the week after. It appeared that things were moving in the right direction and they had turned a corner, and then the Washington game happened.

Where does USC go from here? Clay Helton will be the interim head coach for now, as he was during the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl. The Trojans won that game 45-20 over a Fresno State team that entered with a 12-1 record, just shy of going to a BCS bowl.

USC has six days to prepare for arch-rival Notre Dame, whom they will face in South Bend at Notre Dame Stadium next Saturday night.

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