Pros and cons of each USC defensive coordinator candidate

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As the USC defensive coordinator search drags on, each of the names floated out for the position comes with their own pros and cons.

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Who will USC tap to fill their defensive coordinator position? The Trojans appear content to take their time on that front.

The good news is that gives USC fans time to familiarize themselves with the apparent options on the table.

Here’s a look at some of the Trojans candidates and what makes them both desirable and undesirable.

Joe Barry

Joe Barry has been an assistant head coach and linebackers coach for three years with the Los Angeles Rams. His career has involved plenty of ups and downs. He was the defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins from 2015 to 2016 but was ultimately fired. It was a similar story back in 2007 and 2008 as the Detroit Lions’ defensive coordinator. He has also served as a linebackers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers, spending a year in between at USC, his alma mater, in 2010.


Barry has been a reasonably successful linebackers coach, which explains why he keeps getting chances as a defensive coordinator. In six seasons with Tampa Bay he produced seven Pro Bowl berths. In 2018 Cory Littleton was a monster for the Rams with 125 tackles, four sacks, three interceptions and 13 pass deflections.

Though his NFL results as a DC have been mixed, perhaps Barry could bring a different, pro mentality to the Trojans.


Barry’s stints in Detroit and Washington were bad. Very bad. To be fair to Barry, those organizations have had their issues and there’s a reason other coaches haven’t exactly found success there either. Still, the only reason Barry is apparently available is the Rams’ decision to pass him over to hire Broncos’ outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley as their new defensive coordinator, which says something too.

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