USC coaching candidates: Luke Fickell, Bob Stoops, Chris Petersen among names to replace Clay Helton

Clay Helton is gone and there may be one apparent candidate to exchange him. Luke Fickell was the most effective rent of athletic director Mike Bohn’s profession. That was at Cincinnati. Now Bohn has an opportunity to carry Fickell to USC on the top of his profession.

At age 48, Fickell has received 37 video games in 4 years-plus with the Bearcats. They performed Georgia to its knees within the Sugar Bowl earlier this yr earlier than a slim loss. Fickell has elevated this system to the purpose it was fascinating sufficient to be invited to the Massive 12.

He additionally gives self-discipline that Helton’s program appeared to lack. Solely as soon as since Helton arrived have the Trojans completed above a hundred and first in common penalties per sport. That is what drove followers loopy. Properly, that and erratic performances just like the one Saturday in opposition to Stanford. The week earlier than the Cardinal had been ineffectual offensively in opposition to Kansas State.

Fickell is apparent, but it surely does not imply it can occur. City Meyer was obtainable a few years in the past, however USC president Carol Folt didn’t present curiosity.

This can be a transcendent second for USC and the Pac-12. The league is preparing for a brand new tv contract. An aggressive new commissioner, George Kliavkoff, is determined for a turnaround. Helton’s case most likely wasn’t helped with Oregon and UCLA off to good begins.

Good, unhealthy or detached, USC is the middle of the Pac-12 and West Coast soccer. It’s the league’s premier program.

At this level, the subsequent rent must be somebody with head teaching expertise, proper?

Selling assistants has gotten previous at USC. Pete Carroll’s previous offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin, was fired on the tarmac in 2013 and changed by Steve Sarkisian. Sark flamed out in 2015. Helton, an assistant on Sarkisian’s employees, took over. Affiliate head coach Donte Williams is present interim coach however hasn’t a lot as been a coordinator.

Too early to fireside a coach? We’re well past that time now. UConn’s Randy Edsall resigned final week, little doubt below strain. Final yr, Southern Miss‘ Jay Hopson was fired after Week 1. Les Miles was fired by LSU simply 4 video games into the 2016 season.

The most important query going ahead for the USC administration is whether or not it’s giving up on this yr. If Helton was on such skinny ice, why not hearth him after final season? Pulling the ripcord after a 5-1 season is as questionable as doing it two video games into the subsequent season.

However right here we’re on the lookout for a substitute coach at one of many prime 5 packages within the nation for the fourth time since 2010. Listed below are the highest candidates.

Luke Fickell, Cincinnati coach: Fickell must be the No. 1 candidate contemplating Bohn employed him at Cincinnati in December 2016. Fickell has virtually single-handedly put the Bearcats on the map and into the Massive 12. With out that excellence, Cincinnati would nonetheless be a spot that employed Tommy Tuberville. Ryan Day is not going wherever anytime quickly. That is Fickell’s alma mater. USC is the subsequent greatest match at this level.

Bob Stoops, former Oklahoma coach: The thought has at all times been that Stoops would solely return — if he ever does — at a spot already set as much as win. That is why the ex-Sooners coach was thought to covet a spot like Notre Dame, USC or Florida in the event that they ever got here open. The longer Stoops would not take his title out of the operating, the extra he’s . Perhaps the one cause Stoops is not first is as a result of he is out of teaching and at the moment working as a TV analyst.

Matt Campbell, Iowa State coach: Maybe the No. 1 developmental coach within the nation. Suppose what he may do with the expertise USC attracts. Campbell has turned down important NFL curiosity. Insiders say he’d have an interest Notre Dame and Ohio State. USC is definitely in that orbit.

James Franklin, Penn State coach: One other coach whose title comes up for each important opening. It was Franklin’s Penn State squad that misplaced a bitter 2017 Rose Bowl to USC. Franklin performs in arguably the second-toughest division within the sport, the Massive Ten East.

Mario Cristobal, Oregon coach: The query is why Oregon AD Rob Mullens hasn’t prolonged Cristobal already after the Ohio State win. Cristobal will get that extension however may add a couple of hundred thousand {dollars} utilizing curiosity from USC as leverage.

Chris Petersen, former Boise State coach: I am advised Petersen desires again in, unhealthy. Petersen’s got here up prominently prior to now when USC coaches had been on the new seat. Like Stoops, he is at the moment biding his time as a TV analyst.

Kyle Whittingham, Utah coach: The disciplinarian USC wants. Earlier than Stanford started smacking individuals within the mouth, Utah was probably the most bodily crew within the Pac-12. Whittingham frequently overachieves at a spot that’s challenged by geography and sources.

City Meyer, Jacksonville Jaguars coach: Meyer is main an NFL team with the No. 1 total choose in Trevor Lawrence. So, why would he depart after one season? Properly, merely put, the NFL shouldn’t be for everybody. CBS Sports activities insider Jason LaCanfora reported Monday that there are already issues throughout the Jaguars group: “The lack to regulate to the professional sport. … Belittling coaches. Treating each setback as if it is the tip of the world. Morale was so low going into that [Week 1] sport, and there has not been cohesion amongst that employees, significantly between the school guys and the professional guys.”

Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban each spent simply two seasons within the NFL with Saban eyeing his exit to Alabama earlier than his second yr was even full. It is not out of the realm of chance for Meyer to tug the ripcord given his departure historical past at Florida and Ohio State. USC could be greater than a snug touchdown spot for Meyer if he decides his NFL experiment shouldn’t be value persevering with.

Cowl 3 Podcast analyst Bud Elliott breaks down the firing of Clay Helton beneath. | USC teaching candidates: Luke Fickell, Bob Stoops, Chris Petersen amongst names to exchange Clay Helton


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