"Coach (Norm) Chow, when we first got here, myself and (Steve Sarkisian), he really kind of mentored us," said USC head coach Lane Kiffin on his relationship with Chow during the time they were together on Pete Carroll's Trojan staff. "(We) spent a lot of time with him, a lot of nights in old Heritage, and obviously one of the greatest minds to ever coach college football."
The admiration the USC program continues to have for Chow is certainly mutual. During his weekly conference call, Chow said he has many fond memories of his time in Los Angeles. "It was a great time," he said. "We had a lot of success, the people there are outstanding. What you love about USC is their commitment to athletics and how everyone should be if they want to be like them."
Hawaii has opened their season three times versus USC, most recently in 2010. The Trojans have played the Warriors seven times in school history, winning all seven.
"We certainly understand the task that is at hand," said Chow. "No one has more respect for USC, Southern California, than I do."
The Trojans are heavy favorites to win the opener and have "an idea" of the plays Chow will call against USC. Despite being the favorite, Kiffin knows anything is possible when competing against a coach who is familiar with your schemes and that having inside knowledge of the other team can work both ways, "We've been exposed to him a lot," Kiffin said. "But he's also been exposed to us."
Hawaii's first-year starting quarterback is a familiar face in Orange County. Sean Schroeder, who transferred to Hawaii after two years as a backup at Duke, is a native of Laguna Niguel and attended Dana Hills High School. "He's waited a whole lifetime to play in (the Coliseum)," said Chow. "His big concern now is finding tickets so he can have his family there."
Familiar with both former USC quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart, Chow made a few comparisons to current Trojan Matt Barkley. "I think the only difference between (Matt Barkley) and Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer is, (Barkley) is 2 or 3 inches shorter than those two," Chow said. "But as far as being a young man, and I like to measure quarterbacks by the person they are, not only on the football field, but off it, I'm convinced that you can't be a jerk or a goofy guy and be a quarterback and (Barkley) fits that. He's a terrific young man and a great player."