The pursuit of Chow

It's supposed to be a week filled with rivalry talk and shouts of "Beat the Bruins" but instead the majority of conversation among Trojan fans today concerned the coaching future of Norm Chow.

It's supposed to be a week filled with rivalry talk and shouts of "Beat the Bruins" but instead the majority of conversation among Trojan fans today concerned the coaching future of Norm Chow.

The speculation at this point centers primarily around the vacancy at Stanford, a position that opened up yesterday when the Cardinal fired Buddy Teevens. The initial contact between Stanford and USC concerning Chow began two weeks ago during the bye week and continued this week as it was made known that Chow is a leading choice for the job. The timing of the search comes at a tenuous time as the Trojans prepare for a stretch run at the national title but it's one of the realities of college football, especially with a program that has experienced as much success in recent years as USC.

Right now all parties, including Chow, are being tight lipped about any details but this is a process that is expected to resolve itself quickly one way or the other. There are many reasons why Chow would make a good fit at Stanford and one major reason is the fact that he is the best play calling offensive coordinator in the history of college football. The numbers in the record book, and there are many of them, don't do him justice because you can't appreciate how good he is until you see his offense in action week after week. It's such a pleasure to watch an imaginative, unpredictable offense yet hear the players describe it as being "pretty simple". The plays themselves may be simple but it is the variety and order of the play calling, the way in which Chow sets things up for the future, that truly sets him apart.

Of course, his offensive prowess has been well noted by others as well and it's the reason he's being pursued. There have been opportunities for Chow to take head coaching jobs in the past but he has turned them down which leads some to wonder if he is content with life as an assistant coach. While he certainly enjoys life these days as the highest paid assistant coach in the country he has also made clear that a head coaching position is something he would like to take on under the right circumstances. There are some who say Norm doesn't have the outgoing personality needed to schmooze with alumni or that he doesn't like to recruit. Stanford is a unique place where he probably wouldn't need to do as much of the booster glad-handing required at most big time schools and it's also a place that recruits itself for many student-athletes. It stands to reason that the type of athletes he could get at Stanford would at the very least be better than what he had to work with at BYU and he was able to succeed under those circumstances.

One factor which could end up being in the Trojans favor is money. The Stanford athletic director has already said he will not pay a premium for a head coach but he will need to pay a lot more than what he gave Teevens in order to lure Chow. Norm knows how good he has it at USC right now with the talent at his fingertips and he isn't going to leave solely for the opportunity to be a head coach, the situation will need to be one that substantially improves his current standing and it remains to be seen if Stanford is ready to commit that kind of money to the position.

If Chow does leave there will be an obvious hole in the play calling duties for USC and the two leading candidates at this point would be Lane Kiffin (current WR coach and passing game coordinator) and Steve Sarkisian (former SC quarterback coach, currently with Oakland Raiders). Both have experience with this system and with these players so the adjustment would be a familiar one.

As of tonight there is no deal in place for Chow to go anywhere so all we can do is shift our attention back to the primary issue of beating the Bruins and making plans for Miami on January 4th. Top Stories