O/NSO - Transition edition

Following one of the most difficult weeks in recent Trojan memory, Pete Carroll's decision to forego any further NFL fantasies and return as head coach eased some of the cardinal and gold pain and helped in the personnel transition as two-time junior All-America Dwayne Jarrett did the expected by declaring for early entry to the NFL.

The Obvious – Following one of the most difficult weeks in recent Trojan memory, Pete Carroll's decision to forego any further NFL fantasies and return as head coach eased some of the cardinal and gold pain and helped in the personnel transition as two-time junior All-America Dwayne Jarrett did the expected by declaring for early entry to the NFL.

The Not So Obvious – Nothing could take away from the pain and hurt of the passing of beloved junior kicker Mario Danelo, but Carroll's recent announcement or should we say series of recent two-day announcements came as both a relief and a revelation. Coach Charisma is again committed to laying further groundwork to his own legacy as potentially one of college football's all-time coaches. Although the feeling here is that it should have taken just one day to upon his return from Costa Rica to set the record straight, the bottom line is that Carroll is staying and that is disastrous news for future Trojan opponents, both on the field and immediately in the recruiting arena.

The Obvious – The return of Pete Carroll all but solidifies the Trojans as the 2007 pre-season No. 1 team in the country, a title that many of Carroll's players believe was possible this past season had it not been for that school in Westwood.

The Not So Obvious – Those ESPN GameDay entertainers, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit, agree that it's the Men of Troy that will enter next season's campaign as top dog, citing the return of quarterback John David Booty, an immoveable defense, and another recruiting class for the ages. Corso says it's USC, LSU, Michigan, Texas, and West Virginia while Herbie calls it USC, LSU, Florida, Michigan, and do you believe Rutgers? Sports Illustrated also says it the Trojans in 2007.

The Obvious – Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt has signed a four-year contract to become the new head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

The Not So Obvious – Okay, guess that officially ends the Pete Carroll Arizona speculation (yuck, yuck). Still no final word on a Miami selection, Mr. Wayne, but what time does the Carroll to San Diego rumors begin? Hey, what would a week in Troyville be without a new Pete Carroll rumor? Relax, coach isn't going anywhere and if he did, he would have to change his name to Nick Saban and somehow he just doesn't look like a Saban to us. However, could a game between the Trojans and the Crimson Tide be far off? Now that would be a hoot and who wouldn't try to make it down to the Land of the Bear?

The Obvious – All-America receiver Dwayne Jarrett declares for the NFL in a teary press conference in Heritage Hall.

The Not So Obvious – Well, it looks like there will be work to be done at the receiver position came spring ball. The player that will be under the microscope will be junior Patrick Turner, who came out of Tennessee as the nation's top prep receiver. Some believe that Patrick will need to step up his game to rise to the level of receivers in the Pete Carroll era, but if his game against Washington, where he had 12 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, is any indication, the Trojans should be in good shape if they can find a "Steve Smith" clone to spread the receiving wealth so help me Vidal Hazelton.

The Obvious Martin Coleman, the mammoth offensive tackle from Huntington Beach Edison High, is now enrolled and attending spring semester classes.

The Not So Obvious – A breath of positive news and following in the footsteps of some previous Trojans, Coleman, 19, felt he was ready to forego his high school spring semester and ready himself immediately for spring ball with the Men of Troy. In a Q&A with the OC Register, Martin said, "I had enough credits in high school to graduate early, so I didn't see any point in staying back in high school. I just figured I'd graduate early, get a head start, and win a starting spot on the football team."

The Obvious – Junior tailback Chauncey Washington again has announced he will return for his senior year.

The Not So Obvious – It will be behoove CW to come to spring and summer camp in the best shape of his life. With another anticipated huge haul of incoming freshmen running back stars and the added experience of sophomores-to-be like C.J. Gable, Alan Bradford, and Emmanuel Moody, Washington will be in deep in competition. The O/NSO says watch out for Bradford, whose knowledge at running back will soon match his natural ability.

The Obvious – Defensive end Jeff Schweiger has asked for a release and will transfer to another school.

The Not So Obvious – What a shame this kid, who had so much potential, wasn't able to achieve the promise that so many had for Big Jeff. If there is a moral to this story, it's the fact that when former defensive line coach Ed Orgeron left for Mississippi, this kid never seemed the same. Whatever were his issues at Troy, the O/NSO wishes him luck in the balance of his football career. Might he end up at San Jose State, where his father, Jeff Sr. played, or is there a chance of reuniting with Oregron at Mississippi?

The Obvious – Hot rumors that that Trojan offensive and recruiting coordinator Lane Kiffin was in the fast lane to become the Minnesota Golden Gophers' new head coach appears to have turned out to be just that as Minnesota has, according to media sources, hired Denver Broncos tight ends coach Tim Brewster as head coach.

The Not So Obvious – Before Kiffin gets too depressed about the losing UM job, he might keep in mind comments from recent Gopher quarterback coach Tony Peterson, who worked under recently fired Glen Mason. In an article in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Peterson said, "I think we tried about as hard as we could. But the kids just decided they were going to Notre Dame and USC. People can say we should have done a better job. But we worked hard on those kids. It gets tough when Minnesota produces only 10 to 12 Division I recruits a year."

The Obvious – Trojan associate head coach Steve Sarkisian is in the poll position to be the next head coach for the Oakland Raiders.

The Not So Obvious – Who knew? Reports from everywhere and anywhere say that "Sark" is next in line as one of Al Davis' newest puppets. If Sarkisian is the final answer for the Raiders, it'll be Lane Kiffin calling the Trojans' offense by himself, except for Pete Carroll's imput. If the Sark scenario doesn't take place, the Trojan offensive figures to be stronger next year, especially after Carroll admitted he took the ball and chain off of Kiffin and Sarkisian and allowed them to navigate the big Michigan passing extravaganza in the Rose Bowl.

The Obvious – Sophomore running back Michael Coleman has been academically dismissed from school.

The Not So Obvious – It certainly appears that Coleman's feature is a bit uncertain. The wonderful athlete from the Inland Empire has certainly had his share of unfortunate injuries almost from the outset. With perhaps a higher level of running backs coming in from the prep ranks to go along with the current stable of young thoroughbreds, one wonders if Michael does make it back, will he continue to be a tailback and this isn't taking into consideration his ongoing health and academic issues.

The Obvious – Trojan junior All-Pac-10 linebacker Keith Rivers held a news conference on last week to announce he is returning to Troy for his senior year.

The Not So Obvious – Since everybody is making announcements these days, after careful consideration with the Miami Dolphin and Arizona Cardinal Scout.com websites, the O/NSO would like to announce that we are planning on returning to WeAreSC for the 2007 season.

The ObviousDaryl Gross, athletic director at Syracuse University and former Trojans assistant athletic director, says he has a handshake deal with Trojan athletic director Mike Garrett for a two-game series in football and a two-game series in men's basketball.

The Not So Obvious – Okay, last one to the 26-year-old Carrier Dome is an Orangeman. So who plays where in the first game of this handshake home and home series? One good thing about a trip to the central region of New York State, in what figures to be late August or early September, at least it will be in the Great Indoors of the largest college structure of its kind in the country. Want a sneak preview of the 50,000-seat (48,700 are aluminum seats –ouch!) Carrier Dome for football? The Dome, which is probably better known for Jim Boeheim's basketball teams, will host the Washington Huskies in 2007 football opener.

The Obvious – Freshman running back Stafon Johnson has surgery to tighten a previously dislocated shoulder.

The Not So Obvious – A very interesting development to say the least. Stafon, who seemed to be in Pete Carroll's doghouse from the outset, will be another question mark heading into spring ball, if he is healthy enough to participate. With a year of maturity and hopefully a repaired shoulder, Johnson will be in a dogfight of competition one way or the other. Is he a tailback, fullback, or a potential strong safety? Can he live up to his high expectation? You can bet the Dorsey fans will be rooting for No. 13. Perhaps one change for Johnson might be that unlucky number, but then there's the old saying, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

The Obvious – Most experts are inclined to believe that the Trojan will be the No. 1 team in the country, with the only junior class star loss being All-America wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett.

The Not So Obvious – One of the Trojans' chief competitors for next year's national championship is Florida, which is feeling the effects of their championship with a number important juniors announcing they are entering this spring's NFL draft. Feared junior defensive end Jarvis Moss said he will enter the NFL draft and will be joined by corner Ryan Smith, standout linebacker Brandon Siler, and All-America safety Reggie Nelson.

The Obvious – Trojan commit Everson Griffen, who now assumes the Scout.com position as the nation's No. 1 player, took a recruiting visit to Florida this past weekend.

The Not So Obvious – Here we go again….not. The O/NSO would bet your paycheck or at least Scott Schrader's on Griffen holding true with the Trojans. In recruiting, it's never over till it's over, but you can warm up the bus on this one or did you forget that Pete Carroll, the best "closer" in America, is the bus driver? Folks, put the Advil back in the medicine chest. Griffen, who will be in town this weekend to help in further Trojan recruiting, can you say Joe McKnight, knows there is no Coliseum tunnel to run down at "The Swamp."

The Obvious – The Trojan athletic departments has posed the following question: "USC Football has the opportunity to play the game at Arizona State on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2007. Before we make this scheduling change, we would like to get your feedback. Would you be in favor of the USC Football team playing this game on Thanksgiving Day?"

The Not So Obvious – Turkey in Tempe? Thanksgiving on Thursday is fine for sitting on the couch and watching traditional NFL rivalries, but let's leave it to the professionals to earn their paycheck. If we had a vote, it would be a resounding, "No!" Let the pros take their families on a Thanksgiving Day roadie. Do the Trojans really need to play on Thanksgiving for television exposure and against Arizona State, no less? "Nay" is the O/NSO answer, especially on the road. Of course a Thanksgiving night game at the Coliseum might appealing, so help me Dennis Erickson.

The ObviousAnd finally, recruiting finality and spring ball are all on the upcoming horizon.

The Not So Obvious – Considering the tumultuous activity of last week, Trojan fans needed a vacation as badly as Pete Carroll. From heart felt pain to program turbulence, it was a most trying week. It was also certainly a time of reflection and this week brings a welcome a chance to catch your breath. Troy is still standing and cardinal and gold life goes on. So what time does Joe McKnight fly into LAX on Friday?


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