Q&A with Brennan Carroll

When Lane Kiffin was hired to be the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, USC not only lost its offensive coordinator, it lost its recruiting coordinator. There was talk among USC fans of Todd McNair, Rocky Seto or even Pat Ruel taking on the job. However, Pete Carroll called on his son and USC tight ends coach, Brennan Carroll, to take on the task of coordinating the Trojans' recruiting.

After talking to Brennan for about 30 minutes on Tuesday, it all made sense. He has a similar personality to his father and is more than ready for the job. USC's recruiting shouldn't miss a beat and the Trojans should once again compete for the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.

WeAreSC: What exactly are your responsibilities as USC's recruiting coordinator?

BC: The recruiting coordinator basically takes control of the recruiting team by allocating the staff members to different locations, organizing and setting up all the events that we do--and setting up official visits. Also, organizing all of the road trips and making sure all of the guys are going to the right spots to see all of the guys who need to be seen. Past that, there's just a couple of meetings each week that I run. It's a tough job to take with two weeks left in the process, but it was okay because Lane kept me up to speed and we had already targeted our guys, so it wasn't that bad.

WeAreSC: How much more time do you spend in the office with the recruiting coordinator responsibilities?

BC: It takes a little more time and a little more focus. I've been helping Coach (Lane) Kiffin a little bit, so he was kind of mentoring me on how things work. There's really not whole lot of extra work to do.

WeAreSC: Last year you seemed to hit the road quite a bit. Did you become more involved with the 2007 class than you were with previous recruiting classes?

BC: This past year was my second year in the same spot. The first two years I recruited different areas. You really don't get your roots into your areas in just one or two years. Once you get a good feel for your area after being there for a while, you have a better chance to get with the coaches, form relationships and it really helped being an out-of-state guy for the second year.

WeAreSC: You were the coach recruiting Ronald Johnson, correct?

BC: As we recruit players, it's the entire staff recruiting each guy. But I went to visit Ronald quite a few times, though.

WeAreSC: Ronald Johnson's commitment was a surprise, at least for us. Was his interest kept quiet, or did he pleasantly surprise you guys, too?

BC: When you get an out-of-state kid, it's always a surprise. I really didn't know what was going on until he called me two hours before his press-conference. We'd been in contact with him for almost a year. We were working with him, talking to him and got to know his family, all his brothers and sisters, and the surrounding community. When you get a chance to form relationships like that, there's a strong backing and the family can trust you. I was celebrating like it was a surprise, but we'd hoped to get Ronald and we're excited to have him coming in.

WeAreSC: Coach McNair has the East and we know you recruited Michigan last year. What regions do you concentrate on?

BC: T-Mac has the East Coast and all the way down to the southern states, and I've got mid-America and kind of the North East. We all kind of do it by committee in handling the West Coast and surrounding states.

WeAreSC: When Lane became recruiting coordinator he stopped traveling around the country until the final stages. Will you continue to recruit the Midwest and North East?

BC: Right now we're going to keep our areas pretty much the same. I'll still be out running around and recruiting throughout the process. You have to pay your dues before you can just take the local areas. It's a little difficult to organize from the road, but we'll be all over that and do things just like we did last year.

WeAreSC: Ed Orgeron was your dad's first recruiting coordinator and he obviously did a great job. Has their been any changes with USC's recruiting philosophy since he left for Ole Miss?

BC: We try to stay focused on the same stuff. The one thing that's changed since Coach "Bebe" (Ed Orgeron) started the whole thing, is text messaging--which is ridiculous now. Kids are also much more computer and internet savvy. The text messaging is a huge thing and it's sped things up a little bit. We have much more contact with the kids and coaches. In previous years, you could go all the way to May and not have much contact with a kid, and that's okay. But now, you have to contact the kids early because you're competing with everyone else.

WeAreSC: How many text messages would you guesstimate you send and receive each day?

BC: It's quite a few. I know our staff doesn't flood kids with text messages like I've heard other staffs do. When we text a kid, we're just looking for a little sound-bite information and to let them know where they stand. We try not to bug and overwhelm the kids too much--and let them make their own decisions.

WeAreSC: After the 2003 season, before being hired as the tight ends coach, you decided to move on from coaching and pursue other endeavors. Do you see yourself coaching football long-term?

BC: I don't know about that. I'm sticking it out with Coach (Pete) Carroll and I'm going to be here as long as Coach Carroll is here. We're just getting started. So, I don't know. I'm already getting gray hairs from this job and I don't see myself going into my 50's still doing this. I'm having a blast kicking butt at SC and I'm happy to be here.

WeAreSC: How close was Coach (Pete) Carroll to leaving SC for the NFL?

BC: I don't think very close at all. He entertains the people who come after him and he has a lot of respect for Mr. (Wayne) Huizenga, and he wanted to have a conversation with him. So, it's well worth seeing what he had to say.

WeAreSC: How difficult was it dealing with the kids and the rumors about your dad leaving SC?

BC: If there was one thing we would have liked to have happened, it would be to keep those private conversations, private. But we get hammered every time and every year this comes around about signing-day. All the other schools are saying that coach (Carroll) is leaving and they've been saying it for five years, now. We just have to go up against it. I don't think that really affects kids too much, and if it does, their commitment wasn't that strong or they didn't want to be here, anyway. We'll keep fighting it and it'll come up again next year, and we'll do it again--and be just fine.

WeAreSC: You guys obviously did a great job communicating with your recruits because all the guys we spoke to weren't concerned that your dad would leave for the NFL. The typical reply was, "The rumors come up every year. He's not going anywhere."

BC: Yeah, there was a lot of text messaging going on because the kids want to know, and should know. A lot of kids want to come to SC because of the great job Coach Carroll has done bringing the program back to what it was. And they want to be a part of that.

WeAreSC: What should SC fans expect to see from Anthony McCoy?

BC: He's going to be a threat. He's going to have a chance to make some big plays and he's going to be a real good pass catcher. He's come a long way with his blocking assignments and he has a chance to be a real good one for us. He's got a ways to go and he's got some good guys ahead of him, but he can handle all of the competition.

WeAreSC: SC signed one tight end in the 2007 class. Tell us about Rhett Ellison.

BC: Rhett's a great kid. We've been coaching Rhett since he was in the ninth grade. He would come to the camps and run around, and have fun. He's a real hard worker, really dedicated and a really smart kid. He's going to come in with a great work ethic. He's a strong kid and he could get a chance to compete early. We don't ever expect our guys to do anything else, but he has a chance to be really solid for us for a long time.

WeAreSC: Last year David Ausberry spent the season practicing with the scout team and he looked phenomenal. How is he progressing?

BC: He's doing great. Obviously, DJ (Dwayne Jarrett) left a lot of catches for the other guys by leaving for the NFL, so we're going to need some catches from the big guys over there. Patrick (Turner) and Dave Ausberry have both shown great things. They've made huge strides in their workouts and they're going to be competing next year. Dave Ausberry is a very very good football player, just like Patrick Turner.

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