Morton Named Offensive Coordinator

USC Head Coach Pete Carroll announced on Friday that wide receivers coach John Morton will officially take over as the Trojans' offensive coordinator.

USC Head Coach Pete Carroll announced on Friday that wide receivers coach John Morton will officially take over as the Trojans' offensive coordinator.

"We are going to do John Morton as the offensive coordinator," Carroll said. "I'm fired up about how that works out for us.

"That was kind of our long range plan in getting Johnnie to come here."

Carroll had been leaning towards hiring from within his own staff in an effort to keep some continuity on the offensive side of the ball, and as expected, Morton is his choice.

"We talked over a few things and he officially gave me the job," Morton said with a smile. "I'm happy.

"Players have come up to me and said they hoped I would be the guy, so that makes you think you are doing something right."

Morton will replace Steve Sarkisian, who left to become the head coach at the University of Washington last week.

"I kind of saw that it might happen as soon as Sark's deal was finalized," USC quarterback Mark Sanchez said. "I think it's a great transition for this team."

The hiring of Morton signals that the Trojans will employ a similar offensive philosophy next year, as they have in the past under Carroll, which is based on having balance between the running and passing game.

"He gives us a chance to maintain our continuity, philosophy and approach like we always like to do," Carroll said.

While Morton will have the title of offensive coordinator, Pete Carroll has yet to decide if Morton will call the plays.

"We are still working that out. He is ready to do that if we need him to do," Carroll said. "I have got to see what happens with our next hire. He's ready to do that, but we will work that out in time.

"We have done this a number of different ways, and I have to make sure we got it all just right. To me that isn't anywhere near an important issue at this point."

Morton has served as the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator at USC the past two seasons.

Before joining the USC coaching staff in February of 2007, Morton spent the majority of his coaching career in the NFL.

The 38-year-old assistant spent eight years in the Oakland Raiders organization in various roles, working his way up to tight end coach in 2004, where he coached with Steve Sarkisian.

In 2005, he served as the wide receiver coach and passing game coordinator under Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego.

Morton was an offensive assistant for the New Orleans Saints in 2006.

With the offensive coordinator position filled, Carl Smith remains the frontrunner to take over as the next quarterback coach.

Morton said he would welcome the chance to coach with Smith.

"He's got a wealth of experience," Morton said. "I'd be a fool not to want a guy like that, and learn for him. It would be awesome."


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