Q&A with Norm Chow

WeAreSC.com caught up with Trojan offensive coordinator Norm Chow after practice on Thursday for this week's edition of "Inside SC". Click below for the Q&A:

Did you always know you wanted to be a coach?


"No, I was actually working to get an advanced degree so I could go back in to administration.  In order to help pay some bills I was working as an assistant coach and it just kind of evolved from there.  I would like to say it was different but that's the way it happened."


You have a degree in educational psychology, how has working with players changed over the years?


"Working with kids hasn't changed.  The game of football has evolved but working with kids, that's still the same.  Young people are still young people, they're eager to please and do well."


How would you attack a Pete Carroll defense?


"Slowly.  They're so extremely sound and aggressive.  I think you would have to pick and choose your spots and take your time going down the field.  They're so aggressive and they do a nice job of making sure everything is covered, all the spaces you want to run to are covered."


How would you describe the offense you use now?


"First of all it's not my offense, it's never one person, it's a group of guys who are willing to work hard and present ideas and then you work for a head coach who has an idea of what he would like to get done offensively.  Somebody has to make the call though and somebody has to be the one who coordinates it all.  That's all the coordinator really does is organize everything.  It's just a matter of trying to fit the people we have to the scheme we would like to run."


How does an ex-OL become known as a passing game specialist?


"I don't want to be known as something like that, I'm just a coach.  I remember when I first interviewed for a job and I asked the guy what he wanted me to do and he said "you're a football coach".   That's what I try to do is just be a good football coach."


You've had a lot of great offenses over the years, is this a different level of talent than what you've seen and, if so, what does it allow you to do different?


"The speed is different.  You do the same type of things but you take advantage of that talent by striking down the field more.  When I first got here I was dinking all the time because that's what I was used to but Coach Pete reminded me, "Hey, let's get down the field a little more" and it was because of the type of athletes we had.  You want to take advantage of the people you have. I think we've developed a style, one that the head coach likes and has been very influential with and I think we're gonna stick with it for a while."


Talk about the important traits of a quarterback?


"So much is expected of the quarterback, the maturity level and the ability to handle everything on the field.  You saw what happened with Carson and how well he handled things off the field.  It's such a good predictor of how someone will handle the situation when the lights are on and all the expectations are there.  You've got to have your life in control.  I always tell the guys there are lists in college football, lists for guys who miss classes or miss tutors.  I don't want to see quarterbacks on any lists, you're not a list guy.  You do what you're supposed to do.  If you're doing all the right things you'll be fine."


Is that the primary thing you're looking for when making your evaluation?


"Sure, because that's one thing you can't pick up on film.  You can only find out what kind of young man he is by talking to him and getting to know him."


Talk about the reception you and wife received at the USC awards banquet.


"It was touching.  This is such a transient profession, as you know. There's so much movement going on that I think people knew there was a chance we could be leaving and so it's nice to know that you're wanted. That happens when you're doing good though, I think the year before some people were ready to run us out of town.  It was really nice though, we take it and appreciate it and try to get the next team ready."


Can you describe the strengths of the four quarterback candidates?


"Matt Cassel has been around, he was around Carson for a few years and I think he's the most knowledgeable of how our style is concerned.  I think Brandon Hance is a tremendous athlete, you can see his quickness in the things he does.  Billy Hart is the same way in that he's obviously a natural athlete.  Matt Leinart, he's tall and really gifted with a feel for the game. I think they all have their strengths."

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