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February 20, 2013
According to sources close to the situation, USC is in the process of hiring former Arizona Cardinals running backs coach Tommie Robinson as an offensive assistant, presumably to coach running backs.
Robinson spent the past three seasons with the Cardinals under head coach Ken Whisenhunt. In January Whisenhunt was fired after six seasons. Robinson and all but one of the Cardinals offensive assistants were let go as well.
After USC offensive coordinator and running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu was fired shortly after signing day, Robinson's name made our Offensive Coordinator Hot Board. While Lane Kiffin certainly had interest in Robinson, it appears that interest was for the open running backs position and not as the offensive coordinator.
Last week CoachingSearch.com reported Robinson was close to joining the staff at Utah State as the running backs coach and special teams coordinator.
While Robinson was an assistant at Utah State in 1992-1993, he actually recruited current Utah State head coach Matt Wells there as a player.
In 2011, Robinson helped Cardinals running back Beanie Wells set career highs with 245 carries for 1,047 yards (4.3 yard avg.) and 10 TDs.
Before joining Arizona, Robinson spent three seasons as the running backs coach at the University of Miami. He joined the 'Canes staff following a one-year stint as the running backs coach at the University of Memphis, while Clay Helton coached wide receivers for the Tigers. Prior to that, Robinson coached four seasons at Georgia Tech and one year at Oklahoma State.
Robinson also coached for the Dallas Cowboys, UNLV, TCU, Utah State and Arkansas.
Robinson was a three-year starter and captain at Troy State. He was a part of the 1984 Division II National Championship team. He earned his bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Troy State in 1985.
Combining the addition of Robinson with the hiring of Mike Summers as the offensive line coach (first confirmed by Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports) the open offensive coordinator position will likely be filled by current USC quarterbacks coach, Clay Helton.
Former offensive line coach James Cregg is expected to remain on staff and shift to coach tight ends, although no official announcement on Cregg or any of the offensive hires has been made by USC.
The additions of Robinson and Summers would leave USC with just one full-time assistant position open -- likely for defense. If Clancy Pendergast coaches the secondary in addition to coordinating, USC is still without a linebacker coach. Former linebackers coach, Scottie Hazelton, is now the defensive coordinator at Nevada.
As of now USC would be employing five offensive assistant coaches (Robinson, Summers, Cregg, Helton and Tee Martin), two defensive assistants (Pendergast and Ed Orgeron) and John Baxter as a special teams coordinator.
Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more updates on the coaching staff shuffle as Kiffin and the team get ready for spring football.