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February 17, 2013

USC Offensive Coordinator Hot Board



Since the end of the 2012 season USC has lost four assistant coaches while hiring only one. Offensive coordinator and running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu was most recent departure, having been fired by Lane Kiffin. We take a look at who is on Kiffin's short list to replace Polamalu and take over offensive coordinator duties.

Please note there are several options in place for Kiffin. The most important question is, will the new coordinator be "name only" like Polamalu, or will he take over the play calling duties giving Kiffin more time to focus on head coaching duties?
Candidate The Latest
Clay Helton
USC Quarterbacks Coach
Could Helton move over and become the play caller?
HeltonThough Matt Barkley appeared to regress during his senior season, Helton is still a strong candidate to take over the play calling duties if Lane Kiffin does decide to give them up. Helton already coaches from the press box and there were even rumors he called at least some of the plays for the Sun Bowl. Hiring the familiar Helton would make the transition from play caller to simply head coach easier for Kiffin.
Tee Martin
USC Wide Receivers Coach
Martin is on the offensive coordinator track, but is it too soon?
MartinAnother current member of Kiffin's offensive staff, Martin is a great recruiter that seems destined to be not only a coordinator but a head coach someday. Kiffin has familiarity with Martin and was grateful he stuck with USC instead of leaving for Tennessee, but would he feel comfortable enough to let Martin go up in the booth and call plays? There is also a scenario where Martin is named the offensive coordinator but not the play caller, similar to Kennedy Polamalu's role the past few seasons.
Pat Hill
Atlanta Falcons Offensive Line Coach
There is a Fresno State connection between Hill and Kiffin.
HillWe are hearing there is real interest from the USC camp in luring Hill away from Atlanta. Alabama is also interested in Hill, but not as an offensive coordinator. Hill told the Fresno Bee he was happy in Atlanta, but he does own a condo in Hermosa Beach and could jump at the opportunity for the better title and move closer to home. Hill would bring sense of toughness to the position, something we hear Kiffin would love to see.
Jeff Tedford
Former California Head Coach
Kiffin and Tedford go way, way back.
TedfordTedford got Kiffin's coaching career started as a student assistant at Fresno State. While Kiffin appears to be in a bit of the mess heading into year four of his contract, Tedford is someone he could rely on to help get things back on track. With the trusted Tedford in the booth, Kiffin could put much more focus on his head coaching duties and wouldn't feel the need to be pulled back to his play sheet.
Tommie Robinson
Arizona Cardinals Running Backs Coach
Robinson has many years of college coaching experience.
RobinsonWith no play calling on his resume, hiring Robinson would likely keep the play sheet firmly in Kiffin's hands for at least the start of 2013. Robinson had college stops in Miami, Memphis, Georgia Tech and Oklahoma State and in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. Robinson is more than qualified to coaching running backs at USC, but would Kiffin also give him the title of offensive coordinator?
Mike Sanford Jr.
Stanford Quarterbacks Coach
USC has not had much success going after Stanford coaches.
SanfordSon of current Indiana State football coach Mike Sanford, he started his coaching career at UNLV and is currently on his second stop at Stanford. For the previous two seasons he coached running backs and last season he took over as the recruiting coordinator as well. Sanford was the passing game coordinator for Western Kentucky but has been an offensive coordinator. He could go back to running backs at USC and get a bump to the OC, but would be unlikely to start as the play caller.
Randy Fichtner
Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterbacks Coach
Fichtner coached at USC back in 1988.
FichtnerFichtner is a former offensive coordinator in college but he spent the past six seasons as a Steelers assistant, first as a wide receivers coach and currently as the quarterbacks coach. Fichtner has ties to the current USC staff, having coached at Memphis with Clay Helton. To lure Fichtner away from the NFL Kiffin would likely need to give him not only the offensive coordinator title, but play calling duties as well.
Eric Bieniemy
Kansas City Chiefs Running Backs Coach
Would Bieniemy return to the Pac-12?
BieniemyBieniemy spent the past three seasons as Colorado's offensive coordinator, but last month was hired to coach running backs for the Chiefs. He also had stints coaching at UCLA and the Minnesota Vikings before returning to his alma mater. Kiffin made a run at Bieniemy before, so there is no reason he wouldn't again. It would give Bieniemy a chance to call plays with legitimate offensive talent, a much different situation than he had in Boulder.
Maurice Carthon
Former Arizona Cardinals Assistant Head Coach
Plenty of NFL and offensive coordinator experience.
CarthonWhen Andy Reid was hired by the Chiefs, Carthon was not retained as the assistant head coach. He was up for a position in the Cardinals organization but that didn't work out and he is still on the market. Carthon has been coaching in the NFL since 1994, mostly as a running backs coach and three different stints as an offensive coordinator. The question is would Kiffin hand the offense over to a coordinator with no college coaching experience?
Mike Groh
Alabama Wide Receivers Coach
Groh is a former ACC offensive coordinator.
GrohSon of the former Virginia head coach Al Groh, Mike got into coaching in 2000 after his playing days as a quarterback. He coached at his alma mater for eight seasons including three years as the offensive coordinator. After spending the past two seasons at Alabama as the wide receivers coach, Groh could move back into a coordinator role with USC, or share duties with another member of the staff.
Frank Wilson
LSU Running Backs Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Wilson is one of the best recruiters in the country.
WilsonThe former Rivals.com recruiter of the year worked under Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss. His ability to recruit top talent would certainly appeal to Kiffin and his history working with star running backs would fill the void left by Polamalu. But with no offensive coordinator experience, if Wilson comes aboard it would likely be in a role where he helps run the offense but someone else calls the plays, similar to Polamalu's role.
Adrian Klemm
UCLA Offensive Line Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Would Kiffin go after a cross-town Rival?
KlemmKlemm was named the Pac-12 recruiter of the year by Rivals.com, helping build a top-10 class for UCLA. There were rumors about Klemm/USC interest before signing day, but that could have simply been recruiting gamesmanship. It is unlikely that Klemm would be asked to call plays, but he could still hold that offensive coordinator title, coach the offense line and be another great recruiter for Kiffin's staff that started strong, but struggled at the finish on signing day.


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