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Category: Lane Kiffin

USC football: Lane Kiffin officially announces hiring of two coaches


USC Coach Lane Kiffin made it official, announcing the hiring of Scottie Hazelton as linebackers coach and Marvin Sanders as defensive backs coach.

The announcement was a formality since both coaches agreed to terms last week.

Hazelton, 38, was defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at North Dakota State. Sanders, 44, coached defensive backs at Nebraska and had recently been named defensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic.

“We are delighted to add Marvin and Scottie to the Trojan Family," Kiffin said in a statement. "Both not only have made their marks while coaching their respective positions, but both have been collegiate defensive coordinators, and that should help us tremendously.

"Marvin had great success coaching the defensive backs at Nebraska, and we believe that will translate well to our secondary, which is the most critical area we need to improve upon in 2012.  Scottie is coming to us after helping North Dakota State win the NCAA FCS championship and coordinating a defense that led the nation in scoring defense in 2011, after it was 90th in that category before he took it over just two years ago."

USC is expected to officially announce the hiring of Tee Martin as receivers coach in a few days. Martin was interviewed at USC on Monday and agreed to join the staff on Wednesday.

Kiffin's staff is now complete for spring practice, which begins March 6.


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-- Gary Klein

Photo: USC Coach Lane Kiffin. Credit: Christina House / For The Times

College football: USC Coach Lane Kiffin tries to raid UCLA staff

Lane Kiffin

The tug of war between UCLA and USC reached a new flash point this month when Trojans Coach Lane Kiffin tried to lure Bruins assistant Eric Yarber across town.

Yarber, hired as UCLA’s receivers coach in January, declined.

“I think it is flattering to Eric, and to UCLA,” Bruins Coach Jim Mora said. “It’s a signal that, so far, we have done a good job of hiring assistants.”

Yarber was an assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the last two seasons. He previously coached with Arizona State, Washington, UNLV and Idaho, and with the San Francisco 49ers.

What makes Yarber even more attractive is that he grew up in Los Angeles, playing at Crenshaw High School, and is plugged in to the recruiting scene.

“We talked,” Kiffin said. “Eric has been a successful college and NFL coach. In the end, it didn’t work out.”

Kiffin also said that he had talked with Mora before approaching Yarber.

Attempted “coach poaching” is nothing new in the rivalry.

USC made a play for UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow when Kiffin was hired two years ago. Rick Neuheisel, in his first season as UCLA’s coach, wooed USC assistant Ken Norton.


Lane Kiffin hires two assistant coaches

-- Chris Foster

Photo: Lane Kiffin. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

USC football: Lane Kiffin fills 2 of 3 assistant-coach openings


USC Coach Lane Kiffin, who had three openings on his coaching staff, now has only one.

Scottie Hazelton, the defensive coordinator at North Dakota State, will replace Joe Barry as linebackers coach, and Marvin Sanders, a former assistant at Nebraska, will coach defensive backs.

Barry left the Trojans to become linebackers coach with the San Diego Chargers. USC has been without a full-time defensive backs coach since Willie Mack Garza resigned on the eve of the 2011 season.

Graduate assistant Sammy Knight coached the defensive backs last season.

The hirings were first reported by

Kiffin must still hire a receivers coach to replace Ted Gilmore, who left to join the Oakland Raiders staff.

More later at


Trojans lose another assistant coach, Ted Gilmore

USC can't keep up with Cal in Pac-12 basketball loss

Defense, turnovers could be key in game against Stanford

-- Gary Klein

Photo: USC Coach Lane Kiffin. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

USC football: Mitch Mustain signs baseball contract with White Sox


Former USC quarterback Mitch Mustain dreamed of one day playing in the Super Bowl. But now Mustain, who has not pitched since his sophomore year in high school, is thinking about the World Series after signing a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox.

“This is my one shot and I have nothing to lose,” Mustain, 24, said in a phone interview.

Mustain will report to the White Sox’s spring training facility in Arizona in March. He will take part in the extended spring training program and, if he progresses, will likely be assigned to a rookie league team after the June draft.

It's the latest chapter in an athletic career that has featured many twists and turns.

Mustain was a high school football legend in Arkansas and started eight games as a freshman at the University of Arkansas in 2006. That season, however, was full of controversy surrounding Mustain, former Coach Houston Nutt and others, and Mustain was among several players who left the program.

Mustain transferred to USC in 2007 but never won the starting job. He started only one game — the Trojans’ 2010 loss to Notre Dame at the Coliseum.

Mustain had hoped to play in the NFL, but his prospects for getting drafted or signing as a free agent were not helped by a February 2011 arrest in the San Fernando Valley on suspicion of selling prescription drugs. He completed a pre-file diversion program and did not face misdemeanor charges.

Mustain had a brief stint with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League last summer. The Georgia Force of the Arena Football League announced in October that it had signed Mustain.

Those plans, however, were put on hold after a recent pitching session that Mustain said occurred “as ironic as it sounds” in a bullpen at the University of Arkansas.

Mustain had been working out last year in preparation for a possible shot at baseball, but stopped throwing in November.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen,” he said.

Continue reading »

USC football: Receivers lobby for Keary Colbert as receivers coach

Keary Colbert

USC’s receivers aren’t wasting time lobbying for a receivers coach, tweeting their preference for the return of Keary Colbert.

Coach Lane Kiffin has three openings on his staff, one for a receivers coach because of Ted Gilmore's departure to the Oakland Raiders.

"RT if you want @kearycolbert to become our new receiver coach,” tweeted All-American Robert Woods.

Colbert, who starred for the Trojans in 2000-03, played in the NFL for five seasons before returning to USC as a graduate assistant in 2010. Colbert, however, still felt he had more football in him and made a comeback, catching nine passes in seven games for the Kansas City Chiefs last season.

Colbert, 29, is currently a free agent.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Colbert said he had not been contacted by Kiffin. Asked whether he would be interested in the job, he said, “I don’t want to say one way or the other. I have a love and passion for SC and a history as a player and as a coach. I’m definitely tied into everything that happens within it.”

Colbert said it was “completely humbling” to have players request his return, but added, “It’s kind of foolish to think a job is going to be presented. I don’t want to speculate or assume anything.

“It’s an attractive place to be because of my history there but there are a lot of other factors.... I’m not going to try and project the future. It’s Coach Kiffin’s program.”


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Trojans' recruiting class isn't reduced in quality

USC is No. 1 in ESPN early preseason college football poll

-- Gary Klein

 Photo: Keary Colbert with USC in 2002. Credit: Los Angeles Times

USC football: Receivers coach Ted Gilmore to join Oakland Raiders

Ted3USC receivers coach Ted Gilmore is leaving the Trojans to join the Oakland Raiders staff, a person close to the USC program confirmed.

Gilmore's departure, reported by, leaves Trojans Coach Lane Kiffin with three vacancies on a staff that will oversee a team expected to contend for the Bowl Championship Series title.

USC was without a full-time defensive backs coach last season after Willie Mack Garza resigned on the eve of the opener. Linebackers coach Joe Barry agreed to terms with the San Diego Chargers last week and his hiring was announced Monday.

Gilmore replaced John Morton on USC's staff before last season. He oversaw a position group that included All-American Robert Woods and freshman All-American Marqise Lee.

Graduate assistant Sammy Knight handled the defensive backs last season, but Kiffin said last week that he was still searching for a full-time replacement.

Then came news of Barry's departure, and now of Gilmore.

USC is scheduled to open spring practice  March 6.

More later at


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Losing Joe Barry won't stop USC football, Hayes Pullard says

-- Gary Klein

Photo: USC receivers coach Ted Gilmore teaches a blocking technique to George Farmer during a team practice session in August. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Losing Joe Barry won't stop USC football, Hayes Pullard says

Hayes3USC linebacker Hayes Pullard said Tuesday that the departure of linebackers coach Joe Barry to the San Diego Chargers would not adversely affect the Trojans.

Barry reportedly agreed to terms with the Chargers last week. His addition to the NFL team’s staff was officially announced Monday.

“It will be hard to fill coach Barry’s shoes,” Pullard said, “but I believe the coaching staff will bring in somebody that’s well-trained and will be a good fit for USC linebackers.”

USC Coach Lane Kiffin must replace Barry and is also searching for a defensive backs coach.

Pullard, who tied for the team lead with 81 tackles as a redshirt freshman last season, said Barry called players Friday night and told them that he needed to meet with them.

“He broke the news and we were kind of sad,” Pullard said. “Some of the older guys like me and Dion [Bailey], and some of the younger guys came here for him.”

Pullard said he had been “depending on coach Barry being a father figure on and off the field,” but respected his decision to return to the NFL, where he had coached for 10 years before joining USC’s staff before the 2010 season.

“He was just talking about his career goals—and you couldn’t be mad at that,” Pullard said. “We always want to have our career goals, to be better. He basically said, ‘It’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you later.’ So we kind of felt good about that.”


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-- Gary Klein

Photo: USC's Hayes Pullard. Credit: Christina House / For The Times

USC football: Seven former Trojans to attend NFL scouting combine

USC football: Seven former Trojans to attend NFL scouting combine

USC will be represented by seven former players at the annual NFL Scouting Combine Feb. 22-28 at Indianapolis.

The players are tight end Rhett Ellison, linebacker Chris Galippo, defensive tackle DaJohn Harris, offensive lineman Matt Kalil, defensive end Nick Perry, defensive tackle Christian Tupou and running back Marc Tyler.

Kalil has been projected as a possible top five pick in the April draft.

USC will hold its annual Pro Day workout on campus on March 7.

More later at


A look at USC's recruiting class [Video]

Trojans' recruiting class isn't reduced in quality

USC is No. 1 in ESPN early preseason college football poll

--Gary Klein

Photo: Matt Kalil blocks a field goal attempt by Utah. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

USC football: ESPN moves USC to No. 1 in early preseason top 25

USCBased on the way teams fared on national signing day, ESPN has moved USC to No. 1 in its Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25.

Mark Schlabach writes in this report that the Trojans have a "legitimate chance" at competing for the Bowl Championship Series title.

"They better do it this coming season, because the effects of NCAA sanctions and scholarship reductions will start being felt in 2013," Schlabach wrote. "Even with a smaller recruiting class, USC coach Lane Kiffin was able to add some much-needed help with linebacker Jabari Ruffin and receiver Nelson Agholor. The Trojans were one of the country's younger teams this past season, with 10 freshmen and sophomores starting. The Trojans will play six home games and six road games this season, including a Sept. 15 road trip to Stanford and a Nov. 3 home game against Oregon."

Alabama, Louisiana State, Oklahoma and Georgia follow the Trojans in the rankings.

Of course, USC is still seven months from its opener.

The Trojans start spring practice March 6.


A look at USC's recruiting class [Video]

Trojans' recruiting class isn't reduced in quality

Trojans hope small class doesn't limit their potential

--Gary Klein


USC linebackers coach Joe Barry reportedly bound for Chargers

Joe Barry, USC’s linebackers coach for the last two seasons, has reached agreement with the San Diego Chargers to become their linebackers coach, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in this story.

Barry, 41, coached in the NFL for 10 seasons before joining Coach Lane Kiffin’s staff in 2010.

Barry could not be reached for comment. A USC spokesman said Kiffin declined to comment.

USC players, however, posted their thoughts via Twitter.

Linebacker Dion Bailey: "Sad day..I feel like crying..Happy for him though!! Chargers get ready For the best coach ever!!"

Barry’s departure leaves Kiffin with two vacancies on his staff. Willie Mack Garza resigned as defensive backs coach on the eve of the 2011 season.

More later at


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National signing day is a commitment to craziness

Trojans hope small class doesn't limit their potential

-- Gary Klein

Photo: USC linebackers coach Joe Barry. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

National signing day 2012: Receiver Darreus Rogers chooses USC

USC-logoDarreus Rogers, a receiver from Carson High who is regarded as one of the top prospects nationally at his position, announced that he had signed a letter of intent with USC.

Rogers, 6-foot-2 and 194 pounds, had made a verbal commitment to USC, but reportedly took a recruiting trip to Arizona State and was considering signing with the Sun Devils.

Rogers was the second receiver to sign with the Trojans on Wednesday, joining Nelson Agholor of Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep.

Rogers and Agholor join a USC receiving corps that includes All-American Robert Woods, freshman All-American Marqise Lee and George Farmer, all of whom played at Gardena Serra High. Junior De'Von Flournoy and redshirt freshman Victor Blackwell also will be competing for playing time when the Trojans begin spring practice next month.

More later at


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Quarterback T.J. Millweard signs with UCLA

Offensive lineman Carl Hulick signs with Bruins

--Gary Klein



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