Trojans gobble up leftover turkey — In a move smacking of desperation and an ulterior motive, u$c settles for Steve Sarkisian, hoping to re-capture the “success” of the Pete Carroll Cheating Era and also hoping to induce Jim Mora to bail on UCLA; The dubious move has created a Sharknado-like whirlwind of speculation
What a relief! Just when I thought u$c was gonna spend ridiculous amounts of money to lure an elite Head Coach like Nick Saban or Urban Meyer (I said “LIKE” — I didn’t really think Meyer would leave Ohio State) and thereby forever change the local Football landscape for the worse (for UCLA), they go and surprise me by hiring someone who has already proven that he cannot win big in the Pac-12.
Steve Sarkisian was, until yesterday, the Head Coach at Washington, where he barely cracked .500 in his tenure. His Dorellian numbers will not strike fear into anyone in Westwood, Eugene, or Palo Alto, and is unlikely to wow any recruits either. To his credit, he took a Husky team that was a miserable 0-12, and immediately turned them from miserable to mediocre. He went 5-7 in his first year, then 7-6 the next three years, and 8-4 this year. Of course, one of those 4 losses this year was a 41-31 defeat in Pasadena at the hands of Jim Mora and the Bruins, who led 27-7 early in the game.
So we already know that Sark, even with a 5th-year stud at QB, can’t out-coach Mora, or elevate his team to National Prominence, even after being in control of the Program for 5 years. So why did u$c Athletic Director Pat Haden opt for this proven unsuccessful Coach? After all, he already had Ed Orgeron, if he wanted a Carroll-guy who the fans and players like, who is known as an elite recruiter, and who had a bad record (like Sarkisian) previously as a Head Coach. In fact, Orgeron was so pissed off that he was passed over for a loser like Sark, that he turned down Haden’s lucrative offer to be Assistant Head Coach, and immediately packed his bags and quit the team. Beloved Coach O will not even stick around to coach sc in their Bowl Game, abandoning “his kids” that he purportedly loved so much like they were his own, leaving them with an interim-interim Coach. Talk about a ‘rim job!
The answer to the question of Haden’s motivation is quite simple — Three-pronged (like his tongue), but simple. First of all, no NAME Coach wanted any part of South Central U. Kevin Sumlin, Chris Peterson, and James Franklin all saw Haden coming and high-tailed it in the other direction. Second of all, u$c is once again thumbing their noses at the NCAA, by mining the Pete Carroll Coaching Tree. Just like Orgeron and Lane Kiffin, Sarkisian was a long-time Assistant under Carroll, overseeing the QB’s and the Offense while the Program was in the throes of STEROID abuse, RAPE accusations, and Pay-for-Play scandals involving houses, free rent, and fancy cars that the players drove right up to the gates of the practice field in clear view of all the staff to see.
So despite Haden’s clean-cut, choirboy reputation, he obviously wanted to do what Mike Garrett before him loved to do — Slap the NCAA in the face with blatant disrespect and arrogant disregard, by embracing the very people who ran that despicable Program in the years that got them embroiled in sanctions that still hamstring the team to this day. Just like all trojans, Haden thinks that all those ill-gotten and since-vacated wins were GLORIOUS, and he wants to re-create that same aura now. How long until the new trojan recruits suddenly add obscene amounts of muscle mass, and even more obscene amounts of bling, not to mention off-the-field thug-life arrests for Sexual Assaults and DUI’s? Or will Haden bring back Carmen Trutanich and make sure that they still own the Police? Since they no longer own the Town football-wise, at least they can own the local law enforcement, right? They already own the Refs, as evidenced by the Replay Ref barely glancing at Javorius Allen’s fumble before crossing the goal line on Saturday night.
As much as Haden wants to re-live the “glory” years of Carroll’s Sanction City, he actually had a third reason that led him to Sarkisian: He was hoping against hope that if he poached Washington’s Coach, the Huskies could lure Jim Mora away from UCLA to come take over at his alma mater, a position Mora once referred to as his dream job. And Haden may have something there. It is true that losing Mora would be a temporary setback for the Bruins. It is doubtful that star QB Brett Hundley would return for his Junior year if Mora departs, and there is a decent chance that Mora’s replacement would NOT be an upgrade. Mora has completely changed the culture at UCLA in just two short years. In fact, it took him only one year to change the culture — His second-year success just proved that the first year wasn’t a fluke.
As of this second, it is undetermined if Mora is really interested in jumping ship, so the jury is still out on Haden’s strategy. Of course it is stupid to hire a Coach just to effect a regime change at the school that many trojan fans insist is NOT their biggest rival in Football anyway. But maybe Haden thinks that u$c cannot compete with the juggernaut that Mora is building, so he really had to take a desperate stab at pulling the plug on it. If you can’t beat ‘em, sabotage them. It’s the Trojan Way. I personally don’t think it was his number one reason for hiring Sarkisian, but I do think it entered his mind, and was the #3 motivation for this otherwise-inexplicable decision.
All I know is now I can rest easy, with no more nightmares of a Saban-led trojan team going to the new National Championship Playoffs year after year. The Bruins may lose Mora (although his players are Tweeting that Mora had committed to stay, and that Mora is currently recruiting for UCLA), but even if they DO lose him, it won’t be that hard to replace him with someone better than Sarkisian.
Now on to some photos — Here are 24 more photos from the glorious game on Saturday night — the event that knocked Ed Orgeron and his recruiting prowess straight out of Compton, and brought in a Nobody from the North.