What We Learned: Southern Cal offense's guru has NFL in his sights

12/4/09 in NCAAF

Matt Barkley won't want to see his offensive coordinator depart.
Matt Barkley won't want to see his offensive coordinator depart.
Sporting News' Matt Hayes analyzes what Thursday's buzz means to college football:

Back to The League

The silly season in college football isn't limited to head coaches. Case in point: Southern Cal assistant head coach of the offense/quarterbacks (read: the guy who runs the offense) Jeremy Bates could be leaving to rejoin Mike Shanahan when he returns to the NFL.

Bates coached under Shanahan with the Denver Broncos, and many believe he will follow Shanahan should Shanahan return to the NFL. And Bates isn't necessarily denying it.

"We're focused on Arizona," Bates told reporters after practice Wednesday. "We're not going to be distracted."

Southern Cal's offense is 49th in the nation, a number many fans claim as the reason for the Trojans' struggles. And that couldn't be further from the truth. Not only has Bates done a terrific job getting a true freshman quarterback prepared to play every week -- probably the hardest job for any assistant at any level -- that freshman, Matt Barkley, has played well much of the season.

Unfortunately, whoever follows Bates will look like an upgrade because Barkley will have a full year of competition and critical road experience. Southern Cal's problems are on defense. The offense (and Bates) did more than enough -- including the struggles against Washington with backup quarterback Aaron Corp -- to win games this fall.

If that's San Jose State calling, hang up, Norm Chow.
If that's San Jose State calling, hang up, Norm Chow.

Bad move

It looks as though Norm Chow has become a leading candidate to replace the retired Dick Tomey at San Jose State.
To this I say: Don't do it, Norm. San Jose State is a tombstone job.

A few years ago, it ate up Fitz Hill, a terrific coach and a better man. Hill now is the president at Arkansas Baptist College.

Tomey had it going for a while, but the guy who won big everywhere he coached couldn't replicate it at San Jose State.

There are many reasons, but it boils down to this: lousy fan and administrative support, and general apathy for the program among students.
Stay at UCLA, Norm, until something better comes your way or until the Bruins make the turn under Rick Neuheisel.

One bad move begets another

A prominent Louisiana-Monroe booster told The News-Star of Monroe he believes the school should pursue Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn as its next coach.

Look, no offense to Monroe, which should be able to find a nice, up-and-coming assistant coach to try and deliver the program to the top of the Sun Belt. But Malzahn?

Patience, Gus, the Cincinnati job will be open soon. Or maybe a few other BCS jobs once the coaching dominoes begin to tumble.  
This story appears in Dec. 4's edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today.
Matt Hayes covers college football for Sporting News. E-mail him at mhayes@sportingnews.com.
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