Carroll’s exit and C.J. Gable
Pete Carroll leaving USC for the NFL created a domino effect. At last glance, the tile has fallen on Louisiana Tech, where Derek Dooley leaves a new coaching vacancy behind by accepting to fill a void left by Lane Kiffin—who bolted from the Volunteer state to lead the Trojans. But the original strike may have also created a ripple effect on campus, and one can only speculate the decisions that would have been made by Aaron Corp and C.J. Gable had the presiding coach not defected.
Aaron Corp officially submitted his paperwork and transferred to Richmond. Days later, Pete Carroll resigns his post at USC. Had he known his coach was leaving, would Corp have made the same decision? At the time, I wrote that his choice was proper, but in hindsight, he would have been granted a greater opportunity under the new leadership to jump back into the quarterback competition.
From the moment Matt Barkley received the start, it was apparent that he was Pete Carroll’s man. Not only does Kiffin have no relationship with last season’s frontman, he also recruited Corp and coached him for a year. Unseating Barkley would be a major task for most quarterback hopefuls, but the competition may have been more fair under the current group of evaluators.
A month ago, C.J. Gable appeared content in leaving college behind to pursue an opportunity in the NFL. He requested a league evaluation of his draft status, and I expected him to leap forward, instead of stepping back into a program that buried him deep on the bench. It turns out that Pete Carroll made that NFL leap, and Gable is the one returning.
I can’t say the choice was directly connected to changes, but USC’s most experienced tailback had only 24 rushes in 2009, after toting the rock 107 times the year before. Gable received the majority of his carries in 2006 (111), as the first true freshman tailback to start for USC. That was Kiffin’s last season as the Trojans’ offensive coordinator, before leaving for the Raiders. With the departure of Joe McKnight, Gable now has an opportunity to provide the lightning to Allen Bradford’s thunder. Had Pete Carroll ignored Seattle’s offer, would the same opportunity be present?