NCF Nation: Jake Cutler

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Jeremy Bates only turns 33 on Aug. 27 but he's already driving a Lamborghini.

A "Lamborghini" being a reasonable metaphor for a USC offense that welcomes back nine starters from a crew that averaged 38 points and 455 yards per game in 2008.

That said, Bates' job, to beat this automotive analogy to death, is to replace the transmission, because the old one, Mark Sanchez, is presently competing to be the New York Jets' starting quarterback.

 
  Jeff Golden/Getty Images
  Jeremy Bates is making the transition from the NFL to coaching at the college level.

Bates was hired as USC's quarterback coach and offensive play-caller when Steve Sarkisian became Washington's head coach (actually, Bates replaced Carl Smith, who only was with the Trojans for two weeks before bolting back to the NFL).

What made Bates, son of longtime NFL assistant Jim Bates, look like a savvy hire was his work with Jake Cutler as the Denver Broncos' quarterbacks coach.

Now he's charged with transforming Aaron Corp or Matt Barkley -- both? -- into the next great USC quarterback.

He's new to the college game and there's a lot on his plate, but Bates stopped by for a chat.

Sure you've been asked this a bunch: You're an NFL lifer, what's the biggest difference between coaching in the NFL and college?

Jeremy Bates: The biggest difference is the kids' passion for the game. Every kid that we're coaching just loves the game. They're hungry. They're only playing for one reason -- they love the game of football. It's fun. It's been a great experience. The college kids get better every day.

How about recruiting -- has that grind been an adjustment?

JB: Yeah, it's the first time I went off on the road in the offseason. In the past, I've always used that month to study opponents. But this year I went out recruiting and it was a good experience. The No. 1 impression I've had is how advanced these high school football programs are becoming. It was neat to go out and meet coaches and see how these teams have grown offensively. You've got guys in four wides and doing audibles and all that. It's neat to see where the game of football is going and it all starts in high school. They're doing a great job making sure the game is just going to get better in the future.

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