Pac-12: Ken Norton Jr.

More staff additions, changes at USC

January, 8, 2009

Posted by's Ted Miller

USC promoted Rocky Seto to defensive coordinator and named linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., who also was considered for the coordinator job, assistant head coach for defense.

The Trojans also announced that Jethro Franklin is returning to coach the defensive line.

That means USC now has two coordinators -- Seto on defense and John Morton on offense -- who won't call plays. The team also now has two assistant head coaches -- Norton on defense and new quarterbacks coach Carl Smith on offense. Smith will call plays.

Coach Pete Carroll, who calls the defense, lost both his coordinators to Washington, with Steve Sarkisian (offense) becoming the Huskies' head coach and Nick Holt (defense) getting a three-year, $2.1 million contract to rebuild the woeful Huskies defense.

Franklin, 43, was the USC defensive line coach in 2005 when the Trojans went 12-1 and played in the BCS National Championship Game. He then went on to coach the defensive lines with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2006 and the Houston Texans the past two seasons (2007-08).

He has 18 years of coaching experience, all handling the defensive line. He began by coaching eight years (1991-98) at his alma mater, Fresno State, then spent the 1999 season at UCLA before coaching five years (2000-04) with the Green Bay Packers.

Seto, 32, has spent his entire coaching career at USC, beginning in 1999, after playing for the Trojans. He began as a volunteer assistant in 1999 and an administrative graduate assistant in 2000, then was made a graduate assistant in 2001 and 2002 upon Carroll's arrival at USC. He then was elevated to full-time status, working with the Trojans' safeties in 2003, the linebackers in 2004 and 2005 and the secondary the past three seasons (2006-08).

Norton, 42, has been working with the Trojans' linebackers the past five seasons (2004-08). The former UCLA All-American played in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.

Neuheisel fires back at Norton

December, 29, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

Is there anything better than college football rivals getting snarky with each other?

Ice cream and a run at the craps table, perhaps, but little else.

USC assistant coach Ken Norton Jr., a former UCLA linebacker, told the Los Angeles Times in a story that ran Monday that UCLA was using his name to lure recruits, the Bruins claiming Norton was going to replace defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker if Walker took the New Mexico State head coaching job.

Norton told the Times:

It's coming from there and it's wrong and it's not true. So if you're going to recruit, recruit what you have ... Don't try to recruit, saying I'm coming over there.

And I'm not saying I'm a big deal. I'm just saying you've made it a big deal by using me as some kind of target or ploy or something.

It comes as no surprise then that UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel fired back in a statement Monday afternoon:

In response to comments made by USC assistant football coach Ken Norton, let me say that I have an outstanding defensive coordinator in DeWayne Walker. He has done a great job for us and I hope he stays at UCLA for many years. However, if he has the opportunity to become a head coach, I know he would do a fine job and I would support him in any way possible.

That being said, I was sorry to read the comments Kenny made in the Los Angeles Times. I have not told any recruits that if DeWayne left, Kenny would be the defensive coordinator at UCLA and neither have my assistant coaches. Despite the fact that Kenny is a great Bruin, we have more than enough positives at UCLA to interest recruits and convince them that this is the school at which they can flourish both academically and athletically.

There has been a lot of speculation about Kenny's return to UCLA in the media and on the Internet, and perhaps that has confused people about who has said what. If DeWayne leaves, I would consider several candidates for the defensive coordinator job. Kenny probably would have been among those considered, with no guarantees. However, his quotes in the paper say he is staying at USC, so we wish him well.

The Pac-10 blog now feels safe reporting that Norton will not be UCLA's next defensive coordinator if Walker does, indeed, bolt for New Mexico State.

Pac-10 lunch links: Norton lashes out at UCLA

December, 29, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

This will be four days of HoneyBaked ham and it still tastes really good.

Pac-10 links: Walker the leader for New Mexico State job

December, 27, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

You smell that? It's the bowl season starting to catch fire.

  • It appears that UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker is the leader for the vacant New Mexico State head-coaching job, according to the LA Daily News, which also reports that Walker's departure might mean the return of Ken Norton Jr., presently an assistant at USC, to UCLA.
  • Columnist Tom Shatel writes about the Big 12 vs. the SEC, but his thesis fits for every conference when considering the carefully managed hype of the SEC. Yes, it's about self-promotion and regional unity overcoming bitter rivalries.
  • California's key against Miami is obvious: Lots of Jahvid Best. There is mutual respect between the programs, with each telling the other how fast they are.
  • Hey, what about Oregon's defense? It might make the difference in the Holiday Bowl against Oklahoma State. And so might the playing surface. And so might nagging issues for running back Jeremiah Johnson.
  • Oregon State got a boost from the return of running back Jeremy Francis, who's dealing with some tough issues at home.
  • USC returns to practice but some guys are banged up. How will USC's defense be remembered?