Mike Riley's departure this week from Oregon State to Nebraska offered a reminder that the bowl season — and firing season for athletic directors — annually starts a ripple effect among assistant coaches.
"You have to be aware of it and you have to have a plan in place," he said. "You can't get caught totally off guard."
Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox reportedly interviewed to become head coach at Boise State after the 2013 season. Wilcox, who went to high school in Oregon and played defensive back at Oregon, has been mentioned in media reports as a possible candidate to replace Riley at Oregon State.
Sarkisian said he speaks frankly with staff members about possible movement.
"Some coaches get into bullying their coaches for leaving or not," Sarkisian said. "They have to do what's best for them and their family. But this is a hard place to leave."
Wilcox will not be made available to the media until Sunday.
Former USC interim coach
Plans to stay
In an interview published on USC's athletic website, Athletic Director Pat Haden said rumors of his imminent retirement were inaccurate.
"I hear from friends that there are rumors about me stepping away from this job, but that is not in my plans at this time," said Haden, who turns 62 in January. "I am fully engaged in this job and love working with our great staff, coaches and student-athletes here. We have a lot of work to do in the future. Yes, I am getting older, but my health is fine. I am looking forward to a great 2015 in USC athletics."
Sarkisian said he met with
Quarterback Cody Kessler, running back Javorius Allen, receiver Nelson Agholor and defensive lineman Leonard Williams are the most high-profile juniors.
Players were not made available to the media Friday.
Sarkisian said he wanted players to use him as "a resource" but added, "competitively, as the head coach at SC, sure I want them to be here because I think we have a chance to do something uniquely special next fall."
Cornerback Adoree' Jackson, who was taken out of the Notre Dame game because of concussive symptoms, wore a yellow "no contact" jersey Friday but participated in all drills and intercepted a pass.