Offensive line coach Steve Greatwood became a victim of USC’s 6-6 football season when he was fired Sunday by Coach Paul Hackett, and Hackett said Monday he might make more changes on his staff.
“We’re 6-6. We’re going to make some changes in this program that are going to make us better,” Hackett said. “I’m [going to] examine carefully every aspect, that’s my job. That’s what I have to do. I’m the one responsible. I’ll take the heat for a 6-6 season, but I have to be sure we’ll never have another 6-6 season, whatever I decide to do.”
Greatwood said he was “disappointed” by Hackett’s move.
“I felt like I gave my best effort both on the field and recruiting, and I’m at a little bit of a loss because I haven’t coached any different than last year, when he rewarded me with a two-year contract,” he said. “Now all of a sudden I didn’t reach standards. Someone was going to take the fall and it’s obvious who it is.”
Hackett and Greatwood have been frank about a line that hasn’t been up to USC standards, naming it the top recruiting priority. But after a season in which every starter but Travis Claridge was sidelined because of injuries and USC struggled repeatedly with false starts as the Trojans set a Pacific 10 Conference record with 128 penalties, Hackett decided to make a change.
“I’m not comfortable with the development of the offensive line,” he said. “I have not been comfortable with their progress the last two years. It’s no reflection on Steve Greatwood as a coach because I think he’s an excellent coach, he’s been a great recruiter, he’s helped us in a lot of ways. But I just didn’t feel like we were growing and improving at that position.”
Hackett expects to name a replacement for Great-wood around the first of the year, but left other coaches in limbo by saying he might make more changes, or shift some staff responsibilities.
One possibility is dividing the special teams duties instead of having linebacker coach Shawn Slocum handle them alone. USC’s special teams, a strength last year, slipped badly this season.
USC receiver Kareem Kelly was named Pac-10 freshman of the year as the all-conference teams were announced. Trojan offensive lineman Travis Claridge and safety David Gibson were named first-team all-conference. UCLA wide receiver Danny Farmer and defensive end Kenyon Coleman were named to the second team, along with USC defensive tackle Ennis Davis. Stanford receiver Troy Walters and California cornerback Deltha O’Neal were named the conference’s offensive and defensive players of the year. Stanford’s Tyrone Willingham was named coach of the year.