USC responds to coaching staff’s criticism

first_imgSarkisian said that he hopes to get as many players back during spring as he can, but his ultimate goal is to have everyone healthy by the time fall camp begins.“When we go to training camp, I want a 100 percent healthy football team, and I don’t want to risk that in spring,” Sarkisian said. “With that being said, we’re fighting like crazy to get these guys back on the field because we’re a better team the more guys we have out there.”Sarkisian expects to have Cravens and redshirt junior tailback Javorius “Buck” Allen back before spring practice ends.Midway through practice, Sarkisian called the team together for a competition period, a normal part of practice that pits a handful of offensive and defensive players against each other in what is normally a strength or speed drill.This time, however, the “competition” was a dance-off, as players showed off their moves while the speakers blared hip-hop music.“We have a competition period where we do a lot of one-on-ones,” Sarkisian said. “I just felt that the time was right to shake that period up a little bit. It was a good competition. Some guys have some moves, and some guys don’t.”Rogers and redshirt sophomore linebacker Scott Starr were singled out as the best dancers on the team.USC’s next practice will be on Saturday at Howard Jones Field. After practice, the players will participate in the Swim With Mike charity event, which helps physically challenged athletes.“It’s a great event, and it’s an opportunity for players to understand their role here,” Sarkisian said. “They’re not just guys who put on helmets and shoulder pads. They’re student-athletes that do a service to the university. It’s their opportunity to give back, and they’ll do a good job.” These injuries have provided many opportunities for younger, inexperienced players to get more playing time. Freshman cornerback Chris Hawkins was able to take most of his reps with the first unit.“It’s all new for him,” said defensive backs coach Keith Heyward. “We’re new coaches, with a new scheme, new techniques and new things they’ve got to learn. [Hawkins] hasn’t played [in games yet], so he has to get used to the speed of the game. But he’s doing a good job.”Last season, former defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast served the dual role of defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach, which often left him little time for the little things. Heyward’s approach is much more detail-oriented.“Coach Heyward is a great coach. He takes the time out to really teach you,” Hawkins said. “He goes from corner to free safety to strong safety and to the other corner. He doesn’t skip over anybody.”Yet with no game experience under his belt, Hawkins, who just turned 19 in March, has leaned on veterans such as Shaw and junior cornerback Kevon Seymour to help guide him as he adjusts to his new role on defense.“Kevon and Josh both help me a lot,” Hawkins said. “I’m the young one in the group, so they help me a lot. Knowing that they’ve been in the game and knowing what receivers are trying to do to them, they help me physically and mentally.”QUICK HITS Sophomore safety Su’a Cravens, who started 13 games last season and finished tied for second on the team with four interceptions, missed practice for the second time this week while dealing with a knee injury. He joined redshirt senior defensive back Josh Shaw and redshirt sophomore cornerback Devian Shelton on the list of injured defensive backs.center_img After a lackluster practice on Tuesday, the USC football team rebounded nicely for a strong session on Thursday. USC head coach Steve Sarkisian was again impressed by his players’ ability to respond to the coaching staff’s criticism.Valuable asset · USC redshirt senior defensive back Josh Shaw has sat out of most of the spring with injury. Shaw, a transfer from Florida, has recorded 119 tackles and 6 interceptions in his time at both schools. – Ralf Cheung | Daily Trojan“We looked at the film from Tuesday, which I thought [showed that] we were a little bit sloppy and a little bit slow, and we came back today and finished practice eight to nine minutes faster than Tuesday, and the tempo was where we wanted it,” Sarkisian said. “There were less unforced errors. You’re gonna have some days where you don’t do it exactly how you want to. The important thing, though, is, ‘Are we gonna respond?’ And I thought our guys really responded today.”Thursday’s practice was the eighth of 15 for the team, marking the midpoint of spring practice. Sarkisian was pleased with the progress his players have made in the past few weeks.“We feel very good about where we’re at,” Sarkisian said. “Some of the mistakes that we were making early, we’re not making those same mistakes now. We’re not perfect by any means, but we’re getting an idea of who we are as a team and where our strengths are, and we’re trying to play to those strengths on both sides of the ball.”SECONDARY STRIDESlast_img read more

Redskins fire President Bruce Allen, eye Ron Rivera to coach

first_img Bruce Allen was mocked four years ago when he proclaimed that his perennially last-place Washington Redskins were “winning off the field.” More eye rolls arrived recently when Allen defended the club’s “culture.”After a lot of losing on the field and all manner of public relations disasters off it, Allen is out as president of the NFL team once coached by his father. He was fired Monday, a move announced by owner Daniel Snyder a day after a 3-13 debacle of a season was capped by“As this season concludes, Bruce Allen has been relieved of his duties as president of the Washington Redskins and is no longer with the organization,” Snyder said in a statement issued by the team. “Like our passionate fan base, I recognize we have not lived up to the high standards set by great Redskins teams, coaches and players who have come before us. As we reevaluate our team leadership, culture and process for winning football games, I am excited for the opportunities that lie ahead to renew our singular focus and purpose of bringing championship football back to Washington.”From the outset of the 2010 season, the Redskins went 62-97-1 with Allen serving as Snyder’s right-hand man, a stretch that featured only two playoff appearances and zero playoff victories. Written By SUBSCRIBE TO US First Published: 30th December, 2019 23:34 IST “These guys that are taking the blame and taking that on, it’s on all of us in this building,” said injured quarterback Alex Smith, who spent significant time with Allen and Snyder this season. “We’re all responsible for it.” Under Allen’s watch, the issues away from the field included: It was also during that occasionally contentious session with reporters that Allen declared he would do anything to help the team win more games, vowing: “If it meant mowing that lawn out there every Tuesday, I would mow the lawn every darn Tuesday.”During another rare appearance to take questions from the media, at the news conference to announce Gruden’s dismissal in October, Allen objected to questions about widespread criticism of the way things are run at Redskins Park by asserting: “The culture is actually damn good.”Norman believes Rivera could fix the culture around the Redskins if he gets the job. Last Updated: 30th December, 2019 23:34 IST Redskins Fire President Bruce Allen, Eye Ron Rivera To Coach Bruce Allen was mocked four years ago when he proclaimed that his perennially last-place Washington Redskins were “winning off the field.” More eye rolls arrived recently when Allen defended the club’s “culture.” COMMENT There could be another important move soon, too:“He gets the best out of players. Simple as that,” said cornerback Josh Norman, who played for Rivera in Carolina. “And not just players, but men. He builds men and guys and also builds character.”Norman said the culture would be entirely different if Rivera gets the job. It has been an issue with Allen in charge, and even quarterback Case Keenum on Monday said of the organization, “I think there are some cultural things that need to be addressed.”Allen was hired as Washington’s executive VP and general manager in December 2009, then promoted to president in May 2014.Only once in Allen’s tumultuous tenure did Washington even manage to win as many 10 games and it finished at the bottom of the NFC East five times.Just one team in the 32-club NFL had a worse record this season, and the Redskins own the No. 2 pick in the next draft.Jay Gruden, who was given a contract extension by Allen, wasSo the always-in-disarray Redskins are now in need of a president, a general manager and a coach; whoever is hired to those jobs will need to oversee a massive rebuilding project.That includes fixing the roster and a reputation that has alienated fans to the point that the team’s home stadium often had thousands of empty seats and plenty of spectators cheering for the opponent.center_img Associated Press Television News LIVE TV this season’s holdout by Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, whom Allen refused to trade and who the messy firing of GM Scot McCloughan in 2017; the acknowledgment that the team’s seemingly endless home sellout streak was over, followed by the house-cleaning after last season of new executives in charge of business matters; the costly trade for, and ugly divorce from, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III; the mostly unsuccessful coaching stint of, and ugly divorce from, costly coach Mike Shahanan; the tens of millions of dollars given to Kirk Cousins (or, as Allen repeatedly called him, for some reason, “Kurt”) as the league’s first QB to play under the franchise tag more than once; eventually, he was allowed to leave as a free agent, with the Redskins receiving nothing in return. “I feel like you’ll see a difference,” he said. “I’ll put it like that. From what you see now to what you’ll see if this is the case, it’ll be a night and day swap.” WATCH US LIVE For all of the Redskins’ poor game results during Snyder’s 20 years as owner — never once managing to win 11 games in a season in that span — it was Allen who infamously tried to downplay the importance of the losing by boasting at a news conference after the 2014 season that the team’s charitable foundation “does a fantastic job,” which meant, he said, “We’re winning off the field.” Allen previously worked as an executive for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders.He is the son of late Pro Football Hall of Fame member George Allen, who led the Redskins to one Super Bowl appearance while coaching them from 1971-77. Allen’s brother, George, is a former Virginia governor and U.S. senator. FOLLOW USlast_img read more