'Like I just lost my father': USC players react to Steve Sarkisian replacing Ed Orgeron

Stephen Dunn

USC's hiring of Washington's Steve Sarkisian as its new head football coach seems to have had the exact opposite effect of the effect hirings are supposed to have.

We don't know if Steve Sarkisian will be a good coach at USC. This is football, and you can't predict it. Things you think are solid evaporate, and Duke, Auburn and Mizzou end up in conference championship games. And Sarkisian's taken a Washington program that was in dire, dire straits -- 0-12 the year before he got there -- and made them relevant, with three straight seven-win seasons.

However, we'll say this: we can't recall seeing a coaching hire met with such unabashed glee by fans of the teams it should hypothetically rile up and so little positive reaction from those around the team itself. Normally a hiring is met with excitement for a new era, but there doesn't seem to be any joy trickling out from Troy today (there was certainly joy, however, on the internet -- at least among non-USC fans).

A glimpse:

(The Dan Weber mentioned is a fellow USC beat writer.)

THAT'S THE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR. THAT'S THE GUY WHO MADE THE HIRE.

To be fair, the glum mood seems not to come from any pre-existing feelings about Sarkisian, but rather the resignation of Ed Orgeron, the wildly popular interim coach with the funny voice who decided to move on with his career after being passed over for the full-time job. Many of the players liked him, and the announcement that he would be going elsewhere, effective immediately, was a tough pill to swallow.

It got worse when the players got to Twitter:

Three players on the team literally likened the move to the death of a father. Let that settle in. Three players on the team literally likened the move to the death of a father.

Obviously, some players had optimistic things. And obviously, the administration wanted to keep Orgeron as an assistant coach. But all this makes me wonder: Why not hire the guy everybody is absolutely crazy about?

(Note: this is not including the semi-breakdown suffered by an LA Daily News reporter.)

But their fans are excited about the move, right? Let's take a peek in the comments section at our USC blog, Conquest Chronicles:

Cc_medium

And a poll:

Poll_medium

Okay! Great!

Now let's go across town, to see what's happening at Bruins Nation, to see how the Trojans' biggest rivals might feel about Sark's hiring:

Bruins_medium

Yeah, they're pretty happy with things. It turns out many of The Other Guys are:

Our Washington blog was understandably somewhat disappointed about being left by their current coach and a lot of his staff, but saw silver linings:

We really just liked noted Oregon fan Dan Rubenstein's immediate, giddy reactions:

So let's summarize: USC players are acting like a parent just died. Their fans are mad. Coaches of other teams are popping bottles. And fans of other teams are laughing their asses off.

Again, we don't know what's going to happen, because opinions are often wrong, and even well-thought analysis is often wrong in college football. But hey, this is a pretty bad start, guys!

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