Sarkisian new assistant head coach

Updated: February 11, 2005, 1:12 AM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Southern California coach Pete Carroll has named two assistants to take over the duties of departed offensive coordinator Norm Chow, splitting the job between assistant head coach Steve Sarkisian and new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.

Sarkisian will be in charge of the offense, while Kiffin will handle most of the play calling from the booth for two-time defending national champion USC.

Carroll made the new assignments Thursday, a day after Chow left to become offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans. Four other USC assistants also moved on to new jobs, although one -- Dennis Slutak -- already is returning as director of football operations.

Sarkisian, 30, was USC's quarterbacks coach during Carroll's first three years at the Trojans' helm, from 2001-2003. Sarkisian spent last season on the Oakland Raiders staff.

He formerly was a quarterback at BYU when Chow was an assistant on the Cougars' staff.

Carroll, who handles the Trojans' defense, said Sarkisian "will have an overview of our entire offense."

"This is a great opportunity for us to keep our philosophy intact and our style and concepts," Carroll said. "Sark grew up under Norm Chow and played for him. We'll be able to keep our continuity.

"It's a big role to fill as Norm leaves. But Sark will be the guy you'll go to now with questions on the offense."

Kiffin, 29, son of longtime pro and college coach Monte Kiffin, also was a member of Carroll's first USC staff. He coached the wide receivers the past three years, and last season added the duty of passing game coordinator. He will continue to work with the wide receivers and serve as recruiting coordinator.

"He'll do all the duties Sark needs," Carroll said. "Sark will administer the game on the field and have the last say on the plays. Lane will be upstairs calling the plays. But Sark has the final say-so, unless I enter in."

Sarkisian's and Kiffin's combined ages are just one year less than the 58-year-old Chow.

"The confidence Sark and Lane developed over the three years they were together here will make it a great setup for us," Carroll said. "I'm not worried about it one bit."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press