USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow has been offered a similar job with the Tennessee Titans and could accept the offer from the NFL team as soon as today, sources close to the situation said Monday.
"He's as gone as yesterday," one source said.
On a day that offensive line coach Tim Davis informed Coach Pete Carroll and players that he was leaving to take a similar position with the Miami Dolphins, Chow declined to say whether Titan Coach Jeff Fisher had offered him the team's offensive coordinator's job.
But Chow, 58, has been regarded as the leading candidate for the position ever since Mike Heimerdinger left the Titans to become offensive coordinator for the New York Jets.
Chow, who interviewed with Fisher and team officials in Nashville on Friday, received an offer from Fisher that could be in the range of $1 million annually, which is at least double the salary that Chow earns as one of the highest paid assistants in college football.
As he left campus in the early afternoon Monday, Chow said his situation would be resolved in "the next day or two."
"We'll just have to see what happens," Chow said.
Trojan quarterback Matt Leinart, who was scheduled to meet with Chow Monday, said the possibility of Chow's leaving was "definitely upsetting."
Last month, Leinart decided to forgo a chance to enter the NFL draft and announced he would return for a fifth and final season of eligibility. The Heisman Trophy winner's decision bolstered the Trojans' chances of winning a third consecutive national championship.
"It was kind of inevitable it was going to happen the last couple years," Leinart said of Chow's possible departure. "It's just, now, I decided to come back for my fifth year. But I still have no regrets regardless of what he does."
Leinart, who had elbow surgery two weeks ago, said the loss of quarterbacks coach Carl Smith -- now the offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars -- and Chow would put him in "a tough position."
Asked if he would have returned for his final season of eligibility if he had known that Chow might not be in the fold, Leinart said, "Obviously, it would have changed my thought process. In all honesty, I didn't really want to play for a new guy coming in.
"If I had known he would be gone for sure, it definitely would have changed my thought process a lot. I don't know if I would still have left or still stayed. I don't know that and, obviously, I never will. But I know it would have [affected] my decision."
Four members of USC's staff -- Davis, Smith, defensive line coach Ed Orgeron and special teams graduate assistant Dennis Slutak -- have left for other jobs since the Trojans routed Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
"The challenge is to replace guys that are championship caliber, but I'm prepared to do it," Carroll said. "I'm always expecting that you might have to do this."
If Chow leaves, Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian could be named co-offensive coordinators. Kiffin, 29, coached USC receivers the last two seasons and was named recruiting coordinator by Carroll last week. Sarkisian, 30, played for Chow at Brigham Young and was USC's quarterbacks coach in 2002 and 2003 before joining the Oakland Raiders' staff before last season.
Davis, 46, interviewed with the Dolphins on Friday in Miami. Carroll made a counteroffer that Davis pondered over the weekend before deciding on Monday to pursue the NFL opportunity.
"I couldn't sleep a wink," Davis said. "I just said, 'Let's go.' I talked to Norm and talked to Pete. It's a good opportunity -- that crack in your life when you've got to go."
Carroll said he wished Davis well.
"I hate to see him go," said Carroll, who hired Davis before the 2002 season. "He's been an awesome part of our program and a big reason for us winning with all the development of the young kids. It's a big loss, but I couldn't be more happy for him."
Offensive tackle Sam Baker said it would be hard to replace Davis' fiery attitude and intensity, especially on the practice field. "You can't find a guy like coach Davis everywhere," Baker said.
Two weeks after surgery on his left elbow, Leinart said he had regained most range of motion and would begin rehabilitation this week. "It's going to be a long, slow process because they want to take their time with everything," he said. "But I'm very confident in getting back."
Leinart is still experiencing some soreness that he was told could last a month or two. He will not participate in spring practice and said he would focus on improving other parts of his body while healing.
"The most important thing is to be patient and not get discouraged and know that in the long run it's going to get better," he said.
Junior safety Darnell Bing had minor surgery last week to repair damage in his left shoulder. Bing missed three games last season because of problems that began during training camp. "They just tightened things up," said Bing, who is wearing a sling on his left arm.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)
Four assistant coaches have left USC since the season ended. Norm Chow may be the fifth:
* Ed Orgeron
Old job: Defensive line coach
New job: Mississippi head coach
Years at USC: 7
* Dennis Slutak
Old job: Graduate assistant
New job: Mississippi assistant
Years at USC: 2
* Carl Smith
Old job: QB coach
New job: Jacksonville offensive coordinator
Years at USC: 1
* Tim Davis
Old job: Offensive line coach
New job: Miami Dolphin line coach
Years at USC: 3