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Pete Carroll promotes Rocky Seto to defensive coordinator

Seto succeeds Nick Holt, who left to become defensive coordinator at Washington; Ken Norton Jr. is promoted to assistant head coach.

January 08, 2009|Gary Klein

With the national signing date for high school recruits less than a month away, USC Coach Pete Carroll moved quickly to reconfigure his defensive staff, promoting Rocky Seto to defensive coordinator on Wednesday night.

Carroll also promoted linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. to assistant head coach for defense and hired Jethro Franklin for a second stint as defensive line coach.

Carroll's announcement came the day after former defensive coordinator Nick Holt was introduced at Washington, where former Trojans offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is the new head coach.

Carroll said he had spoken to several coaches about the Trojans' defensive coordinator job, including former defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, who recently joined Tennessee's staff, "just in case we couldn't get anything worked out."

But Seto, 32, was regarded as the front-runner to succeed Holt because of the continuity he provides. Seto has been on USC's staff since 1999 and has coached linebackers and the secondary under Carroll, who will still call the defensive plays.

"He has just continually developed over the years and become a tremendously valuable guy," Carroll said.

Seto had turned down an offer from Sarkisian to become defensive coordinator at Washington. While Seto was contemplating the possible move to Seattle, Carroll spoke to him about eventually taking on that role for the Trojans.

"I'm extremely excited because I feel prepared for this opportunity and the responsibility," said Seto, who will continue to coach defensive backs. "It's really humbling to think of all the things that have continued to happen."

Carroll said Norton, 42, had also been considered for the coordinator job. In his new role, Norton will continue to coach linebackers but "expand his influence to the whole defense," Carroll said.

Franklin, 43, coached the Trojans' defensive linemen in 2005 before leaving to take a job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent the last two seasons with the Houston Texans.

"He knows how things work around here and he's a terrific recruiter," Carroll said. "We're fortunate we can bring his expertise back."

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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