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USC FOOTBALL

Trojans hire Broncos' Jeremy Bates for key post

Pete Carroll hires the 32-year-old Bates to be USC's assistant head coach for offense and call plays. He replaces Carl Smith, who was hired only two weeks ago.

January 20, 2009|Gary Klein

USC's coaching carousel continued to spin Monday as Pete Carroll hired one quarterbacks coach to replace another who had not yet arrived on campus.

Carroll announced that Denver Broncos assistant Jeremy Bates would be the Trojans' assistant head coach for offense. He also will call plays.

Bates, 32, replaces Carl Smith, who was named to the position on Jan. 6 but had yet to start work.

Smith, USC's quarterbacks coach in 2004, interviewed with the Cleveland Browns last week. On Monday, he was finalizing terms of a deal to join the NFL team as quarterbacks coach, Carroll said.

In Denver, Bates worked with quarterback Jay Cutler and called plays for the NFL's second-most productive offense. But Bates' role with the Broncos became uncertain after Mike Shanahan was fired as coach. New Coach Josh McDaniels will call plays and recently hired an offensive coordinator.

Carroll described Bates as "one of the young, unbelievably bright minds in the NFL" who wants to become a head coach and saw USC as "a great place to come and get that done."

Carroll met with Bates in Denver on Monday to finalize the deal. Carroll said he also had spoken with New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer about the position that originally opened when Steve Sarkisian was hired as Washington's head coach in December.

Bates will call plays from the field while new offensive coordinator John Morton works from the coaches' booth in the press box.

Bates will inherit a quarterback corps that includes Aaron Corp, Mitch Mustain, Matt Barkley and Garrett Green, who are expected to compete to replace Mark Sanchez.

Corp said he was encouraged by Bates' hiring.

"I'm excited," said Corp, who was Sanchez's backup for the Rose Bowl and will be a third-year sophomore next season.

Smith's decision to return to the NFL was not unexpected by Carroll.

Smith coached quarterbacks for the Browns from 2001 to 2003 and was offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2005 and 2006. His son, Tracy, a former Utah State assistant, also had interviewed with the Browns about a job in the organization.

"I'm excited for Carl," Carroll said. "He's one of my closest friends in coaching and he has a chance to do something with people he cares for and is back in a situation that he's familiar with."

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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