USC quarterback Matt Leinart and then offensive coordinator Norm Chow… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
USC's Pacific 12 Conference game against Utah on Saturday will be a reunion of sorts at the Coliseum.
Several key members of a former USC staff that helped guide the Trojans to their first three Bowl Championship Series bowl games, the 2003 and 2004 Associated Press national titles and the now-vacated 2004 BCS title will be on opposite sidelines.
USC Coach Lane Kiffin was the Trojans' passing game coordinator and receivers coach in 2004, when USC was undefeated and trounced Oklahoma in the BCS title game. Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron also was on the staff, leaving after that season to become head coach at Mississippi. Running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu left USC for the NFL after the 2003 season.
Norm Chow, Utah's first-year offensive coordinator after three seasons at UCLA, was the Trojans' play-caller from 2001 to 2004, before former coach Pete Carroll nudged him to the NFL by giving Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian control of the offense.
Soon after Chow departed USC, offensive line coach Tim Davis left for the Miami Dolphins. He also worked at Alabama and coached at Minnesota before rejoining Chow as the Utes' offensive line coach this season.
USC defeated Minnesota and UCLA in 2010.
"They've completely changed their offense and have gone to a lot of Norm's offense with some of Tim Davis' run game coming from Minnesota," Kiffin said of the Utes. "So in a sense, that's good for us because at least we're familiar with it having played Minnesota last year where Tim was and having played UCLA last year where Norm was.
"But it's good to see a normal offense."
Kiffin's greater concern is Utah's defense, which played well in the Utes' 27-10 victory over Montana State.
"It's a very physical defense, especially the front seven," he said. "They dominated at times last year and looked great in the opener at times."
Just getting started
Overshadowed by the record-setting performance of sophomore RobertWoods, his former Gardena Serra High teammate, freshman receiver Marqise Lee enjoyed a mostly solid first game against Minnesota.
The 6-foot, 190-pound Lee started opposite Woods and caught five passes for 33 yards.
"I got pretty much comfortable playing against our defense [in practice]," Lee said. "I looked at [Minnesota's] defense like it was our defense and it was practice … so I could go out there and compete rather than being nervous."
Woods, who set a USC record with 17 receptions against Minnesota, was selected Pacific 12 Conference offensive player of the week. … The offensive did not give up a sack against Minnesota, but the unit remains a concern, Kiffin said. Junior Abe Markowitz (foot), who sat out the opener, might return to practice this week.