USC Coach Lane Kiffin congratulates former Trojans assistant and new Washington… (Gus Ruelas / Associated…)
SEATTLE — The Emerald City doesn't seem like an appropriate locale for a USC coaches reunion. But this weekend qualifies.
Former Trojans coach Pete Carroll and a veritable battalion of former USC assistants and support personnel are preparing the Seattle Seahawks for Sunday's NFL game against the New England Patriots.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday, October 16, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
USC football: An article in Saturday's Sports section advancing USC's football game against Washington said no visiting team had won at CenturyLink Field this season. In fact, visiting Oregon defeated Washington State at CenturyLink Field on Sept. 29.
Meantime, USC Coach Lane Kiffin and Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian, once ambitious young assistants under Carroll, are readying their teams to square off Saturday at CenturyLink Field.
The reunion committee has not ordered a Trojans ice sculpture for the punch bowl at the reception.
Oh wait, there isn't one.
"Coach Carroll and his staff have a lot to do outside of this game to prepare -- and so do we," Kiffin said. "So it's all business."
However, familiar faces are expected to be around when No. 11 USC, 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the Pac-12 Conference, attempts to do what no other visiting team has achieved this season: win at CenturyLink Field.
With on-campus Husky Stadium under renovation, Washington is 3-0 at the NFL venue.
The Huskies got crushed at then-No. 3 Louisiana State in their second game and at No. 2 Oregon last week. But they defeated San Diego State, Portland State and then-No. 8 Stanford at their temporary home.
"They're like two different teams," Kiffin said.
Sarkisian prefers the version that knocked off Stanford the game after the Cardinal defeated USC.
"It will be great to get back in front of our home crowd," said Sarkisian, who is in his fourth season with the Huskies. "We're expecting a great atmosphere and I think our guys will really thrive off of it."
USC quarterback Matt Barkley is looking forward to playing in a stadium where he has watched a Seahawks game and a Seattle Sounders Major League Soccer game.
Barkley will go into the game feeling better than the last time he visited Seattle with the Trojans.
"I was sick to my stomach," he recalled.
Barkley's discomfort had nothing to do with food, illness or overexertion.
In 2009, the Trojans' then-freshman quarterback was sidelined because of a shoulder problem. He warmed up before the game but was not cleared to play.
Carroll and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates bungled backup Aaron Corp's preparation and gave him no opportunities to use his mobility.
Barkley could only watch as the Trojans lost to the Huskies, 16-13, on a last-second field goal. "Sickening," he said of the experience.
Three years later, Barkley is healthy, rested and coming off his best performance of the season. After two poor snaps led to a 14-0 deficit at Utah, he rallied the Trojans and passed for three touchdowns in a 38-28 victory on Oct. 4.
Tight end Randall Telfer caught a 23-yard scoring pass, receiver Robert Woods grabbed a short touchdown pass and Barkley threw the ball about 60 yards on an 83-yard touchdown play to Marqise Lee.
Barkley said he hoped it would start a trend.
"I still think we need to attack the ball downfield," he said. "Robert knows that, Marqise knows that, Kiff knows that.
"We're doing different things, but it was good to complete that deep ball, for sure."
After Carroll left for the Seahawks, Sarkisian won the first round against Kiffin, guiding Washington to a last-second victory over USC at the Coliseum in 2010. Last season, the Trojans defeated the Huskies, 40-17, at the Coliseum.
Unless their teams meet in the Pac-12 title game this season or in the next two, this could be the last time Kiffin and Sarkisian coach against each other for a while. Because of the conference's expansion from 10 to 12 teams, USC won't play Washington and Oregon in 2013 and 2014. The Trojans resume play against North Division opponents Washington State and Oregon State.
"We know they're going to throw everything at us," Kiffin said of the Huskies. "Pull out all the stops."