December 8, 2008

Morton talks to Carroll about vacant O.C. job

John Morton has a pretty good idea what Pete Carroll wants in an offensive coordinator.

"I'm always in tune with continuity first. I'm not looking for a bunch of big changes," Carroll said. "I like that we have great background and history with our style. It's been very successful for us."

And Morton isn't one to rock the boat.

The Trojans' wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator said his philosophy is "no different" than Steve Sarkisian's.

"There's a certain blueprint and philosophy they've had here for years, and they've been successful doing it. I've learned it. There's no reason to change anything," Morton said. "My philosophy is to make sure the quarterback gets into rhythm. You always want to establish the run game and have a well-balanced attack.

"We'd do what we've been doing here for years. It's worked. There's no reason to change it."

Morton spoke to Carroll Sunday about the vacancy created with Sarkisian accepting the head-coaching job at Washington Saturday.

"He talked to me about my past, what I've done, certain things I've learned, my philosophy and things like that," Morton said. "It was really good."

Morton declined to call it an interview, saying it was "just talk."

Carroll also has talked to former Jacksonville Jaguar offensive coordinator Craig Smith about the position.

"He would bring a tremendous amount of expertise and experience," Carroll said. "Something's possible there."

Another possibility could have Smith joining the staff as the quarterbacks coach with Morton getting the promotion to offensive coordinator.

Carroll said he was unsure whether he'd interview offensive coordinators from other collegiate staffs for the opening.

"I'm excited about John and what he brings. We have to organize the whole thing. It takes some time to get that situated, and we're not there yet," Carroll said. "He's got tremendous background. He's extremely fluent in our system and with our style. He's had a big role contributing to all of our plans on offense."

USC junior quarterback Mark Sanchez said it'd be nice to see Morton get the nod, meaning he would not have to an outsider's offense.

"He knows our offense inside and out," Sanchez said. "…That would help. It would be a bonus not to have to learn an entire new system. Either way, Coach Carroll's going to pick out what's best for this offense, and it's going to be a pretty good offense coming back.

"Whoever comes in will have plenty of weapons to work with."

Morton has experience calling plays while coaching at the University of San Diego, and he's worked in the NFL with Oakland and New Orleans. He's in his second year on the Trojan staff.

"That's one of the reasons they brought me here, a guy with some experience and has come from the NFL," Morton said. "They brought me here because of this situation just in case this did happen."

Morton said he's ready for the added responsibility that comes with being an offensive coordinator.

"That's been one of my goals. I've coached for 11 years and trained for it. I'd be a fool not to want it," he said. "I've been around some great coaches - Jon Gruden, Bill Callahan, Sean Payton and Coach Carroll. Those are really great coaches to be by.

"I've earned my stripes."

Morton said he's briefly talked with Sarkisian about maybe heading to Washington as the Huskies' offensive coordinator, too.

"Obviously I'd be interested in it," Morton said. "Me and Sark worked really well together here. I have a lot of respect for him."

Carroll said there's no timetable for finding Sarkisian's replacement, with him staying on the staff through the Rose Bowl.

"We've been through all of this," Carroll said. "I feel like we have a sense for it. There's no rush."



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