As has been widely reported would happen, USC offensive line coach and running game coordinator Eric Wolford took the head coaching job at Youngstown State today. Wolford is a native of Youngstown and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to return home and become a head coach at 38 years old.
This is certainly a blow to USC on a couple of fronts. First, they lose their offensive line coach. They literally don’t have any other paid assistants currently on staff that have experience coaching offensive line. That could make for interesting bowl preparations (which began today) for the PapaJohns.com Bowl January 2nd. Perhaps the bigger issue is the fact Wolford was a very good recruiter. The Gamecocks have made offensive line a point of emphasis in this year’s class and Wolford was personally recruiting the seven lineman that have committed to USC. How his departure plays into their final decision remains to be seen.
I know some Gamecock fans are disappointed and feel betrayed that Wolford bolted after just one season and it stings worse because the offensive line is the key unit that needs to improve if Carolina is going to take that elusive next step from the seven to eight win program to the nine or ten win program. But it is hard to blame a guy for taking a head coaching job at a respected, albeit smaller, school in his hometown and get paid around 300 thousand dollars per year in the process. What would you do?
Wolford did have some very nice things to say about Steve Spurrier at his presser today.
AUDIO: Eric Wolford on his time with Steve Spurrier at USC