Losing Joe Barry won’t stop USC football, Pullard says

USC linebacker Hayes Pullard said Tuesday that the departure of linebackers coach Joe Barry to the San Diego Chargers would not adversely affect the Trojans.

Barry reportedly agreed to terms with the Chargers last week. His addition to the NFL team’s staff was officially announced Monday.

“It will be hard to fill coach Barry’s shoes,” Pullard said, “but I believe the coaching staff will bring in somebody that’s well-trained and will be a good fit for USC linebackers.”

USC Coach Lane Kiffin must replace Barry and is also searching for a defensive backs coach.

Pullard, who tied for the team lead with 81 tackles as a redshirt freshman last season, said Barry called players Friday night and told them that he needed to meet with them.

“He broke the news and we were kind of sad,” Pullard said. “Some of the older guys like me and Dion [Bailey], and some of the younger guys came here for him.”

Pullard said he had been “depending on coach Barry being a father figure on and off the field,” but respected his decision to return to the NFL, where he had coached for 10 years before joining USC’s staff before the 2010 season.

“He was just talking about his career goals—and you couldn’t be mad at that,” Pullard said. “We always want to have our career goals, to be better. He basically said, ‘It’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you later.’ So we kind of felt good about that.”

— Gary Klein