USC’s Sarkisian: ‘We are not a spread offense’

USC head coach Steve Sarkisian plans to run an offense similar to Jim Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers.

New USC head coach Steve Sarkisian wanted to set the record straight while making his first appearance on "Trojans Live" Tuesday night.

"We are not a spread offense," Sarkisian said on the radio show.

The tempo relates to what has become customary in college football. Offenses are moving faster and faster, leaving defenses at a huge disadvantage.

However, tempo does not negate the running game in any fashion. Sarkisian contends he very much wants to run the ball.

(The 49ers are) a power running team, we love to run the power play. They love to run the counter. We love to run the counter.

In fact, he had to prove that to offensive line coach and running game coordinator Tim Drevno before he agreed to join the staff.  

"I had to assure him," Sarkisian said of Drevno. "I had to show him our numbers from a year ago and our ability to run the ball and the percentage that we run the football."

Drevno has spent the last 10 seasons working on Jim Harbaugh’s staffs at the University of San Diego, Stanford, and with the San Francisco 49ers. A staple of Harbaugh’s teams have been the ability to pound the football.

Proof for Sarkisian was tailback Bishop Sankey who rushed for 1,870 yards last season at Washington and was a Doak Walker Award finalist.

Sarkisian says there are some similarities in the offense he runs and that which Drevno is accustomed to with the 49ers.

"We’re similar in a lot of the different schemes that we run," Sarkisian said. "(The 49ers are) a power running team, we love to run the power play. They love to run the counter. We love to run the counter.

"I think both of us, over the last couple of years, have invested time into sprinkling the zone read in as part of your offense to make the defenses defend the quarterback and to defend the shotgun runs, the pistols runs which is an area that we invested in the last couple of years. The difference was our tempo this year that we used at Washington as opposed to what they’ve done with the 49ers."

Drevno joining the staff brings a South Bay flavor to the USC coaching staff. Like Sarkisian, Drevno attended El Camino Junior College. Sarkisian is a West Torrance alum while Drevno attended South Torrance High School. According to the USC head coach, stealing Drevno away from the NFL wasn’t a tough thing to do. There was mutual interest which each learned of through their South Bay ties.

Also on Tuesday, TE Xavier Grimble anncouced he would leave for the NFL Draft and the Trojans hired former Texas assistant Bo Davis as their defensive line coach.