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Report: USC coaches believe Steve Sarkisian was not sober during ASU game

Southern California coach Steve Sarkisian watches his team warm up prior to an NCAA college football game against Arizona State on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

USC assistant coaches suspected head coach Steve Sarkisian may not have been sober during the Trojans’ Sept. 26 victory against Arizona State, reports the Los Angeles Daily News’s Scott Wolf.

Athletic director Pat Haden asked Sarkisian to take an indefinite leave of absence Sunday but wasn’t specific about the reasons, only saying that “it was very clear to me” that the second-year USC coach was unwell.

During USC’s 42-14 victory against ASU, Wolf reports that USC coaches separated Sarkisian from a huddle during the team’s win.

Wolf’s sources also revealed other instances of Sarkisian’s alleged insobriety.

Sarkisian publicly apologized before the season after he appeared to be intoxicated while making an unsteady public statement at the Salute to Troy pep rally. He announced he would be getting unspecified treatment, but didn’t believe he had a drinking problem, blaming his appearance on combining alcohol and medication.

Offensive coordinator Clay Helton will take over as interim head coach of the Trojans (3-2, 1-2 Pac-12), who have lost two of their last three games. USC visits No. 14 Notre Dame (5-1) on Saturday.

Sarkisian is 12-6 during his short tenure leading the Trojans, who were dropped from the AP Top 25 after losing 17-12 to unranked Washington last Thursday. Sarkisian had been on the road recruiting during the long weekend but apparently wasn’t in condition to lead practice Sunday, according to Haden.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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