Most of those skill players from the best USC teams under Pete weren't so great at the next level. Smith had a very solid career until he trashed his knee. Reggie has had a good career, though never to the level of expectations people had when he was drafted. Byrd didn't make it long. Williams flamed out other than his couple years in Seattle. LenDale had a couple decent years and then disappeared. Dwayne Jarrett never did a thing at the next level. Colbert is a far better coach than he was an NFL receiver. Justin Fargas had a good career until his body broke down.
They were great in college because Pete made them a team and brought out the best in them. Leinart (not Leinert) was the leader of that team and helped bring them all together. He had a fantastic career in college that should not be denigrated based on his lack of NFL success.
I have no idea how Sark will do as USC's head coach. It does feel a bit like Kiffin 2.0, but there are also differences. Sark has had more success as a HC (don't forget just how low the Huskies had gotten before he arrived). He is more mature and handles the media far better. He has a more outgoing personality that college kids respond to well. He also was originally being groomed by Pete as the likely successor for when Pete eventually retired. UW changed all that.
Sark is from L.A. He actually originally went to USC to play baseball and ended up transferring out to play at BYU and be coached by Norm Chow. He's had three stints as offensive assistant, QB coach and then OC at USC under Pete. He truly is going home. And for those who are angry about it, he quite possibly could have left UW after one year to replace Pete. He didn't. He stayed for his initial 2-year contract plus two more years.
Losing Ed O. hurts. He was at USC before Pete and has been a HUGE part of our recruiting success during his two stints as recruiting coordinator and DL coach. Though he is from LA, not L.A., and is a Miami alum, he loves USC as much as anyone. He recently said he'd wanted to coach at USC since he was six years old. I understand why he's hurt, and he obviously has gotten the itch to be a HC again. Unfortunately, that wasn't going to happen at USC. But he will always be a Trojan. As they say, you're a Bruin for four years but a Trojan for life!
Hopefully this will work out for all parties in the end, including UW. Time will tell.