NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Traffic in Los Angeles can be unbearable, even for those that carpool.
It helps if there's someone to talk to.
As a young coach at USC, Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin's carpool buddy was the man he eventually succeeded as the director of the Trojans' offense.
Norm Chow, regarded as one of the greatest offensive coordinators in college history, left USC in 2005 to become the Tennessee Titans' offensive coordinator.
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Chow's move to the NFL allowed Kiffin to become co-offensive coordinator -- along with Steve Sarkisian -- and take over play calling and that eventually led to him landing the Raiders' job.
Now the former sideline mates will go head-to-head when the Raiders travel to face the Titans today.
"He's still young, but he was extremely young then," Chow said in a phone interview. "You could see the potential for him to be a head coach then."
Chow said he had a good working relationship with Kiffin, aided by sitting in Southern California traffic together.
Kiffin credits USC head coach Pete Carroll for teaching him how to be a head coach, but admits he learned a few things watching Chow.
Kiffin noted Chow's good relationship with players and how he called a game while working under him from 2001-04.
"I thought he handled game day really well, and he really had a killer instinct when games were going our direction and really keeping (opposing teams) down," Kiffin said.
Kiffin has had to adjust his play-calling in the NFL. He no longer has a roster of All-Americans at his disposal, no Reggie Bush to turn a simple counter run into an 80-yard touchdown.
One of Chow's biggest adjustment was how quickly defensive coordinators adjust to offenses after a play works.
"I'd save a play and try it again in the third quarter and it would get smashed," said Chow, who admits he also had to learn to call plays much faster.
"In college the clock stops and the big fat guys have to move the chains down field," Chow said. "In the NFL after a 40-yard play, the clock is moving and I've got to get the next play in fast."