What a turgid game. It was obvious this was Utah’s first game, especially the awful quarterback play. Kedon Slovis still far from his 2019 self. You can say there were some positives but how many were because of Utah’s ineptness. Tell me what Big Boy programs USC would have beaten tonight? They still look vulnerable against the run (and the pass). The offense is not … Continue reading Discus The USC-Utah Game
What a game! Not. What was that blackout? ESPN announcers not at game. And I think it was the best five minutes of USC football all season. No stress. Kedon Slovis with a weird handoff to Kenan Christon and then a bad pass over middle as Trojans settle for field goal. 30-17, USC. USC adds a field goal. Slovis dropped football when he bumped Vavae … Continue reading USC-Utah Live Blog
Since the end of last season, I’ve had this game as a win on the USC schedule. Utah’s defense lost nine starters. It lost its quarterback and tailback. Even worse for the Utes, this is their first game of the season. But guess what, I’m tired of picking a team that is a reflection of their coach. And I’m tired of defensive coaches who have … Continue reading My USC-Utah Pick
Can Utah possibly beat USC in its first game of the season? That’s a big ask with a new QB and a lot of new defensive faces. On the other hand, does USC ever play consistently for four quarters? Continue reading Pick The USC-Utah Score
Does this latest production from BLVD Studios move you or are you not hip enough? It strikes me as a mish-mash of Mandalorian and USC football clips. But someone explained to me the video inadvertently means Clay Helton is the enemy of USC football. If you have to explain all this, it means the video is not good. Ngl this video makes no sense at … Continue reading Friday Night Hype
Pac-12 Network analyst Yogi Roth is writing a weekly notebook for the conference website with his take on every game. Here is an excerpt from USC-Utah: “Grit is defined as having passion and perseverance, and in two games, USC has proven to have both And another: “I expect USC to play its most efficient game of the season this weekend.” That should keep USC’s coaches/administrators … Continue reading A USC-Utah Hot Take
It’s so hard to convince people who don’t watch USC games closely how ordinary the program has become. They see the 2-0 record, even if it is vs. the mediocre Pac-12. They see Clay Helton is a below-average coach. But they don’t fully realize the “nothing special” roster at so many spots. Look at the linebackers: You have some workman-line players who might be reaching … Continue reading If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column
USC ranks No. 101 nationally in run defense, allowing 208 yards per game. It’s not just yards gained, the Trojans have given up plenty of long runs too (more than 15 plays of 10-yards-or-more). That means Todd Orlando has four problems: 1.) Front mechanics 2.) Alignments 3.) Run-fit integrity 4.) Tackling Now maybe two games is not a good sample size and I’m not prepared … Continue reading Can Todd Orlando Stop the Clancy Pendergast Imitation?
USC coach Clay Helton is one of 19 coaches on the midseason watch list for the Dodd Trophy, which “celebrates the head coach of a team who enjoys success on the gridiron, while also stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity.” This is 2020. Helton’s only coached two games and is on a watch list. Brandon Pili (finger) and Brett Neilon (ankle) are both possible … Continue reading Clay Helton On Dodd Trophy Watch List (Really)
USC obviously likes a tailback-by-committee approach, which is pretty fitting give Graham Harrell’s approach to the running game. If he won’t even snap under center on fourth-and-1, and says it takes too much practice to try snapping under center, what does he care about a successful running game? I wrote about this nearly two years ago how at North Texas, some offensive coaches objected to … Continue reading USC Morning Buzz: Commitment To Run Remains Shaky
Former USC quarterback JT Daniels will finally get his chance to start for Georgia on Saturday when the Bulldogs face Mississippi State, according to multiple reports. This has been a long time coming for Daniels, given how Georgia’s quarterbacks have struggled lately. We will also get to see how he does against SEC defensive linemen. “Since he’s been here, he’s done some nice things,” Georgia … Continue reading JT Daniels Expected To Start for Georgia On Saturday
The Atlanta Hawks drafted USC forward Onyeka Okongwu with the sixth pick tonight in the NBA Draft. I really believe as Okongwu flourishes in the NBA, more than USC fans will think, “How did USC only finish tied for third in the Pac-12 with this guy?” Thanks, Enfield! Continue reading Onyeka Okongwu Goes To Hawks
Earlier today, I ran this Todd Orlando quote on Chris Steele: “You want guys to be aggressive. If you get too much into a corner’s head and make them soft, you’ll never get that back.” You know why this is a bad quote? Because it means you don’t know how to correct it. It means you are not coaching. If USC cornerbacks are holding and … Continue reading Here’s Why Coaching Matters At USC
Petros Papadakis has weighed in on the Kedon Slovis controversy, specifically Clay Helton’s different answers when asked about Slovis having problems throwing a spiral. “It’s been very difficult for our friend, Clay Helton, to answer the question,” Papadakis said. “Just answer the question honestly. “Whatever the truth is, he doesn’t say it. There was no wind (a Arizona).” Continue reading Petros Papadakis On Clay Helton’s Response To Kedon Slovis Passes
In a normal program, the head coach has a philosophy that filters down to the staff. But in this case, I’m not sure Clay Helton didn’t ask Todd Orlando for an answer about Chris Steele and just repeated his answer. Here is what Helton said about Steele, who has five penalties in two games. “I don’t want to take that aggressiveness away from him.” Here … Continue reading Who Came Up With This Answer? Clay Helton Or Todd Orlando?
Here’s a couple quick observations from a Pac-12 coach on the USC-Arizona game: “Their defensve alignments didn’t look right both games this season.” “They just don’t look like a clean team. They have a ways to go.” “They got outcoached by Arizona and I’m not sure people expected Arizona to outcoach too many teams this season.” On running the shotgun in short-yardage situations: “I would … Continue reading USC Morning Buzz: Observations From A Pac-12 Coach
Munir and Abdul-Malik McClain intend to enter the transfer portal. Frankly, this only bolsters what I said this morning about 2021 because the brothers would be more valuable next season. Munir is currently suspended after receiving pandemic unemployment benefits. Abdul-Malik has played a bit but his mother has been critical of Clay Helton on twitter. The story was first reported by the L.A. Times. Continue reading USC’s McClain Brothers Enter Transfer Portal
Why do USC coaches make it so easy to criticize them? Clay Helton and Graham Harrell were totally divorced from reality this morning when discussing Kedon Slovis and his arm troubles. “There’s nothing wrong with Kedon’s mechanics,” Harrell said. “I don’t know where he pulled that out of.” Fair enough. But then Harrell kept speaking. “I think the ball slipped out of his head once … Continue reading USC Coaches Live On Earth 2
I was already asked by a Pac-12 coach on Monday night if USC might make some staff changes after the season? That tells you how others view the 2-0 start. Graham Harrell just signed a three-year deal at $1.2 million. He is not getting fired. Todd Orlando is on a multi-year deal, for around $1 million. He is not getting fired. Clay Helton is pulling … Continue reading Morning Buzz: Can USC Get Off Treadmill To Oblivion?
Philip Riley, a four-star cornerback who switched his commitment to USC in September after originally committing to Notre Dame, flipped back to the Irish on Monday night. Maybe he watched the first two games. LOVE THEE IRISH! ☘️🤞🏽@CoachMickens pic.twitter.com/d4RTrTghtu — PhilipRileyJr (@Riley18Philip) November 17, 2020 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Continue reading Recruit USC Stole From Notre Dame Flips Back To Irish
No reference to Hollywood. No taunting of opponent. Did someone get the message on USC football’s social media team? Final in Arizona. Back to Work.#FightOn✌️ pic.twitter.com/uU0lbg92u0 — USC Football (@USC_FB) November 15, 2020 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Continue reading One Improvement From Arizona Game
Did you hear Fox sideline reporter Jenny Taft note the USC sideline had little emotion during the fourth quarter vs. Arizona? Well, I’ve heard the pre-game emotion level was pretty low too. I figured Todd Orlando would yell enough to fire up the team. But who knows with the new staff? Every time I see Clay Helton speak to the team, it rings false, so … Continue reading Is There An Energy Gap At USC?
QUARTERBACK Kedon Slovis might have an injury but you wouldn’t know it listening to USC. If he has a mechanical problem, what have QB experts Clay Helton and Graham Harrell been doing about it? Grade: C+ TAILBACKS There are good moments for the backs but there is little consistency, which boils down to play calling and the offensive line. And short-yardage situations are a nightmare. … Continue reading USC-Arizona Report Card
WINNERS Marlon Tuipulotu At least someone is performing above expectations. Joel Klatt You can tell it pains the Fox announcers to criticize USC but things got so bad Saturday that even Klatt (and Gus Johnson) had to gently point out what a farce the coaching has become. That’s courageous since he might have to hear from the South Bay mafia in the athletic dept. Raymond Scott … Continue reading USC Morning Buzz: Winners And Losers Of The Week
Clay Helton had this whopper of an answer for snapping out of a shotgun on 4th-and-1: “Right now, it’s just not us. It’s sad that the fourth-and-1 we had a missed assignment . I don’t think it was from a lack of scheme, but we did have a missed assignment.” Reaction: It’s not just one play. USC has a lot of problems converting short-yardage downs … Continue reading Sunday Night With Clay Helton
USC fans are not suprised by the lackluster victories the past two weeks. And I’m seeing some parents of players are starting to become more vocal on social media. But what does Mike Bohn think? If someone cornered Bohn, he would whisper that he knows Clay Helton is not a great coach. But . . . Bohn and his minions hired Todd Orlando, Donte Williams … Continue reading USC Fans Have Had It But When Will Mike Bohn?
The UCLA-Cal game was scheduled at the last minute, so anything was possible in terms of a result. But UCLA’s 34-10 victory over Cal was reassuring in one sense: It was good to see Cal is always Cal. Never expect too much. Thanks, Wilcox! Continue reading Cal Being Cal
Here is what Clay Helton said regarding Kedon Slovis’ arm problems Saturday: “I played the position before and there was a little wind down there, to be honest with you. When you were going towards our locker room there was a little bit of wind in your face and to be honest with you, on a really dry day, that ball can get slick on … Continue reading Was it Windy Or Not In Tucson?
Is USC worse than last season? I’m pretty unimpressed with Todd Orlando and Donte Williams. I was already unimpressed with Graham Harrell. This was to be expected. USC played awful but was good enough to beat Arizona, a terrible Pac-12 program. What would happen if USC played in a real conference? It’s scary to ponder that. The bad red zone play. The endless penalties. The … Continue reading Discuss The USC-Arizona Game*
USC comes back and scores with 25 seconds left. USC defense made it far too easy for Arizona, which scores a TD with 1:35 left. Not a great day for Sean Snyder with bad punt, field goal, kickoff. Kedon Slovis keeps throwing floaters but also throws a TD pass. And USC leads 27-23. Will Clay Helton luck out again? Probably. Arizona kicks a 51-yard FG … Continue reading USC-Arizona Live Blog
Interesting response here from the mother of USC players Munir and Abdul-Malik McClain. Her original tweet is below this tweet. Right On! Ray Charles & Stevie Wonder Can See It! ♥️💛✌️✌️ — Shan McClain (@Shan_Mc4) November 13, 2020 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Tomorrow is game day for USC. #2 Is Still Suspended from football. Munir McClain is creating a narrative as to where the next generation of Young … Continue reading USC Tweet Of The Night
I suppose we should be grateful this game is even being played. But I can’t get excited about it. USC can play exactly like it did last week and win comfortably vs. Arizona. I think Arizona QB Grant Gunnell has potential and might give USC some problems but the fact the Wildcats have not played a game is a big negative. I think USC will … Continue reading Pick The USC-Arizona Score
What a day for the Pac-12. Utah-UCLA is canceled. Cal-Arizona State is canceled. And the conference apologized to Stanford (and apparently QB Davis Mills) because a player had a false positive. Remember all those breathless media reports about the testing procedure of Quidel Corp.? Maybe their CEO should apologize to Stanford. My take: If Utah actually plays USC next week, it will be the Utes’ … Continue reading The Pac-12 Season Is Reeling
I suspect USC will cure some of its ills when it plays Arizona, who hasn’t beaten the Trojans since 2012. I’ve criticized defensive coordinator Todd Orlando through the week, but you know who flew under the radar? Cornerbacks coach Donte Williams. There could have been some pass interference calls in the game and an NFL coach told me the corners “were misaligned a lot.” But … Continue reading If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column
I hear USC received a few complaints this week after some fans objected to a decal on the back of the helmets featuring a logo for Black Lives Matter. The decals were difficult to spot on TV so I’m not sure if the fans were eagle-eyed or heard about the decals elsewhere. You can see the small decal on the back of the helmet in … Continue reading An Eagle-Eyed Complaint From Some USC Fans
Can you imagine last January telling USC that Alabama, Notre Dame, Oregon and Washington would be removed from its schedule? A lot of fans think the Pac-12 gives USC short shrift, and in some cases in does, but man did it rig the schedule this season or what? USC didn’t even have to play well last weekend to beat the best team on its schedule. … Continue reading The Daily: Is This Season Foolproof For Clay Helton?
It was really strange watching Kedon Slovis struggle and flutter some of his passes Saturday. But I’ve heard Slovis was throwing passes like that during the previous month of practices. Is it possible there is some lingering effect from the injury Slovis suffered in the Holiday Bowl? USC certainly hasn’t said anything about his health. But he definitely didn’t look the same on all his … Continue reading Thursday Reader Forum: What Explains Kedon Slovis’ Uneven Start?
The Daily Trojan has a lengthy story today on the USC band that includes sexual-assault and racial allegations. Full story here. Excerpt: “In early August, a letter questioning the same culture was drafted and signed by 135 current and former marching band members. It detailed sexual assault allegations from three anonymous sources directed toward a tenor sax player who graduated in 2019, as well as … Continue reading USC Band Under Investigation
I’ve heard from a USC player there was little-to-no emotion in the locker room before the Arizona State game. This surprises me because USC and other Pac-12 teams have not played a game. for 11 months. And there was no emotion? Not Todd Orlando’s yelling/square jaw routine fired anyone up? Maybe that explains why USC played the way it did. Time to fire more hype … Continue reading Maybe This Explains Why USC Played Flat Against ASU
Six days ago, Clay Helton said this about USC linebacker Palaie Gaoteote. “I’ll tell you the one I cannot wait to see play, I’m expecting big things from (Gaoteote). He has just had an amazing six weeks.” Who could question Helton with all practices closed because of the pandemic. But here is USC defensive coordinator Todd Orlando today talking about how the linebackers played vs. … Continue reading Wednesday Reader Forum: Different Opinions Before/After ASU
USC is obviously looking for ways to make money during a pandemic. And now you too can have your wedding at the Coliseum . . . believe it or not. For $10,000-10,500, you can have a 10-person “petite wedding” at the Coliseum, and “following your I Do’s, you will be escorted to a Luxury Suite to nibble on chocolate-covered strawberries and sip bubbly.” No word … Continue reading The Coliseum Is Available For Weddings . . . Seriously
Do you think Kedon Slovis is a Heisman Trophy candidate? Right now, he is not even on the board with BetOnline. I think his woeful first half would hurt him but I doubt it. More people probably saw the TD at the end on ESPN. But maybe it shows more how irrelevant USC is right now until it proves something. Here are BetOnline’s odds: 11/2/20 Current … Continue reading Is Kedon Slovis A Heisman Candidate Or Not?
I thought it was a quiet opening performance for USC’s much-ballyhoed senior safeties — Talanoa Hufanga, Isaiah Pola-Mao — but I’m not blaming them. If the safeties are mostly playing man-to-man coverage, it’s difficult for them to make plays. Or maybe they were tied up because Todd Orlando loves to blitz so much? The safeties, who are seniors, are one of USC strengths. The dilemma … Continue reading Tuesday Reader Forum: What’s Up With The Safeties?
Long-time readers know I like to speak to coaches. So I called a Pac-12 coach today about the USC game regarding defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. “(Orlando) is feast or famine. He’s going to blitz and either have a tackle for loss or give up a big play. “It’s almost like he blitzes to blitz. I don’t know if he knows what he’s doing. I’m thinking, … Continue reading Pac-12 Coach: “I Don’t Know If He Knows What He’s Doing”
QUARTERBACK Kedon Slovis was way off the form that led to all the pre-season hype and no one will say the tipped TD pass was great, but he can live off that final TD pass all season. Grade: C TAILBACKS They didn’t get much help from Graham Harrell or the offensive line. And they fumbled. Grade: D+ WIDE RECEIVER I was starting to wonder if … Continue reading USC-Arizona State Report Card