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USC Morning Buzz: Should Clay Helton Change His Demeanor?

Clay Helton used profanity during a post-practice speech Monday apparently because of the loss to Texas and maybe because tailback Aca’Cedric Ware said practices were “slow” and “lazy” the previous two weeks. “The one thing that I’ve learned in 24 years of coaching is your kids are going to react how you react,” Helton said. But during his radio show Tuesday, Petros Papadakis said it … Continue reading USC Morning Buzz: Should Clay Helton Change His Demeanor?

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Why USC Has No Interceptions?

Why has USC been unable to intercept a pass in three games? Here is a big reason: Clancy Pendergast only plays man-to-man coverage in the secondary. It’s pretty hard to get interceptions when you never play zone. The corners and safeties are running around chasing receivers the whole game and there are never adjustments, which makes it easier for the offenses to find weak spots. Continue reading Why USC Has No Interceptions?

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USC Morning Buzz: Why Does JT Daniels Throw Off Back Foot?

I was curious why JT Daniels, who had more hype than any prep quarterback to come to USC, throws so much off his back foot? Was this missed in high school? Or is this a recent development? So I asked a former USC offensive coach about it: “He is throwing off his back foot because he is looking at the pass rush. He is not … Continue reading USC Morning Buzz: Why Does JT Daniels Throw Off Back Foot?

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Morning Buzz: USC Going In One Direction

I’m not sure why anyone needed a Year 3 under Clay Helton to figure out what is happening with USC football.  Most coaches require time to improve the program. But USC is actually worse than it was in Year 1 under Helton. Let’s review: Year 1: USC only lost to Stanford (with Max Browne at QB) and narrowly to Utah because Helton decided to make … Continue reading Morning Buzz: USC Going In One Direction

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Sunday Night With Clay Helton

USC coach Clay Helton was his usual self tonight. “I see a team that plays with tremendous effort and tremendous competitiveness,” Helton said. “The thing that stands out is the need for more consistent play.” And then this: “At the end of the day, I believe in this team. I believe we have the men to compete for a Pac-12 championship.” What does that really … Continue reading Sunday Night With Clay Helton

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USC Practiced `Lazy’ Week Of Big Game

Here is what USC tailback Aca’Cedric Ware said after the Texas loss. “We gotta practice better. Period. Practice this week was kind of lazy, kind of slow. I feel like if we practice harder, we’re going to play harder. We gotta work on stuff like that.” How is practice slow and lazy the week of a huge, nationally televised game? Especially coming off a loss … Continue reading USC Practiced `Lazy’ Week Of Big Game

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Discuss The USC-Texas Game

What an utter joke. Who is defending Clay Helton now? What was the game plan? Can USC run block? Did it even want to run? Can Clancy Pendergast even defend the middle of the field? Can John Baxter coach special teams? What a disaster. But don’t expect Lynn Swann to do anything. He acts like a figurehead. Porter Gustin is ejected for targeting. JT Daniels … Continue reading Discuss The USC-Texas Game

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Morning Buzz: Pick The USC-Texas Score And My Winner

This is quite a game to select a winner. It’s difficult to find a reason to like Texas: Its defense has one sack in two games; the Longhorns lost to Maryland; beat Tulsa by a touchdown and have nothing going for them outside of playing at home today. I think USC is better than Texas. I just don’t know if USC’s coaches will find a … Continue reading Morning Buzz: Pick The USC-Texas Score And My Winner

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If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

The last time USC went to Austin, it defeated Texas, 10-6, in 1966. But the part that remains fascinating was the appearance on the USC sideline of legendary actor John Wayne. “He would make a Hook ’em Horns sign to the crowd and they were cheering,” former USC assistant coach Dave Levy said. “But he was saying f—) ‘em Horns.” Levy also remembered Wayne happily … Continue reading If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

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10 Things USC Needs To Fix To Beat Texas

1.) Coach better This might seem like a joke. But USC needs to up its game from the sideline. It would be stunning to hear USC had the dreaded “ocho package” for wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and failed to get him the ball, but remember a couple years ago how the USC coaches were unable to get the ball to JuJu Smith-Schuster against Alabama … Continue reading 10 Things USC Needs To Fix To Beat Texas

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Maybe QB Is Way Down USC’s List Of Concerns

USC ranked 122nd nationally in rushing yards per carry allowed (6.69 yards). Now, some of you will immediately point to one Bryce Love run and a fake reverse by UNLV for inflating the stat. But then that leads to a discussion on explosive plays allowed. Besides, USC radio announcer Pete Arbogast (and others) said before the season this would be the best defense since 2008. … Continue reading Maybe QB Is Way Down USC’s List Of Concerns

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USC Morning Buzz: Let’s Analyze The QB Position

USC did not lose to Stanford because JT Daniels struggled. But the game was revealing when you factor in all the hype that accompanied Daniels’ arrival at USC. The first thing a writer told me when Daniels signed with USC was, “he never faced a pass rush at Mater Dei.” So what happened Saturday? The first big hit Daniels took, he started watching the rush. … Continue reading USC Morning Buzz: Let’s Analyze The QB Position

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JT Daniels Is OK

Clay Helton said today the bruise on JT Daniels’ right hand, “hurts like heck” but he will play against Texas. And what about his performance vs. Stanford? “He’s going to go through some growing pains and we’re going to live with it and we’re going to move on as an offense,” Helton said. Here is Daniels: “There were things we missed. Things we’ve got to … Continue reading JT Daniels Is OK

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Morning Buzz: Does USC Try To Learn From Programs Like Alabama?

I spoke to an NFL defensive coordinator who watched the USC-Stanford game and wondered if the coaches/administration have any idea what the nation’s top programs are doing to be successful? “USC football is in a sad state of affairs. whoever is overseeing the program, they are not paying attention to what is going on at the top of college football,” he said. Forbes magazine has … Continue reading Morning Buzz: Does USC Try To Learn From Programs Like Alabama?

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USC Isn’t Helping The Conference Of Champions’ Image Either

Here’s my column for the Sporting News on the Pac-12’s up-and-down weekend: Stanford’s business-like 17-3 victory over USC solidified the Cardinal’s status as a top-10 team. But it also exposed the Trojans as a unit with several weaknesses, especially on offense. That could lead to future embarrassments for the Pac-12’s most recognizable brand, this time in marquee nonconference games against Texas on Saturday and Notre Dame on Nov. … Continue reading USC Isn’t Helping The Conference Of Champions’ Image Either

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USC Morning Buzz: Where Was The Emotion?

Someone who was on the sideline during the USC-Stanford game told me they were shocked at the lack of emotion on the sideline during the game. This does not contradict USC’s performance. In the second half, it looked to me like USC had either lost interest or given up as it became apparent the Trojans’ offense wasn’t going to be able to mount a comeback … Continue reading USC Morning Buzz: Where Was The Emotion?

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Sunday Night With Clay Helton

USC coach Clay Helton said JT Daniels has a bruised hand after he underwent an MRI today. He will be re-evaluated but is expected to play Tuesday. Safety Isaiah Pola-Mao is out at least two weeks with a dislocated shoulder. As for the game, Helton said, “I thought our players competed extremely hard and that was evident on the tape.” Asked again about the lack of … Continue reading Sunday Night With Clay Helton

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USC Sunday Buzz: The Reaction Was As Bad As The Game

If you do not get enough aggravation from watching USC, it gets worse when you hear the post-game explanations. Here’s a few favorites: Why did wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown get only two touches? Clay Helton said USC designed a special package for St. Brown tonight called the “Ocho package.” “We actually had a special package for Amon-Ra tonight. We’re trying to do everything we can … Continue reading USC Sunday Buzz: The Reaction Was As Bad As The Game

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Discuss The USC-Stanford Game

UPDATED: It’s not the 17-3 loss to Stanford, but the gutless nature of the performance that should bother Clay Helton tonight. It was so bad and he did nothing to give USC a sense of urgency. Again. USC has no leadership. No energy. No purpose. The coaching is atrocious. And if you think JT Daniels will provide late magic like Sam Darnold, tonight proved otherwise. … Continue reading Discuss The USC-Stanford Game

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My USC-Stanford Pick

I could make a case for USC and Stanford to win this game. I think the Cardinal’s pro-style offense actually plays into USC’s hands because it allows the Trojans to play a more conventional defense. USC is also bolstered by the fact this is JT Daniels’ second game and he should be more comfortable with all the receivers. And despite being on the road, Stanford Stadium … Continue reading My USC-Stanford Pick

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If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

USC-Stanford is one of the biggest games in the nation on Saturday but what exactly are the stakes? USC beat Stanford last year and the Cardinal still won the Pac-12 North. The Trojans could lose tomorrow and easily win a Pac-12 South that already looks weak after one week: See Arizona and UCLA. So whatever happens, it’s not really going to earth shattering. Tomorrow’s game … Continue reading If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

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Someone Tell USC That Pat Casey Retired

Oregon State baseball coach Pat Casey announced his retirement today. He won three College World Series titles, went to the CWS six times and won 900 games. But . . . he is only 59 years old. Casey is not a big-city guy. However, what does it cost USC to make a run at Casey for its baseball job? I can think of two reasons … Continue reading Someone Tell USC That Pat Casey Retired

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John McKay Did Not Like Stanford

Former USC coach John McKay did not like Stanford. “Stanford was not his favorite,” said McKay’s long-time USC assistant, Dave Levy. “He felt they were a little arrogant. Stanford gave him the needle. He used to say, `I like (Stanford coach) John Ralston when we beat them. I don’t like him when we lose to them.’ ” McKay’s ire reached in the early 1970’s when … Continue reading John McKay Did Not Like Stanford

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Safety Depth Remains An Issue

Safety Isaiah Pola-Mao did not practice because of an illness. He should return in a day or two. That left C.J. Pollard at safety for Wednesday’s practice. Bubba Bolden remains suspended by the university but could hear his fate by the end of the week on how long he will be out. Ykili Ross has left and there has been some speculation he could return but … Continue reading Safety Depth Remains An Issue

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USC Morning Buzz: When Does Hype Meet Reality?

Here’s another example of when does hype meet reality? We keep hearing from everyone at USC that wide receiver Randal Grimes is talented and dangerous. Not to mention tall (6-4). So why doesn’t he play? Is he not good enough? If not, why is there so much praise for him in the offseason? The problem is once the season starts, the coaches do not tend … Continue reading USC Morning Buzz: When Does Hype Meet Reality?

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USC National Title Odds Drop

USC’s national title odds were 40/1 last week at the Las Vegas Super Book. But those odds are now 50/1. Do you blame them after the UNLV game? Here are the rest of the odds: Alabama 7/4 Clemson 7/2 Ohio State 6/1 Georgia, Auburn 8/1 Oklahoma,  Notre Dame 15/1 Washington, , Wisconsin 20/1 Michigan 25/1 Penn State 30/1 Michigan State 40/1 LSU, Miami, Texas, USC 50/1 Mississippi … Continue reading USC National Title Odds Drop

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Morning Buzz: Does USC Need More Focus?

I’ve heard some USC media twist themselves into pretzels trying to defend the UNLV performance. Luckily, some former players have contacted me since the game to express their frustations. They were disappointed in the defense, especially the front 7. Some where disappointed in the offensive line. But again, they are more perplexed by the leadership of the program. I want to point to something I … Continue reading Morning Buzz: Does USC Need More Focus?

10 Things USC Needs To Fix To Beat Washington State

1.) Coach better Impossible. 2.) Cover the middle of the field. Clancy Pendergast is an autocrat on defense. He plays man-to-man defense and doesn’t like to make adjustments. But USC never covers the middle of the field and Texas figured it out in the second quarter. I’m guessing WSU coach Mike Leach knows it too. 3.) Change special teams Does John Baxter ever get checked … Continue reading 10 Things USC Needs To Fix To Beat Washington State

Morning Buzz: A Memorable Radio Appearance And Unmemorable USC Physical Performance

Here is my appearance on Petros and Money, where I did not hold back on USC football. My segment begins at the 34-minute mark. Listen here. And here is a quote from TCU coach Gary Patterson, who plays Texas this week and watched the films of USC playing the Longhorns. “(It) looked like to me (like Texas) physically beat them,” Patterson said. How far has … Continue reading Morning Buzz: A Memorable Radio Appearance And Unmemorable USC Physical Performance