How Does USC Move Forward?

Some things to consider the rest of the season:

  1. Lynn Swann gave Clay Helton and his coordinators new contracts after last season. What is Helton’s buyout? That has not been disclosed.
  2. Swann has shown no inclination to be anything other than a figurehead at this point. He might be unhappy with the football team but doing something about it seems like a foreign move for him based on the past two years. He also seems to have few qualifications to hire a new coach.
  3. Will USC be willing to pay off Helton (and his coordinators) plus spend the money necessary to hire a good coach? The athletic dept. seems to be unwilling to spend money on other sports when it hires coaches and kept baseball coach Dan Hubbs because it didn’t want to pay him off.
  4. Will the fact there is an interim president and state of flux with the USC administration impact any decisions? The leadership vacuum at all levels (president, athletic director, football coach) makes everything a mess.

42 thoughts on “How Does USC Move Forward?

  1. Play as many young players as possible…..Cam, Biggie, Porter, Rector and Chris Brown all good….the rest up for grabs….even qb.


    1. Head Coach-Clay Helton…..Offensive Coordinator-Mike Riley…..Defensive Coordinator-Jack Del Rio…all these men could be head coaches….however, given all circumstances, including their own…they might do well together…


      1. I knew Jack a little at USC….his career was just beginning and mine was ending…I recall having lunch with him one day between classes at the old 32nd Street Market food court…. Everyone liked Jack….he is intelligent, funny, tough and committed….he could run the whole show, but who knows how he feels these days….


      2. Jack was a catcher on the USC baseball team, in addition to his football responsibilities….he was also a fair basketball player….


      3. What are you smoking? “…head Coach Clay Helton…”? What the hell does that mean? Keep this clown on with a new staff – why? You have some man crush on him? As to you
        knowing’ Jack Del Rio well yeah that’s a ringing reason who gives a rip that you ‘know’ him what 20 minutes sure was indelible huh?- Look boyo, Del Rio is qualified because he did a solid job for Jacksonville and the same with OAK until Mike Davis sacked him last December –


      4. My personal impression of both men is very positive. I root for both, always have…would you have me lie to you….I’m happy to leave it to Mr. Swann and company.


  2. Very glad you’re not in charge, Scottie. You would have pulled the plug on “Caesar” after the 6 – 6 season. We never would have been in the Penn State Rose a couple of years back. And nobody would have ever trusted SC.

    That being said, SC doesn’t win all but 1 or 2 more game the rest of the season, nobody would blame the AD for taking action.

    More importantly, in his weekly meeting with Clay, Lynn must talk to him about USC practices.. They HAVE to get better.


    1. Looking at the remaining games on the schedule, if Helton’s Trojans win 5 of the remaining nine games, I would be amazed. A 3-9 season is definitely a possibility, more realistically; a 4-8 season. As a Trojan ol’ school alum, I think the football team management is that dysfunctional. I am not optimistic.


      1. Stephen,
        I don’t think the situation is that bad IF the team begins to gel and mature. Despite our strong upper classmen, for some reason we’re not playing up to their level and instead allowing the team to function at a frosh/soph level. We appear to have had these issues for the past four coaches. Prior seasons had the sanctions to blame. But, this year, there is no such excuse.


    1. An excellent succinct and damning tell all about how truly awful Helton is as a head coach in his: selection of assistants, misuse of recruits, inability to control foolish and damaging penalties, no clue on the need for at least one offensive guard to block to protect a RB heading for the end zone 1 yard out…

      Check this quote: “With this 37–14 blowout, USC lost by double-digit points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2000. Week 2’s 17–3 defeat against Stanford was the fewest points USC scored against the Cardinal since 1941.”

      Note that year – 2000 – Paul Hackett’s last year as USC’s head coach. Here’s the real kicker at the very end

      “Helton simply isn’t the right coach to lead USC back to college football’s elite. And if USC continues to let him stick around, he’ll be the coach that leads them into the abyss of mediocrity.”

      and how true that is – fire Helton


      1. Great summary of a very pointed piece. Leaving aside so much else, Helton’s teams have rarely – if ever – demonstrated the discipline, organization, preparation, or commitment to excellence that one expects to see at a top program.


      2. Adjectives are words that modify nouns. They are often called “describing words” because they give us further details about a noun, such as what it looks like (the white horse), how many there are (the three boys) or which one it is (the last house). Adjectives do not modify verbs or other adjectives.


      3. That author must have been reviewing social media and Trojan blogs. Those stats were circulating last night immediately after the game.

        If you look for the prior 1-2 starts, the last time this happened was 2001, Pete’s first year. That was a tough year with two games lost at the end of the fourth quarter, but the season set the stage for the Run.

        Here’s hoping that the team gels and is mentally ready for Friday night lights.


    2. First Pac-12 titles since ’08 – how mediocre! No, what you’re saying is that you want SC to be a perennial Top 5 program. That’s different. And I agree that should be our goal. But Mediocrity? Hardly…..


  3. Number 4 is the most important. USC is trying to hire a new President, who might have different priorities than Nikias. That could be good or bad.

    Swann was hired by Nikias. A new Prez might not be so enamored with someone who used to be on the Telly, which seemed to be the big selling point with Max. So Swanny migth be short-term. But history tells us that HH is a fat and happy country club, and inertia is it’s best friend, so there is that.

    The new Prez might not care about athletics. What the new Prez will be dealing with is a nine-figure payout to sexual assault victims. That might put a crimp on department budgets.

    There is also the wildcard of the big money donors, who ponied up $$$$$$ for suites and best seats at the quarter-billion dollar Coli refurb. They might have to take matters into their own hands, like Casey Wasserman did at UCLA in hiring Chip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If the new President is a soccer loving sheep F’er like the last one, you might as well bury USC football for good.

      Wasserman has gotten a great return on his $$$$$$ so far, HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA


  4. I’m afraid Gomer will be around next year, they only way that changes is if the new President sweeps the place clean with a new broom.


    1. We are unlikely to see a clean up of admin unless the selection process completely separates from the existing admin. But, I can’t see how that’s remotely possible in the current governance structure of the university.

      A better question is whether or not the USC Athletic Department budgets and accounts are held separate from the USC general accounts and whether or not the Coli refurb $$$ gets held on its own outside of HH.


  5. That video of the post-game interview of Helton after the Stanford loss was telling – he rambled on for about 3 minutes then the mic was given over to a player (might have been Gustin) and then it was set watching Helton mop his head taking that goofy baseball cap off and then proceed to spin it around vertically over and over again with a ‘woe is me’ cluless look on his face – mind you this was a full week before the TX massacre last ngiht


  6. Say it ain’t so, Mike Riley’s name is being mentioned to take over for Helton possibly sometime this season if Helton can’t turn it around in a hurry. There would be no marked improvement if Riley is hired.

    And the hits just keep on coming.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Just a suggestion here, but the leadership structure might be the source of the problem. A President appoints an AD and they go from there. No transparency there.

    In my opinion, appoint a new President and then appoint a sports advisory council. Say 7 – 9 people who don’t work in Heritage Hall. The President talks to them only about sports and then goes to the AD to implement whatever was discussed.

    Those 7 – 9 (or whatever manageable number) could be a couple of former athletes and maybe even a representative from the current student body. And no one who is on the Board of Trustees can serve on it either.

    I think that group would have a better pulse for the disappointments and concerns of the fanbase. If coaching sucks, this group would know and then could tell the President bluntly.

    Can you imagine maybe Ronnie Lott on there or Anthony Munoz? And maybe the student rep on there telling the president how the student body is feeling at the moment.

    Just a thought but with the uncertainty in the university leadership, they could implement this as a new, more transparent change that plugs in directly to the fanbase without the clueless HH and BOT types who are only looking to cater to the “wine and cheese” crowd.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the concept but would like to raise the issue of how HH and Coli Refurb $$$ gets held. Your idea makes really good sense provided that the board has skin in the game (i.e. $$$). However, the folks who could put $$$ into the process are also the “wine and cheese crowd”.

      So, you could end up with various business interests influencing the process. That would not be good for USC and could even imperil its non-profit educational 501c3 status. Therefore, an “advisory board” would be smart but not a formal board of governors.


      1. StrongsideJedi, my council would have nothing to do with money. Just a council/panel to advise the President. Max Nikias and prior Presidents very likely never had a discussion about coaching assistants, style of play or most of the other details of football. This council/panel would just be there to give him a feel for the football program that he would not otherwise get from clueless BOT or self-interested HH members.

        If the Office of the President had one today, he could probably hear details like the concerns about practice, the reputation of playing soft or just have a barometer about how disappointed so many people are.

        The Office of the President probably only deals with bigger issues like coaching contracts and financial buyouts and TV contracts. My council/panel would at least allow the President to have eyes and ears on the ground into “message board issues” that could come direct from people who follow those things much more closely.


  8. The problem is, the USC administration is so politically correct, they would get rid of football and on saturdays just have feminist discussions at the coliseum. The administration better care because those donations are gonna dry up real fast. I hope they do. Get rid of Swann. Get Del Rio in as the AD and get Dwayne Beckett to be the brains in the AD department. Put John Jackson is as the head coach. His break down on the radio is spot on. Or get David Shaw. His uncle played and coached at SC.


  9. Helton is such a nice guy, not willing to rock the boat. Maybe if they ask him he’ll just resign from the good of the team. The only problem is who becomes interim coach. Even if this could happen without changing the worthless assistants the change won’t work.
    My solution….become a Ram fan?


    1. Stay away from the Chargers. I keep looking to see any news such as “Helton fired” the way they dumped the last two wound up leaving. Tarmac or tipsy I don’t care. He needs to lead the exit.


    1. U are owned,

      how about them corrupt baby blues? They be duin reel good their fella. They have a perfect record, 0-3. They will probably lose to BUY WEEK. That is the week that Johnny Cheetin’ Wooden paid all his players and ugly does not play football.


  10. Great article in SI.

    We have been seeing these same problems but Sam won despite these coaching shortcomings. Which why he refused to play @ USC for another year. The problem is Swann watched the same games we watched but he believed the fake news and gave Helton an extension. Now it’s Swann’s problem cause Helton became his guy not Hadrn’s


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