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 it Sam Darnold’s first start in perhaps the second-loudest stadium in the Pac-12 (Rice-Eccles Stadium). USC wins the Rose Bowl in dramatic fashion over Penn State behind Darnold’s heroics.

Year 2: USC suffers a narrow loss at Washington State, is embarassed by Notre Dame and gets completely dominated by Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl.

Year 3: USC is shut down by Stanford and outscored 34-0 in the final three quarters by an average-looking Texas team. And it’s only three games into the season.

Why did people not see this trend? USC is not getting better since 2016. It is going in the opposite direction.

If you want Helton to be the coach, that is fine. But you cannot argue the program is making progress. So this whole “Helton needs time to prove himself” theory is not valid. He has been proving himself. If you like it, then everything is fine. If not, then you just have to bear it.


31 thoughts on “Morning Buzz: USC Going In One Direction

  1. Hell, I wasn’t impressed with him even in his first year. In fact, I never have been. He’s just not a Power 5 conference caliber head coach material. Probably not even a top-flight assistant for an elite team.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. His problem is that he never established himself as a coordinator of any type with any particular type of offensive philosophy. So he has to get one that does. The only way he survives a couple more years is if he does what Coach O at LSU and get a seasoned offensive coordinator. Additionally, an o-line coach who can relate to these kids.


  2. I think Gomer’s safe until the new President is hired. If the new guy is like the Greek, clueless, he’s safe, if he knows anything about football, he’s done, until then, he’ll continue to ruin SC football


      1. Oh no, Commie Succ, Mr. Faux Intellect, has jumped the point track once again. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t SW’s Blog all about bozo u’s run to the NCAA, 2018 National Championship game.

        However, Commie Succ has, for the twelve thousandth time, rehashed his JW fake news, peckerhead schtick. Just for the record CS, JW didn’t have to hire Mr. Alcindor as an Asst. Coach to recruit his son Lewis to UCLA. Fight on.


  3. The only thing I want to hear from Helton next time is, ” Your Fired”, stating that the oline coach, o corrdinator, and the db coach. If not, then Swann needs to say, “Your Fired” to Helton.

    Might as well fire Swann. I hope SC gets a president that understands what football is to SC. If that is the case, they will clean house.


  4. The signs have been there, especially with the offense.

    RoJo may have been a 1,000+ rusher but alot of those were runs for big gains. USC has struggled with short yardage for quite awhile now. The screwed up a 3rd/4th and goal in Texas last year. They couldn’t punch it in against WSU after Nuwosu’s pick gave them 1st and Goal inside WSU’s 5 yard line. And, they struggled to run against the Bruins last year when UCLA had the worst run defense in the country. But wins and a 1,000+ yard rusher (mostly from big gains) helps to mask the problem.

    The problem is Tee Martin’s lack of skill in playcalling and the soft offense being run. It was magnified tremendously on Saturday but the symptoms have been there for a long time now.


  5. From the Sports Illustrated article

    “USC closed as a 3.5-point underdog, the 11th time the team hasn’t been favored in a game under Helton. The 1–10 record in those contests is a damning enough indicator of how his teams get up for elite competition, but it’s not just the constant losses—it’s how often the Trojans are getting blown out in them, like they aren’t even worthy of being on the same field.”

    “The average score of those 11 games has been 32.9–16.2. In seven of those contests, USC has lost by a three-score deficit (at least 17 points or more).

    For all of the talent that USC has, this simply should not be a consistent result. Its last five recruiting classes, starting from 2014, have been ranked No. 10, No. 2, No. 10, No. 4 and, most recently, No. 4 by 247Sports.”

    The other three programs to have top-10 recruiting classes in each of the past five years? Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia.”


      1. Yeah, good luck locating him. Maybe I should send it to Pat Haden, I wouldn’t doubt it if he’s still calling the shots for the USC Athletic Dept.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Gomer is a joke, have 0 intelligence and need to go asap. Having 0 experience as a head coach, what does he do, he appoints persons with 0 experience as o coordinator, 0 experience as d line coach and then 0 experience as q coach on top of other pathetic appointments eg d line coach, st coach etc.


  7. Darnold masked a huge number of gaffes and shortcomings in coaching. How many throws did Sam make after the called play had broken down? And with a QB that good, any team playing to stop the run is selecting suicide.

    Bottom-line: Helton was Haden’s guy. And just like Sark, just as inadequately vetted. Helton’s failings are manifest – from well before starting Max Browne ahead of Sam Darnold up to the Utah game in 2016. He is simply not a solid HC, from personnel decisions, to assistant coach selections, to team focus and discipline – all phases of his game are lacking.

    The fear is nothing will be done to right-the-ship under Lynn Swann as AD (again, a Pat Haden hire), and with the USC President search a huge question mark hovering over such matters, two things are probable: (1) Helton will be HC the remainder of the season, and potentially into next season as well, and (2) looking at the schedule, it is difficult to say with absolute certainty what remaining games this season USC football will be favored in [or actually win]…starting with Washington State.

    With the talent available on the USC sideline, this is damnable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It may well be time for the AD to re-evaluate Clay, but if Sam had played to his abilities last season and not fumbled the ball more than 80% of teams in Div 1, we might have been in the playoffs. It’s like having a muscle car, and you don’t give it enough oil. That fumble on the first play from scrimmage against Notre Dame last year was pathetic! Not Clay’s fault.


    2. Reminds one of Nixon/Ford (Haden/Swann) specific to the Mayr Foundation scandal. Just how much did Haden know in advance the Times story was coming? Swann is the weakest and most clueless AD I’ve ever seen – window dressing -as previously noted – another ‘chosen few’ deigned worthy by Haden as his replacement. I doubt Swann would have ever moved quickly to snag Enfield so why would any of us here believe he’d act any differently if a quality potential head football coach appear?

      As many have stated Swann ain’t doin’ nuthin’ what with a new president incoming and even more telling that 3 additional years he foolishly gave Helton. Just who was going to hire Helton anyway? Sweet for the ‘connected’ to Helton apparatchiks whose career is tied to Clay Helton – bigger payouts for them too when Clay gets a well-deserved kick in the backside out the door.


  8. Kiffin, Sark, Helton. Time for an AD with some experience at doing this job.

    If SC is not willing to buy Helton out, then Helton needs to make some changes with his staff. How can Helton evaluate the O-line performance, week after week, and not fire Callaway?


    1. I hear Pat Haden might be named as the new President! Of course, that’ll be after a prominent search committee and millions of dollars will offer the names of a dozen qualified and experienced candidates to the B of T, which the board will summarily ignore and anoint “Lazy Pat” with the position as reward “for revitalizing the football program.”


  9. Wolf nails it, but this is a story that was obvious when Helton took over from Sark…. It was a stupid decision to hire him. It’s stupid to keep him after last year. SC needs to move on and try to hire someone with talent… but after Kiffin, Sark, and now Helton…I’m not sure they can.


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