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

With USC playing Notre Dame on Saturday, Clay Helton decided to compare himself to Irish coach Brian Kelly.

What a mistake that was for Helton. The USC coach talked about how Notre Dame went 4-8 in 2016 and bounced back enough to be undefeated this season and contending for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

But Helton left out a few details.

  • Kelly took Notre Dame to the BCS title game in 2012.
  • When Notre Dame went 4-8, Kelly hired a new offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, special teams coach and strength coach and brought 17 new staff members in the football staff.
  • Can you imagine Helton firing that many people? If he did it would come on someone else’s orders.
  • Remember this: When Helton took over for Steve Sarkisian, he kept Sarkisian’s secretary and strength coach. Those are usually the first two people who get replaced when a coach takes over a program. Paul Hackett did it. Pete Carroll did it. Lane Kiffin did it. Sarkisian did it.

Helton did not do it.

Even if Helton did overhaul his staff, does he have the personality to restore the discipline needed to become an elite program? No.

  • Clay Helton is not a leader of men. He never has been.
  • Unlike Kelly, Helton never got a title game before his losing season. USC came close in 2016 but Helton bottled it by waiting too long to start Sam Darnold over Max Browne. When I harped on this, USC fans would always complain I needed to move on because the Trojans would simply get into the College Football Playoff the next two seasons.

How did that work out?

  • For years, the Notre Dame club of Los Angeles hosted a big luncheon in downtown Los Angeles the day before the USC-Notre Dame game at the Coliseum. The head coaches from both teams would attend. But the event was discontinued.
  • Why was USC so inept stopping the run against UCLA? I asked an NFL coach: “A lot of it starts before the ball is snapped. It’s all on where your eyes are. They don’t know where to look.”
  • The worst part of the UCLA game was how bad USC looked on the offensive and defensive lines. Notre Dame is way better than UCLA in both areas.
  • Last weekend, it finally occured to me how to describe JT Daniels: Just good enough to get you beat. This is why I compare him to Rob Johnson.
  • If Clay Helton is not fired by Monday, it probably won’t happen.
  • If you have read Helton is coming back, just remember if USC gets demolished by Notre Dame, that will have an impact. So things can change over the weekend.

33 thoughts on “If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

  1. Hoping against the nearly impossible for a 1970-type of upset (tip of the hat to Russoviet), for the sake of the guys on the team, because it is the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football, and because there is no way I could ever root against SC. But if the upset of the century does happen, it will be because the kids on the team figure it out entirely by themselves.


  2. Either Helton restaffs most of the assistants or he gets canned. Swann will have to let Helton know these two choices by tomorrow even if sc wins


  3. It’s really close to the equivalent. You say that the Domers went to the National Championship game a couple of years before it’s title game appearance (which they LOST). USC finished #3 after a Rose Bowl which they WON. Just got to keep the facts straight.


    1. You get your Qs from Dan Weber and Amaya as you stated yesterday. Nice guys, working hard. They’ve got more in common with Helton than you realize…


      1. I listen to everybody… My leanings in general are against USC whiners. I’m generally a USC loyalist, but I’m not the guy who constantly wants a new coach, especially when you just won a Rose – a ton of SC Whiners were calling for Clay’s head 2 years ago….


      2. And, I’ve defended Helton more than many, but, I’m also see signs that show he’s stubborn to a fault, retreating in rebellion, resists good counsel, discounts the alumni and mismanages personnel, which all have lead to an obvious inability to stop the team’s descent. His second half performance the last few weeks alone is atrocious. Didn’t he just take over the play calling from Tee due to issues? It’s all there….


    1. Great….a guy who plays no defense, couldn’t beat Helton, can’t beat Ohio St, and wilts in Ann Arbor and needs overtime to beat Appalachian St…. that would appear to be Lynn just going back to Pennsylvania…..what kind of search is that? Not a good one. He’s the one who put USC in jeopardy with all these extensions in the first place, I’m assuming.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE PEOPLE BEEN CITING THE TROJAN LOSS LAST YEAR TO OHIO STATE? 1000S! A Franklin addition doesn’t look any different than Helton loss, especially when the man’s team couldn’t beat Helton!


  4. Every other coach in the PAC 12 would have taken USC’s current talent to the playoffs, because the conference is so weak, they would have gone undefeated. Clay Helton was too insecure to hire a credible, proven offensive, and defensive coordinator, because there personalities would’ve been over bearing for him . That’s the difference between Bozo Helton, and Ed Oregon, Orgeron knew he needed top assistants to get the LSU program pointed in the right direction, and that’s exactly what he’s done, there’s a vast difference between the LSU, and USC football teams, and Helton got a years start on Orgeron

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t want to speculate on the next coach. There are too many good not Helton’s out there. However I agree with Scott the window of opportunity is extremely narrow. If Swann snoozes he loses and we become the University of Second Choice again. That’s the problem with Franklin. If he takes his team to a bowl game we have to wait for that to go by before we can think about him. Then we have to make sure he’s serious about moving and not just renegotiating his current contract.
    Either way a miracle win and bowl game do not make up for the fiasco of a season.


  6. https://bit.ly/2FFgJqu

    Note Chris Petersen heads the list followed by Jack Del Rio, John Harbaugh (NFL-Bal), Deno Babers (SYR), James Franklin (PA St.), Matt Campbell (IA St.), Matt Wells (UT St.) then PC and Mike McCarthy.

    Wolf is right about one thing – if tomorrow is a re-enactment of that incident that occurred up in MT 25th-26th June 1876, Helton will be gone. Barring that who knows but retaining this poor fool will not help anyone associated with moving forward until he is relieved of his duties and shown the door – he has absolutely no idea nor the character it takes to succeed in this dog eat dog competitive business and is equally lacking in controlling the conduct of his own players. ex[pect some ‘off-site’ incident next based on the lack of control on the field.


    1. Really, Commie Lush, that bozo u actually believes Chris Peterson would resign as UDub’s HFBC and accept the SUCC position defies credulity – surely Clown U isn’t that gullible.


    2. But will Petersen leave Washington and come to the place he felt unfit with this time around? I think JDR is right on the doorstep, and Harbaugh would be a home run hire, but he might want to stay in the pros. Who’s your favorite?


    3. Wow, impress us all with your grasp of the past. We all bow to your superior intellect (albeit typically dulled by vodka)
      Thanks for reminding all of us how smart you thing you are.
      History major????


  7. James Franklin might be a clear upgrade from Helton, but do you take him over Jack Del Rio even if he’s available and wants the job? Yeah, he doesn’t have any college coaching experience and all that, but I personally want to see him as the next HC for SC because of all his NFL credentials and accumulated wisdom. I have a feeling that he will do quite well for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Raiders thought so much of Del Rio’s “NFL credentials,” they fired him in favor of Gruden who hadn’t coached in the NFL for 10 years.

      Peontoejam, I’d still like to purchase “…the USC umbrella.”


      1. You may WANT to buy one, but you can’t afford it because you’ve got to be living in a tent perilously located near a sucla sewage gutter. Roflmao!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I guarantee all coaches in the PAC 12 want Clay Helton at USC, because they know how a competent coach would dominate the conference, year after year


    1. Yeah, that’s for sure. With Helton they’ve got their 12th man playing for them because he keeps helping the opponents in various ways. LOL!


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