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

The way Clay Helton is dragging his feet hiring an offensive coordinator, he is simply raising expectations that he might hire an NFL assistant coach who is participating in this weekend’s NFC and AFC championship games.

That is the best-case scenario for USC fans. The worst case scenario, and it is being tossed around the McKay Center, is that offensive line coach Tim Drevno becomes offensive coordinator.

Does Helton want to still run an Air Raid offense? I don’t think he has a clue. My guess is Helton wants to call plays but wonders if he could get away with it?

Everything Helton does tends to be wrapped with insecurity.

So he can probably bring in Air Raid specialist Graham Harrell and force him to start JT Daniels, unlike Kliff Kingsbury, who made it clear he would decide who starts.

There is speculation by some that Rams assistant Jedd Fisch is a candidate. I don’t see how Fisch wants to become part of the Helton swamp while his stock rises as long as he is tied to Rams coach Sean McVay.

The problem, which Helton may or may not understand, is that some key offensive skill players want Jack Sears to be the quarterback.

  • The Polynesian Bowl is Saturday and features a few players USC wants to sign next month like wide receiver Puka Nacua, offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi and safety Noa Pola-Gates.

What fascinates me about this bowl game is how so many kids miss an entire week of school while they are in Hawaii. This is a week many high schools have final exams so it’s not like it’s a dead week academically.

Also, the recruiting services head there en masse for the week even though so little news is generated especially with most recruits signing last month on early Signing Day.

  • USC safety Marvell Tell is going to skip the Senior Bowl apparently because of the sprained ankle that kept him out of the Notre Dame game. He is being replaced on the roster by USC cornerback Iman Marshall.

Tell has not played since Nov. 17 against UCLA so his ankle injury rivals Kevin Porter’s thigh bruise.

  • I always like to hear new stories about Julie’s Restaurant, which was the place to go at USC, especially in the 1960’s and 70’s. Here is a story on how Rams coach Chuck Knox brought his staff to challenge USC coach John McKay and staff to a drinking contest.

This week I heard another story: Legendary baseball player/manager Casey Stengel used to go to Julie’s after attending USC baseball games. Stengel was a mentor and close friend of USC baseball coach Rod Dedeaux. He signed Dedeaux to a pro baseball contract in 1935 with the Brooklyn Dodgers for a $1,500 signing bonus.

Dedeaux played at Hollywood High School and Stengel spotted him while living in Southern California during the offseason. When Stengel went to Julie’s, he sometimes ran into McKay, who was the most famous Julie’s customer and even had his own booth.

In the picture below, restaurant owner Julie Kohl pretends to take a hammer to the McKay booth, which she later shipped to him in Tampa Bay when he coached the Buccaneers.

  • USC plays UCLA in basketball on Saturday at the Galen Center and I haven’t talked to anyone this week who cares?

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

  1. It makes no difference who calls the plays for the Trojans next season, because year after year under Clay Helton the lineman get pushed around along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball . That’s why I don’t celebrate the signing of 4 and 5 star players who play those positions, because they never develop under Helton, they just disappear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Especially a guy like betiku. He came in as a 5 star based purely on his athleticism but was raw and needed coaching that Heltons staff never gave him. I hope he gets the coaching he deserves at his next stop.


  2. Yes! Chano’s is good at training employees on how to make a good burritos….. But I’m not sure that he can get a job there with a southern Cal education…


  3. Dan Weber has just put up a very worthwhile article explaining why USC’s schedule this season isn’t as bad as most are saying. It’s a smart article —but it exposes Weber —once again —-as someone who believes Clay Helton, for all his mistakes and crazy talk, knows how to reclaim leadership of his team. As he did all last year, Dan is still proceeding from the assumption that Clay sees what everyone else sees —-that USC football needs to return to the “win forever” principles preached by Pete Carroll. And Clay doesn’t see that. Not one bit. And it’s not an intellectual thing with Clay either —it’s instinctive: on the deepest level of his being, Clay WANTS to take USC football as far as he can get it from Pete’s ‘survival of the fittest’ model.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ha! [I’m just glad I was walking over to the Fish Market —smiling and talking to myself —–and missed this post when it came in. Now, the statute of limitations on response has run….and I’m off the hook}……


  4. Scott Linehan was just released from the Dallas Cowboys as their OC. He might be a good choice for SC if interested. We could use his expertise at this juncture. And if we could get a running back like Elliot, then happy days might be upon us in So Cal😁


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