USC Morning Buzz: Last Player Leaving Turn Out Lights

USC opens spring practice today in a familiar fashion: With a player leaving the program.

Wide receiver/cornerback Keyshawn Young has departed to transfer to another school. Young hasn’t made much of an impression at USC but he is another player whose departure comes at a time when he should see a path to playing time.

USC doesn’t have a lot of slot receivers right now other than Amon-Ra St. Brown.

But remember a few days ago a player told me “more players will transfer.”

One of the big questions this spring was going to be if the intensity/physicality of practices would change?

But with so many bodies leaving the program, it might be difficult to even have physical practices or scrimmage situations with so few receivers.

As usual, blame it on Clay Helton and Lynn Swann.

25 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: Last Player Leaving Turn Out Lights

  1. All programs lose players instead I suggest Scott, if you haven’t already, read Joey Kaufman’s article in yesterday’s Torrance Daily Breeze/Long Beach Press-Telegram per Graham Harrell – very insightful, detailed and most of all another view of what Haden-Swann-Helton have imposed upon the USC football program.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Whether we take umbrage with the Wolfinator’s Fear & Loathing in ColiCali approach…these defections, particularly in the areas they are primarily concentrated, bring into focus a prediction/concern many of us raised previously…the perfect excuse for continuing the ruinous (hey Mule!, as slow on the uptake as I am, it just occurred to me how apropos that ‘conjugation’ of Bruin is!) practice of…not non-practice…as in the lack of depth…

    You can already see it on the horizon…Helton and Pendergast making excuses about depth and using that to justify minimal contact and going soft in spring and fall practices…MG and I had a back-and-forth on this where he was checking my pessimism as to the potential for improvement on offense with Harrell as OC…we more or less agreed I think that the whole not going full speed with contact in spring ball…or not…would be a revealing indicator of how much influence the new OC actually could exercise (the excuse of “installing the offense” already being readily available, the defections/lack of depth exacerbating that…I’m still pessimistic)…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey James —Good to wake up to such a prescient piece of writing. Yep. You nailed it —circumstances “beyond his control” (except they really weren’t beyond his control) will “force” Helton into doing what he wanted to do all along —-run his brand of soft practice. I invite you to listen to the interview Bruce Feldman gave concerning Helton’s practices. He described them as unfocused and energy-less. He said he asked veteran reporters how these compare to the practices Pete Carroll ran and they told him the two systems were as different as night and day. I honestly don’t think it would matter so much if our schedule was composed of finesse teams only —but Fresno State, Stanford, Utah, Notre Dame and, now, Arizona State all play very physical football…..

      Liked by 3 people

      1. MG-

        Good morning in paradise…

        As always you’re “steel on target.” The insight you’re providing is identical to the way I see this…many of us have experiences/backgrounds similar enough in terms of “problem to be solved” that enable us to evaluate this in terms of equating ends/means and causation…you don’t step on a field against a Saban or Kelly-coached team not having prepared your team for a physical contest…if you do, you might expect to…uh…lose…say…55-6…even if more of your players go onto more significant careers in the NFL than the opponents do (although this appears to be increasingly a waning state of affairs)…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yeah, James —-It’s starting to look like “here we go again.” Hope I’m wrong. But all the 2018 fumbles, balls jarred loose from receivers, physical beats —were the result of not practicing the way Carroll practiced (fast and hard). I can tell you what the defensive backs coach at Stanford will be telling his guys during game week —“get in their faces, be all over them, don’t worry about the refs.” To be prepared for that style football, you have to practice that kind of football.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Every facet is critical, and that example of what the defensive backs do to our receivers is an excellent example of exactly the way teams conceive of playing USC now…as opposed to how, as Dan Weber has frequently described it, the way they used to fear playing USC under Pete (or Robinson or McKay), as in piss pooling at their feet a la “Gladiator” …

        I think in terms of line play, where I think the tone is set (part of why I’m not a fan of the Air Raid, even though I get that the days of Student Body Left/Right are to a certain exent – though not entirely, as evidenced by how the Patriots marched – marched! – through the just completed playoffs – see more below)…understanding offensive line play I think is beyond the casual fan…but it can be appreciated by watching, whatever one thinks of them otherwise, the New England Patriots…they change personnel…but the scheme remains the same, and the players execute or are replaced…and by execute, that means not only individual helmet-on-helmet play, but the unit/ensemble aspect (the way players know their spacing, responsibilities based on alignments, how to shunt defensive players person-to person to keep the rush going around the pocket so the QB can step up, or away from the point of attack on run plays)…and if a team’s offensive line plays/practices like this, which can only be done at full speed/full contact (you learn the playbook, you learn the calls/audibles, and then you put sweat and blood into it by hitting, otherwise it’s just lines on the page)…the defensive line has no choice but do so also…those Pete teams…there are lots of stories about how EdO coached that defensive line of Patterson, Cody, Udeze, Nazel, Wright, against Tim Davis’ offensive line…and they weren’t always on friendly terms…and that’s how it should be (I would add that that type of practice leads to proper defensive line play in games, as in dominant defensive linemen don’t run around blocks…they play through them, or shoot through a gap when possible, but not by running around…that undisciplined/soft/lazy habit makes it much easier for an offense to exploit a defense in both the run and pass games)…

        Liked by 2 people

      4. James —I LIKE to think that Helton comprehends everything you said about execution (just as I LIKE to think that Swann has some desire to get things back on track) —but, for some reason, beyond even the soft practices —Clay Helton’s players do NOT play every down as though it were the ONLY down. Please spend 5 minutes listening to Keely Eure’s interview with Bruce Feldman —-Feldman actually can’t bring himself to say how bad he thinks Helton is (as a coach, not as a man) until the final minute of the interview —–when he basically says —-“I guess this is all just a really long winded way of saying that USC is really dysfunctional —USC has so much going for it, it’s hard to screw it up —but that’s what Helton has done.”

        Liked by 2 people

      5. MG

        Understood (and I do listen to that show/podcast – a lot of what I described above has been discussed in his own way by Coach Hyde ad nauseum, who knows it way better than I ever could…as well, Dan Weber is excellent and has addressed these issues in a very thoughtful and polite way for a number of years…)…

        Liked by 2 people

      6. James —Not to do this theme to death (but since I already have — here goes) —- I forgot about Coach Hyde’s constant complaints concerning the way Helton prepares his team. He’s been ahead of the curve on this from the very beginning. But I really enjoyed your (implicit) criticism of Dan Weber (and, actually, many others —including Keely herself) who are obviously VERY ACUTELY aware of the problems at the top and, for professional reasons, veil their criticisms to the point where you could say they aren’t giving honest assessments. I’ve watched the extremely football-smart Dan Weber bite his tongue dozens of times as he’s about to lower the boom. Why? He’s a gentleman and a professional and he doesn’t want to inject too much vitriol into his reporting. The problem?
        Dan and Keely need to face the fact that Helton is absolutely killing USC football —and not be afraid to put their thoughts into words. Fans are depending on them to give it to us straight. If they (and others) do that, Clay may finally REALLY feel the heat, back off and let Harrell pull the offense out of the doldrums —and, if that happens, Clancy’s defense will play off the energy.

        Liked by 3 people

      7. Couldn’t say it any better…absolutely agreed…Dan is beyond smart and is a class act (not that Coach Hyde isn’t, he just goes about his business in a different way…they’re both enjoyable to listen to)…

        Liked by 2 people

  3. The players leaving were not going to see much playing time. USC needs to build a core of 3-4 star players with a smattering of 5 stars. The players leaving don’t care about their USC education. They just want to play can’t fault them there. I think Sears and Fink get the value of a 4 year degree at USC and will stay to get that then split if no playing time.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, karma, it’s a really good idea —if the definition of “smattering” is “zero”……

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes to both of you…in the right percentage/degree, if that follows…they don’t all have to be five stars…what this program is in serious need of are Mike Pattersons and Lofa Tatupus and Clay Matthews…and we still need to go get the Reggie Bushes, Adoree Jacksons, etc…but whoever we bring in, they need to be provided…not forced/condemned to!…with an environment/atmosphere that maximizes their ability to put their natural competitive natures to the optimal use…as MG (interpreting Feldman) stated above…a practice environment that makes the games a picnic…all great organizations do that…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Clay Helton plays favorites with his players just like Kiffin and Sarkisian did before him.

    All three are lousy second rate coaches who do nothing but waste talent, it’s why USC was labeled with the term, “Where 4 & 5 star recruits go to die”.

    Player development under those three idiots…non-existent.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 100% agree…those that don’t, it’s because they did it on their own (and even then their development was delayed – how much better would Leonard, Sam, RoJo, JuJu, Adoree…Biggie…be with proper coaching at USC? how much faster would they have approached their potential?)…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Without intending to do so, you guys are making a case for recruits to attend Utah, Boise St., Wazu, & maybe CAL where these teams are forced to do more with less.


        Liked by 3 people

    2. tebow — I say yes (mostly yes) & no to what you’ve written. Yes, you’re right that Kiffin, Sarkisian and Helton are not complete coaches (though I wouldn’t call even Clay second rate —-he’s just not the kind of coach USC deserves—okay, okay —the kind of coach any major university deserves). Yes, there isn’t very much, if any, player development under Helton. All his quarterbacks go backwards —and what can you say about tight ends who can’t block, defensive ends who can’t finish the tackle, corners that can’t cover and centers who can’t snap? And we’re talking about the starters! It gets REALLY bad when they send in the 2’s and 3’s. I guess the only thing I disagree with is (and Scott often makes the same argument you do —so maybe there’s SOMETHING to it) the bit about Clay playing favorites. Unless he’s crazier than I think, all Clay is doing when he plays one guy ahead of another is doing his best to put the top players on the field. That’s not favoritism, it’s just football (well, the way he does it —-it doesn’t always look like football —but you know what I mean).

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Clay is cleaning house, he’s running off the wimps… this will be a little bit of a rebuild, trojan fans need to be patient. Give Clay some time, in a few years he’ll have Troy competing for the big prizes.

    VIVA CLAY!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As always, Miguelito, my own mini-me, you are wise beyond your years.
      Luckily for all us Trojan fans, Swann sees things your way —and will give Clay all the time he needs.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ha! Clever! [When it comes to things said by the ever-entertaining Miguelito, emphasis always has to be placed on the “plot” (attempt), not “manipulate” (successful result) part of your sentence]…….

        Liked by 1 person

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