USC Morning Buzz: Clay Helton Envious?

Like I always say, first practices are not a great barometer of much.

One thing that was a little surprising Tuesday, though, was the tempo of USC’s first practice was pretty much the same as any other Clay Helton-led practice.

One might assume practices will be faster than in the past to change USC’s soft culture.

The pro-Helton crowd will counter that the head coach and his staff are focused on teaching and correcting mistakes so maybe tempo is not paramount. The funny part Tuesday was Helton looked envious of Graham Harrell leading the offense.

Helton could only watch because the offensive scheme and coordination is Harrell’s duty now. Still, it looked like it jarred Helton to not be able to run the offense or at least supervise the quarterbacks. Helton’s job duties require him to be the head coach now. Not the guy who secretly called plays.

“I want us to focus more on the fundamentals and techniques of the game because I think we’re as talented as anybody we’ll play next year, at least equivalent, if not better,” Helton said.

That is pretty much true every year for USC. And recently, they have needed to be much better because Helton doesn’t come close to getting the most out of his players.

31 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: Clay Helton Envious?

  1. Gomer learned to coach from his father Kim Helton. Kim Helton’s récord as the head coach of the University of Houston…24 wins, 53 losses, 1 tie. Enough said.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey look, Calabasas —if we move that tie over to the win column, Kim got almost—-but not quite—- a one third winning percentage…..


      1. He probably had Bear Bryant, Tom Osborne,
        Woody Hayes, Barry Switzter, and the likes ringing off his hook wanting to open the season against him. Kim saw it as a chance for his Houston warriors to battle in hostile environments.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks, Scott. I like the way you dig a little deeper than other reporters. Helton “looked envious.” Good stuff. I’d love to hear additional reports when Helton looks happy … or sad … or mad … or concerned.


    1. I’d amend your smart observation to read, “the type of stuff that’s ABOVE and below conspiracy theorists….” It’s “below” because Scott actually has LESS to go on than the people who think the Mafia killed Kennedy —-but “above” because Scott understands human psychology well enough to know exactly how Helton felt yesterday —–even if Helton is a master at hiding his actual feelings (it’s always been his strong suit).


      1. Ha!!

        MG, Maybe the look on Helton’s face is not envy, maybe it is more like:

        “Hey, this new guy Harrell gives me a chance to save my job!”

        Liked by 3 people

  3. until they play at full speed,block and tackle at full speed, they will not know how to play at full speed or what needs correcting ….full speed is AT GAME SPEED…that is why they lost it last year…not prepared.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I believe we will be pleasantly surprised with the play of this team. They will be allowed to use their athleticism with simpler play calling that is opportunistic. The new blood coaches, refs will bring focus and proper schooling to the hungry players.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would bet that SC will rarely if not ever practice ‘full speed w/ pads’ in the spring because the team is too thin on D & can’t risk loosing a guy.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cal75 —I (begrudgingly) concede that you’ve come up with some great stuff —“Helton’s in over his head” is not up there at the top.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. CAL 75,

        Even if he had a full defense and dline, he still wouldn’t. That would not be in his nature. But for the first three practices, they can only be in shorts and helmets.


      1. 1-6? Not with this much talent and Graham Harrell as O. C. (Although, I’d like it a lot better if Graham had been allowed to bring in his OWN receivers coach —– once again, Clay is putting blind loyalty to staff over the demands of putting together a winning team)…..


  5. I like Clay Helton…. and we all know that standards are very high at USC. Even if the team has a little better season, I don’t think he’ll be around next year. I like Mike Leach to be the next HC, and keep the Air Raid going if it works.


  6. Having observed the Southern California sporting scene for more than 50 years, I have witnessed some ghastly managers and coaches, none of whom were as incompetent, as pathetic, as disoriented, as campy as this cartoon character known as Clay Helton still vainly overseeing a once proud football program at USC. It’s bad enough to endure the bottomless drivel that continually emits from his mouth—he has an inexhaustible supply of bromides that bore me brilliantly—but I find it horrifying the on-the-job-retirement AD at USC, Lynn Swann, would dare allow Mr. Helton to pollute the USC campus for still another season.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Most people are too merciful to put it quite this way, Doug. But, man, you said it awfully well.
      Does the presence of Harrell bolster your hopes at all?


      1. No! For some illogical reason, Pat Haden disinterred Mr. Helton from the gridiron coaching dung hill in what was one of his many disastrous miscalculations during his ignominious AD Incumbency. Pure and simple, Mr. Helton is an awful head coach who is a classic example of the Peter Principle!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I was afraid you’d say that, Doug. [It’s always possible that Clay’s been told he’s Head Coach in name only and that his job is to hold pressers in a baseball cap……]


    2. Mr. Krikorian,

      What an honor and pleasure to see (per your writing) that you are still active. I loved it when you and Joe McDonnell (RIP) were on a radio show. You would be great at ESPN 710 A.M. on the afternoon drive. You would give Petros a run for his money. Please, visit this blog more often. You are breath of fresh air. God Bless you.

      Liked by 1 person

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