USC Morning Buzz: Who Makes The Call On Starting QB?

I spoke to a well-placed source Sunday about how the starting quarterback decision will be made?

“It will be decided by (Clay) Helton and (Graham) Harrell together,” the source said. “They might not agree but Helton will be involved and have plenty of say.”

This confirmed what I suspected. Kliff Kingsbury was going to make the decision by himself but Harrell doesn’t quite have that kind of juice yet.

So what does that mean exactly?

“There is a split within the program. Helton is partial to JT Daniels. The players like Jack Sears. What does Harrell want? His dilemma is if he goes along with Helton, he better believe it because it will tarnish him too if it is the wrong decision.”

So it could be another tortured decision.


22 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: Who Makes The Call On Starting QB?

  1. Play Daniels in the first half of the Fresno State game and Sears in the second. Real game time, not practice, is the only way to make that decision. So far Daniels is only an average college QB who is not mobile, which presents problems for the O line. What kind of offense does SC want is perhaps the better question? An offense with an immobile QB who is one dimensional or one that can evade and run as well that can score both ways? Helton doesn’t necessarily want to win games: he wants to play pet players more. Arguably, Sears can win close games by not being so predictable. If SC continues to struggle on the O line and can’t run at all (due to opponents stacking the D-line as they did last year) then the situation may arise where a running QB is necessary to win games. But Helton is not the type of person to do that. He’s not a strong enough person to face parents and tell them someone else will start. He’s not the kind of person to break things up to win. And there is the whole nonsense belief that JTD needs to start so he can win the Heisman (same was said about Barkley and Kessler but fell far short). In fact, Kessler kept playing even when Darnold should have started. SC runs its football program like the Kiwanis Club (it moves leaders through the leadership chairs to the top spot regardless of performance). In some positions, there is no effective backup (guard and maybe safety and tackle) partly due to defections of players who don’t want to play for Helton. What is SC doing to encourage Velus Jones to come back from the transfer portal? He was the most inspiring player last year with his willingness to sacrificially run ahead of kick returner and block. He is a momentum turning player and a role model for competitiveness.

    Yes, Helton is doing better this year with penalty discipline, delegating the offense and defense but he was forced to do those things. And his time out calling was atrocious last year. Did he quietly hire a mentor to do situational coaching on that aspect of head coaching? Probably not. He’s not the type of person to do that unless forced.

    It was embarrassing last year when he called for not going for it on fourth down and the crowd booed and he changed his mind but didn’t make a first down anyway because his play calling and lack of speed in calling plays tipped the opponents to the call. And then JTD came up short in running on fourth down when he stupidly slid short of the first down line in a close game. What would Sears or Fink have done? An extra TD against Notre Dame would have tied the score. And Helton is incapable of making half time adjustments as his opposing coaches do. What is SC doing to remedy the lack of second half scoring from last year? Depending on Harrell. But will Harell call any second half adjustments on defense? No. Will another QB be inserted in the second half of games? No. If none of the receivers can gain separation as happened last year and the running game is squelched, then what? Bring in a running QB not going to happen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Arguably Sears can win close games. Where did he prove that? He lost against Arizona State with a very shaky start after being in the program for over year and a half.

      It looks like Jack Sears is 3rd or 4th string now behind Matt Fink and the new freshman. Jack Sears is at USC to get his USC degree because it will benefit a person like him. He will eventually transfer and play for a year somewhere else.

      JT will be the starter and will thrive in the new system

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Putting aside for a moment the fact that we’re both being skillfully played into a conversation about the ‘qb controversy’ by our clever blogger ——I agree with you, Cloud. Everybody needs to watch the Arizona State game again. And watch how many of Sears’ passes are off the mark but caught anyway due to receiver hustle. And everybody needs to watch the Washington State game again —-the game that turned out to be our biggest win of the season. The Sears you see in the Arizona State game would not be able to convert that beautiful 2 pointer that J. T. threw under pressure.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you all forgotten Gomer’s decision to start Browne over Darnold ? JT will be the starter no matter how bad he is or how good another QB is

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would imagine that Helton ( if he has any instinct for survival ) will allow Harrell to pick the QB. If Helton were to choose and the Trojans open up 1 – 5 our bud Gomer would be down the road. If he let’s Harrell pick and it still doesn’t workout, at least Gomer can say I went with the OC’s choice and has a little bit of cover. I might be giving Gomer too much credit here but I think he will do every thing and any thing to cover his rear end this year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If Gomer had a clue he wouldn’t have taken forever to get a strength coach, he would have canned Baxter and Clancy, he hasn’t a clue as to what he’s doing, the only thing that may save him is a new president that is as clueless as the AD

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree about Baxter and Clancy. We could do better. I’m surprised, though, that you aren’t pointing the finger where it really belongs —-Clay stuck Harrell with Drevno as o-line coach and Colbert as receivers coach. The Air Raid requires the best, most experienced position coaches you could possibly find for those two units. And we don’t have them. Not by a long shot. If Harrell fails, it won’t be because Baxter puts 10 [or 9] men on the field for the extra point try.
        Fortunately for us, I think the new system and reinvigorated players will win a LOT of games this year….


    2. Michael, yes, on the money, this is exactly what one would expect to happen. Helton is paid $4 million per year, and if he is fired, he won’t ever make that again.

      Is Helton this self-aware? Hope so, but some observations suggest he is not.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. No, Linkster, you’re not giving Helton too much credit. He WILL ALWAYS do “everything and anything to cover his rear end.” It’s his specialty. His only specialty. But here’s what’s gonna happen. Harrell will give everybody a shot this season—-and Sears WILL be used in certain game situations (where the mere potential for the qb taking off gives us the edge). But, mostly, you’ll be seeing J. T. —-cuz we need a smart, precision AND a long ball thrower in the game most of the time to make Harrell’s offense work…..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My guess is that Sears will fall to the #4 position. Sears is more of the leader in the locker room and with players, but his play has been weak and inconsistent. The new kid, Slovis, might actually turn out to be the best QB. Bottom line is that neither JT, Fink or Sears has been able to show the ability to win that Darnold had. Maybe Slovis has the talents of JT, but with the ability to perform under pressure.


  4. Let me guess, is it you? Since you are so superior in your football knowledge please tell us who you would choose Scotty.


  5. Who cares? Alums are dumping their tickets and disgusted with USC.

    USC has angered so many alums…

    Enjoy an empty stadium while watching inept coaching and an underperforming team.


    1. Amen. I’m even taking it a step further and fully rooting against USC right now. It’s a crappy feeling to go into a season knowing I want to root against a team I’ve loved for 20+ years- but SC had pushed my support beyond the brink. Only losses will clean out Heritage Hall, which desperately needs it. Who knows if they’ll make the right hire after? But I’m just tired of Helton, Swann, and anything that has to do with the Nikias/Haden era.


    2. papapep,
      If that is the case, then parking will be easier and the food stands won’t be as long to stand in. See, there is always a silver lining in a dark cloud.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Meanwhile, SUCCX baseball dropped 2 of 3 games to UCLA. As I write the bozos are 3 – 6 in conf., and 10 – 16 overall.

    The upshot, SUCCX, for the first time in 112 years, will be sporting losing seasons in FB, BB, and Baseball in the same season cycle – Huzzah!



  7. Scott,
    Sears is 4th string as of now. All of the other QB’s are playing better than he is this spring per just about every other paid beat writer or reporter at the spring practices.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. When did the “team” vote on this?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If, as someone noted, Helton’s forte is covering his butt, Scott’s is provoking qb controversy. Remember what Ali said about Howard C. —-“always agitating, aren’t ya?!”

        Liked by 1 person

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