Was USC Spring Showcase Indicative Of Coming Season?

Graham Harrell made sure to stay as far away from Clay Helton during the spring practice. And someone should tell the Pac-12 Network that it’s Joe DeForest, not John.

Jokes aside, I’m not sure how people are able to determine how USC will be next season based on snippets of scrimmaging at Cromwell Field?

Markese Stepp has been a star at spring practice but did you see the collection of early enrollee freshmen and walk-ons on the field for his 55-yard TD run? I counted at least six. And watch Drake Jackson on that play. He didn’t look quite as good as on the pick six everyone is talking about post scrimmage.



15 thoughts on “Was USC Spring Showcase Indicative Of Coming Season?

  1. The BEST thing coming out of today’s scrimmage as far as Fresno State and Coach Tedford are concerned is hearing Helton say USC is “ready to play tomorrow.” Anyone watching today could easily see that USC has a LONG way to go to before it’s ready to run against Fresno State, block Fresno State or catch balls against Fresno State. I hope Helton was KNOWINGLY engaging in hyperbole. The alternative would be very sad.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. MG, I think that Scottie is downplaying Stepp, who is big and strong and surprisingly quick. I can imagine him being the biggest surprise of 2019.

      What happened to Carr? He was poised for such a breakout year. Still feeling the effects of last year’s injuries?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 67—It looks more and more (to experienced observers like Dan Weber) like Carr is not gonna be the guy in 2019. He has that wonderful burst but he can’t be counted on to find the hole regularly. He just never grew into being any every down back.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. MG, the lack of development of players is really concerning. Stephen Carr was a 5 star back, and was the third ranked back his recruiting year. He had offers from almost everyone including Bama, Oklahoma, Georgia, LSU, Michigan… and he seems to have not developed at all.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Gomer is doing a disservice to his team and himself with that kind of rhetoric. He is doing the same thing as last year…over promising and under delivering. If he wants improvement with the team he should emulate a winning coach like Saban who publically is unhappy with his team after spring ball in an effort to drive his team to work harder. Do you think Saban is saying that his team is ready to play ball tomorrow? Gomer is emulating his dad Kim Helton and will be emulating his dad’s 23-57 record if Swann doesn’t get off the golf course

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Freedom Bowl part deux.

        Four vet O/L return for FS + 4 experienced RB’s to exploit FS healthy ground game.

        No doubt Tedford will turn to UCLA/bozo game film for ways and means to dominate the Clown U, twinkie defense.



  2. If I remember right he said he wishes he could play next week. It was not because of preparedness but because everyone is excited to play football. At least that is what I heard as he was mic’d up.

    Dan Weber said this was just like every other practice. To me that is good news. They are practicing with lots of game type situations and lots of reps.

    This was much better than that mess from last year.


  3. They have an identity that matches with their team mix and skill set. They are hurry up all the way and the simple scheming allows the players to reduce mistakes.


  4. Carr is a wide receiver trapped in the body of a RB. SC is thin at WR so why not put him there especially under Air Raid? Another player playing out of best position.

    They are thin and just adequate at OL as well. They need infusion of JC and transfer players but Helton has scared those away by hiring coaches on nepotism and friendship instead of competence. The historical reservoir of Intangible Social Capital in recruiting at SC has disappeared at SC and Helton can no longer rely on that to win big. Whereby Tedford at Fresno State has to depend on developing players.

    What’s interesting this spring is that JDT is not dominating the QB competition. According to observers, he looks much better in practice but can’t handle the pressure and physicality of games as well and sets up too slow. Whereby someone like Sears is bored by practice and is a gamer. Gotta play guys in games, not practices, to test their mettle. I can tell you firsthand that you can train all you want but combat is entirely something you can’t really prepare for. Some can do it but others can’t and you don’t know who can until you are under fire. JTD may hypothetically better fit the Air Raid than other QB’s but he is too slow and immobile to be a good fit for just an adequate OL. Find the QB who fits the team strengths and weaknesses not whom you want to groom for some pipe dream of a Heisman. Pretend you don’t know the personalities of the QB’s and drop your preferences and just pick the best fit who can overcome SC’s weaknesses on the OL, TE, and lack of speedy receivers. As in marriage, fit is everything.

    Harrell has apparently correctly diagnosed part of SC’s past error/penalty problems as too complex and slow a scheme coupled with laxity of discipline and a lack of second effort perhaps due to demoralization. Poor play calling only compounded these problems. But under Air Raid the play calling factor is held to a minimum and effort and knowing your positioning/routes is more important. Harrell wants to play “pitch and catch” with some power running – an intriguing combination I am not sure has been tried on any Air Raid team.

    The key to upcoming season will be Fall Camp not Spring. Too many new players coming in they need to rely on to fill meaningful roles. Christon, Rodriguez, Watson and Briton Allen need to be tested early to see if they can play meaningful roles.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. agree with most of what you state,one exception,remember ‘practice makes perfect’ and the old Marine saying when I was in,55 yrs ago:
      “the more you sweat in peace,the less you bleed in war” drill drill drill and practice ,practice and practice some more,one does prepare for combat.
      BUT , I do agree a q/b must be a Gamer, a can’t wait to get on the field, a Kenny ‘the snake’ Stabler ,or a Carson Palmer, and Gamers are born, rarely made.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. noone is talking about the offensive line spreads. quite a bit wider than in the past. i cant tell if that o-line is going to be effective at all, i saw plenty of defensive linemen blow past the o-line, and they all seemed to be putting in 80% effort. you really have to wonder if there are massive problems on the o-line, but it is not apparent due to the fact that these are not full contact, full speed scrimmages.

    some nice changes to the offense, but if the team is not physical up front, it might not matter. this situation is still a big question. no doubt that swann will be gone and helton’s leash will be very short. i say he needs better than 3-3 in the first six games to stay. i assume there is a search for a new athletic director already happening, so they can minimize the time without an AD. a good AD will want to replace helton fast if the team does not win. im hoping harrell works out, but this is a huge gamble on taking the air raid offense into a school like SC.

    it all comes down to offensive line and defensive secondary. i think burns will rise to the coaching challenge, but not sure about those wide o-line spreads.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As far as I’m concerned, you’ve totally nailed it. The o-line looks like a problem again. Drevno just seems to stand around trying to see if he can gain enough weight to fall through the turf —and his players look as lethargic as he is. & It doesn’t help matters that Helton keeps spewing happy talk.


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