With a big quarterback decision looming in August, here is a story from 2016 that I have never written but will recount for the benefit of new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell.
About two weeks before USC played Alabama in 2016, Clay Helton told his coaching staff Sam Darnold had outperformed Max Browne and would be the starter. The coaches adjusted the game plan for Darnold to start the Alabama game.
The next day, the coaches heard media reports that Helton had named Browne the starter.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to play the best player and who’s performing the best,” Helton told reporters when he named Browne the starter. “You can’t look at your other players in the eye and not play the best player.
“Usually if you’re not playing the best player, you’re losing games. They usually find a new head coach, so you’d better put the best 11 out there that you can put out there.”
- An update: I’ve heard Helton was on crutches because he had bone spurs. Conflicting injury stories? Just like when a USC player gets hurt. Either way he is on crutches.