Morning Buzz: Can USC Learn Lesson From Rival?

Did you see what happened at UCLA practice?

Chip Kelly stopped the practice and made the players change from shorts and jerseys to full pads to pick up the intensity. Cany ou imagine Clay Helton doing that?

What is perplexing is that after the daily videos about how great the strength-and-conditioning program is at USC, 14 percent of the roster either missed or was limited in yesterday’s practice, despite the fact only 2 of 8 practices were in full pads.

And how long is Bru McCoy going to be out? His “illness” has sidelined him for a month, apparently, because he wasn’t attending summer workouts before training camp started.

48 thoughts on “Morning Buzz: Can USC Learn Lesson From Rival?

    1. James
      Just an observation. Coach Helton still doesn’t look like he has laid down the law. Little things like the chains holder looking at his cell phone in his left hand while holding the chains in his right hand during 11/11 drills. Our high school QB had a marker foot peg go through his leg because of a chain holder not paying attention. Since the practices are closed, presumably that kid is on the team. Why are cell phones allowed onto the field?
      Coach Tedford will throw an array of confusing coverages against SC. If Daniels gets the majority of the touches, it will be interesting to see how he handles himself. SC is heavily favored & I don’t think that the final score is as important as how the DB’s & OL & Daniels have evolved from last year. I assume Daniels will be the QB.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. CAL75,

        If Tedford was still at CAL, he would beat Helton hands down. I like Tedford, he is a good coach and he went to Warren High in Downey. If that is the case about the chain holder, this shows the lack of discipline at SC. It is the small things that matter.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Big Bear (I’ve always assumed that referring to Cal as the Big Bear in contrast to the UCLA Little Bear was implicitly understood):

        Great points – detailed points. Detailed like a coach should be. And on that “laying down the law…or not…” problem…

        When I was finishing up ROTC in preparation for heading to Fort Benning my primary enlisted instructor made me watch “Platoon” with him…he took great delight in replaying multiple times the scene where Tom Berenger’s platoon sergeant (Barnes) strikes the platoon leader (Lieutenant Wolfe) in the head with the radio handset, in the middle of a fire fight, over a botched indirect fire support mission (ie failed leadership)…whether people like Stone or his films or not, he was there, and he got most of that stuff perfect.

        Helton has never, from what I’ve seen, for even a moment looked like he was in charge, and living in a state of anything but fear…

        And when that is the case, even if holding titular leadership, the individual is compromised and incapable of acting in a way that commands…demands…respect, discipline, performance…

        A lot of the acrimony on this site (which this Wolf has tapped into) swirls around that fundamental issue…

        Those who retain optimism do so because they believe he can change, or that his new cadre of subordinates can/will carry him (it does happen in the real world frequently…but I don’t believe it happens in sports very often, one because the standard is perfection, and the math/odds militate against that, and two because the performance is required over both long/consistent stretches, as well as points of emphasis, ie during games, and more specifically at critical junctures)…or for reasons of their own…

        Those of us who are pessimistic (or outright hostile) do not believe he can/will change, don’t believe you only replace a key subordinate, and do not believe he can ever command the respect of his players and staff to a requisite degree that they will do what is necessary to win in big-time competitive sports – bust their @$$es as long as necessary as if it’s the most important thing in the world…

        The players can/will do what they’re capable of when the situation is conducive, or in stretches on their own…but championship teams play to that level at all times (because the players know that a Belichick, Saban, Carroll, McKay…et al…will put someone else who will and they won’t accept anything less)…

        Liked by 4 people

      3. Aces, James. I know my friend Pudly (who’s gotta be disgusted with the tenor of the dialectic lately) believes that CEO’s can change management styles —but Helton is Helton. He’s not as bad as tebow says he is (“everything is not black or white” as a seasoned defense attorney said to me in my first trial), but he’s inadequate and he doesn’t seem to know it…..

        Liked by 1 person

      4. and Notre Dame (Kelly’s squad is a good basis of comparison in a lot of respects for USC under Helton)…

        BTW-Pat Forde really just summarizing many of our discussions here

        There was an excellent article on Bleacher Report (and other services) yesterday asking how much longer USC will remain down (and drawing the obvious conclusion most of us here have – until…).

        Liked by 2 people

      5. James —my guess on wins/losses is more optimistic. I say we’ve got a real good shot of outscoring everybody but Utah, Washington, Notre Dame and Oregon. (btw —that’s pretty much what’s predicted in Marc Lawrence’s Playbook —he’s got us #19 in the country).


      6. MG
        I’ve seen between 4-8 (not out of the question, especially if bad start, and we know how likely that is given past history) and 10-2 (which I think is insanely wishful thinking)…I’m taking 5-7…

        Liked by 1 person

      7. How come we haven’t heard about the chain holder accident? You’re saying this happened to an ‘SC player?


    2. From Yahoo Sports August 11, 2019

      USC’s recruiting ranking No. 66 for 2020.

      The Trojans are planning a small class and have only 10 commitments.

      USC’s 3.0 average star ranking is No. 40 nationally, behind Washington State, Georgia Tech and Illinois. That’s a five-alarm problem.

      And the hits just keep on coming.


    3. Post of the month so far from another USC football social media site…

      “I want to see Stepp. In another life, we could have that offense that gives him 20-25 touches per game. Malepeai would flourish, too.”

      “Too bad we will never get to see it and hear those duck defenders crying No Mas in the 4th quarter.”


      Too bad…indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Something for the Helton Sunshine Pumpers to think about before they start running their mouths…

    It amazes me how anyone can say that Clay Helton had the best interest of the student/athletes and Trojan football at heart when he allowed a coach like Neil Callaway, for so many years, to waste the time, effort and talent of those players who dedicated themselves for what they thought was the betterment of the Trojan football program, the university and potential career they were striving for and to make successful.

    How does a person in Clay Helton’s position, who is expected and supposedly interested in wanting to genuinely put forth and pull together every effort and means necessary to be able to give those he has the privilege of teaching/coaching the best possible chance at being the best they can be…keep a guy like Neil Callaway around as long as he did?

    And then to put up a fight to keep him on staff? What that says of Helton is that he is not about doing what’s best for the players or Trojan football…it should tell everyone familiar wirh college football that he doesn’t deserve to be in charge of USC’s storied and heralded Blue Blood football program.

    You don’t keep a coach on staff who you know isn’t doing your team and players any good.

    USC deserves a helluva lot better than Clay Helton and he derserves no more time to prove his case otherwise…9 years of witnessing his incompetence has been long enough.

    It’s ridiculous for anyone to insinuate that Clay Helton knows what he’s doing or that the changes he was “forced” to make…will somehow turn things around when he hasn’t shown he is capable of doing so.

    Of all the years Clay Helton has been coaching at USC, as a coordinator and now head coach, he has provided no evidence that his coaching has been a factor in any Trojan football wins during that time…none!

    USC Trojan football has been winning on sheer talent alone now for quite some time and it shouldn’t have to.

    Clay Helton is 1-5 in his last 6 games and he has had a roster loaded with 4 and 5 star talent, USC affording him some of the best recruiting classes in the nation going on more than 10 years now and Helton goes 1-5 in his last 6 games and 5-7 overall…let that sink in and ask yourself whether USC can and should do better.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Helton surrounded himself with familiarity and yes men. Now, he knows he is on the line. He went and upgraded the staff. The question is, will the staff outshine Helton? If so, then who takes over for Helton.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Harrell was ALREADY starting to outshine Helton, pt, that’s why he’s been scarce for the last few weeks and Helton is meeting with the press more.
        It’s gotta be a nightmare for Harrell to work for such a little man. The only person in L. A. who’s fooled by Clay is (unfortunately) a guy named Swann. What a disaster for USC football that these two guys came along at the same time….

        Liked by 2 people

      2. PT
        I do not think Helton is on the line. He has a whopping buy out if I’m correct. He does not have a good legacy. He will take the money some alum offers to show him the door. I think the only marching order was,
        Don’t get us into NCAA probation. Possibly if SC does get into hot water, it’ll be a show cause dismissal & poof on the buy out.
        From what I’ve seen from COACH Helton’s behavior, I’ve come to think along those lines.
        Timid coach

        Liked by 2 people

    2. If you actually wrote this, tebow, you’re cheating everybody with the crap you usually put up. Smart lawyers find the chink in the other side’s position and drive the spear through —-again & again. You’re doing that with the Callaway example —- there is no way a man who cared about his team (particularly the health of his quarterbacks) would keep Callaway as o-line coach (or Toa as center). Whether he thought Callaway was doing a bang up job or he lacked the contacts (or coaching credibility) to upgrade, Helton failed the team.
      But we are where we are —let’s show some support for the kids who are left….

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The best show of support for the players is insisting that USC fire that incompetent clown Helton and hire a real head football coach with a proven track record of winning.


      2. No, tebow —You don’t fire the coach right before the opener (yes, we should have done it way before now —but we are where we are and firing the guy today would be a tiny bit disruptive). If Helton is as bad/dumb as you think he is (and he probably is), he’ll insist on ‘taking charge’ by overruling Harrell’s play calls —-and he’ll get himself fired by mid season.
        But, then, let’s look around the corner, shall we? What do you suppose Swann will do? Hint: It won’t involve “Hiring a real head coach with a proven record.” He’ll make the coordinators co-head coaches and disappear. Bottom line: “Firing the clown” sounds good —but our problems are way bigger than that tiny solution.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. All too true…gotta kill the weed at the root…unless you’re in Hawaii…wish I could get this group together, fighting like cats and dogs no matter, to watch a game…especially if at your place! But it’s a long way to paddle…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. James — Yeah, man —you and Arturo are like the guy who broke up the Chris Cuomo explosion with the blogger who called him Fredo yesterday —“hey, I’m gonna break this up guys! Come on guys, I need to break this up.”
        If you are ever on Maui just look me up. My house is your house. Hell, my house is everybody on this blog’s house —even tebow.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Appreciated! Hope some day to be able to take you up on that…
        You (the pugilist) are the one more likely to “break it up” (I like to fancy it from time-to-time, but those days are increasingly in a blurry rear view!)…speaking of…reminds me of that “Champions” documentary (Ali, Foreman, Frazier, Norton, Holmes, with Reggie Jackson as host) where Larry is having to play the peacekeeper…

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Ha! [I saw a fight starting to brew at Whale Park and I just told the biggest guy in the vicinity “maybe you should break that up before it goes any further”]……

        Liked by 2 people

    3. the best ‘O’ line coach, under helltongue,practicing in shorts would not make a difference VS REAL FOOTBALL TEAMS; even roller derby was more physical than his no pads,fresh legs BS…


  2. There is zero evidence this head coach is capable of learning, adapting, or improving…we need a new idio(t)m especially for him to go along with leopards not changing spots…does anyone else get the feeling that left to his own devices Helton would still have the WKU crowd around him running the program as if it was a local dollar store?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. James –Thanks for putting your finger on the psychology of the ‘little man in charge’ syndrome. The little man with power will ALWAYS surround himself with mediocrities until and unless his own ass is on the line —-and, even then, he’ll be torn between supporting the young turks forced on him and undermining them in a thousand petty little ways. It’s not intellectual, it’s instinctive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. MG
        That’s a VERY interesting observation…I’ve made the comparison previously between Helton and Tollner…or Gary Gibbs at Oklahoma in the post-Switzer era…but neither of them were little men (at all – in fact, reputedly very strong men, most likely above their level of competence, but good people, and good coaches)…
        You’ve actually identified part of the problem (and a viewpoint I haven’t really considered before).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. James, Tell me the truth —isn’t Helton the kind of man who’d make you walk outta the room if you came face to face with him in an interview for a job you wanted? The phony smile, the inability to listen, the duplicity —- what a shit storm!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. MG
        We see it blatantly in the problem with attracting assistant coaches (regardless of whatever else, Coach Hyde has been nailing this point for years now)…McCullough fell in his lap, but other than that…the jury is out about both Kingsbury and Harrell…
        Neither you nor I or many of the others on this site would agree to work under a person like that…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry, couldn’t quite catch that (you should be used to that as Sucla fan). Maybe take Wolf’s nuts out of your mouth and try again? I’ll be here all day….and we all know you definitely have nothing better to do.


  3. USC will pickup where they left off last season, I guarantee. Because Clay Helton is still a Dumb Ass babysitter, not a football coach. It was just a few short years ago, that Lane Kiffin, and Steve Sarkisian allowed him to play assistant coach on the sidelines. They even let him wear a headset, but only if he promised not to plug it in anywhere 😂


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