Morning Buzz: USC Has Triple Number Issue Too

No one can believe USC had two players wearing No. 7 on the kick return to open the Fresno State game.

It was a debacle that might illustrate the Clay Helton era as well as any single play.

But get this: USC has three players who wear No. 15 (WR Drake London, S Talanoa Hufanga, K Thomas Fitts). And three players who wear No. 27.

But here’s the part that also needs to be considered: Why does Helton have to coddle so many players and allow them to wear the same number?

The double numbers are 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 29, 30, 31 . . . OK I’m stopping. The No. 10 is no longer a double number because Jack Sears left the team.

This is what happens when you can’t tell a recruit he will get whatever number is available.

When Sam Darnold showed up, he just took the No. 14 he was issued. That is a rarity these days. I joked to Darnold a couple years ago that if went to Mater Dei or Serra, he would have demanded a specific number.

He just smiled and said, “No comment.”

  • Offensive coordinator Graham Harrell said he won’t simplify the playbook for Kedon Slovis.

“(It) will change based on the opponent, but not based on our personnel,” Harrell said.

Then again, USC has only four plays, according to Harrell.

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50 thoughts on “Morning Buzz: USC Has Triple Number Issue Too

  1. But off of those four plays the WR’s can run 100,000,000,000 different routes so in essences we don’t have 4 plays we have 100,000,000,000 !!

    Harrell better be ready for Slowfoot to see far more pressure, different looks and DB’s up on his WR’s unlike Saturday, Gomer should use up the 3 time out’s per half in about a nano second

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If they don’t get way outside of their comfort zone and actually come in with a creative game plan that respects the opponent (and commensurately limits what they try to force Slovis to do), he is going to get hit hard and it will be a turnover blizzard…

      Liked by 4 people

      1. James — I’m surprised Trojan fans, in their game assessments, are completely ignoring the possibility of OUR team forcing turnovers. If Stanford is going with somebody other than Costello AND they’ve lost their left tackle —well, things might happen. As far as Slovis —-like it or not — we have more than 1 more game left on our schedule. He needs to play pretty much the same game they had planned for J. T. —- we need him to be ready for BYU & Utah…….and that means getting him used to leading the team, not putting him through baby steps on Saturday. [I realize that our disagreement is not one of kind, but of emphasis —-but I’d error on the side of non-caution this time]……

        Liked by 3 people

      2. MG
        I can agree with you, but only if done in the right way – you go out there with him at the outset in that mode, and he will get killed and the game will be over fast (as you pointed out yesterday, the difference in who is coaching matters)…but if you make the defense do some heavy lifting, at least early on, and let the kid ease in and get his timing…then I’m with you (one, he’s worked his way into the speed of the game…two, you assess how he’s really dealing with it, since…well, we need not talk about practice…)…I mentioned Sanchez at South Bend in 2007…Dan Weber loves talking about the 2003 Auburn game (rightfully so)…in that game, the defense…shorthand…and they gradually let Leinart off the leash…
        So…perhaps we can find room for agreement on this…
        J

        Liked by 3 people

      3. MG, when has a Clancy run defense done anything against a quality opponent ?

        And for Slowfoot, he might not make it past Saturday and LDS U and Utah are very physical teams, Fink better get his track shoes on.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. James —That makes a ton of sense. And that’s probably exactly what they’re gonna do. My only concern —and I know this has occurred to you — is that Stanford knows that’s what we’re gonna do. It’d be nice if we gave them a nasty little surprise early. [I remember Clay’s little brother talking about how they were gonna keep it simple in the first half for J. T. in last year’s opener against UNLV —and open it up if he looked like he could handle it. Maybe I’m wrong but I always thought that not playing balls out in that game was ONE of the reasons J. T. wasn’t ready for Stanford or Texas —-and didn’t look like a quarterback until Washington State].

        Liked by 3 people

      5. I understand your reasoning…and as a general matter agree with it…but I don’t think that was the problem with Daniels…as said in previous discussions, I think he plainly isn’t that good, and certainly not in this offense, or behind that offensive line, under this coach (so I don’t think he’s “terrible” – just not what he was billed as, and with a limited skillset vis-a-vis the need under the present circumstances – ie feet to make plays)…

        I suppose different people have different views on how fast you bring QBs along…I personally think you do it the way the Packers did with Rodgers, or the Chiefs have done with Mahomes…and in games you start with a limited pallet and then open it up as they demonstrate readiness…others believe completely to the opposite, and there are examples of where that can work too…

        Liked by 3 people

      6. BK

        I/we are with you on Clancy and the D – he’s just as atrocious as Clay is with the offense…last week being just the latest underwhelming effort…

        I’m getting at if there is a scenario where they don’t get destroyed, it will have to involve the defense doing more than it has and the offensive gameplanning/playcalling to be far more creative so that they don’t have to ask Slovis to force plays in an effort to win a shootout (because that aint happening).

        Liked by 2 people

      7. James, the defense got tired last week against a team this is not even close to being physical, the defense can’t carry this team this isn’t the Ed O & PC era, this is the Gomer and Clancy the Clown era

        Liked by 2 people

      8. BK
        Agreed 100% – shame is that it’s about the coaching and not the players…drop PC or any other (what USC should have) head coach into the program last December like Swann should have done…bet these same players look completely different…just imagine if the 2002-04 staff was coaching a team with Darnold, RoJo, JuJu, Adoree, StevieT, Uchenna, Biggie…or this team…it’s all about coaching…and as you’ve pointed out, that in turn is due to the higher level leadership being corrupt at worst, non-existent at best…

        Liked by 3 people

      9. James —Take it from me: what you’re politely calling “higher” leadership is too dumb to be corrupt….
        #…AndThatLeavesUsWith”Incompetent”….

        Liked by 2 people

      10. I really worry about a Trojan defense that gave up 463 yards to Fresno State. The pass rush was effective with blitzes, but not so much without the blitz.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. 67
        I’m with you…I mentioned on here yesterday that if I was Clay, I would have had a short, to the point meeting with Clancy on Saturday night to the effect of “If I’m getting fired, you’re getting fired first..your defense against Stanford can give up deep passes, but if you don’t stack against the run, stop it, and put a spy on whoever they run at QB, you’ll be out of here before the game is over…”

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, there a lot of things you can do to create confusion for the defense without actually running anything difficult to execute for the offense…disguise with formation, personnel groupings, motion, line splits, break tendency, rollouts/draws/screens/counters…

        Many hate hearing it, but…yeah…what, for example (there are obviously many others), they did when Norm Chow was the OC (and to the point, they did that then even though they had superior talent)…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. BK
        Yeah, my mental picture of USC in the Kiffin/Sarkisian/Helton era is that 2015 Stanford game with Kessler constantly holding huddles in a “no huddle” offense, looking to the sideline, snapping the all as the play clock ran out, throwing short clock-killers…and the only thing that has ever changed during that time was Sam…

        Liked by 3 people

  2. So, are you saying that Helton is an outlier for numbers? USC has 29 uses of double numbers. Alabama has 35 uses of double numbers. Move along, nothing to see here.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. karma —All negativity aside, ya gotta admit that 11 on the field is a step in the right direction…
        #…OnTheRoadToThePromisedLand….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am still trying to figure out how the 2 number 7s happened. How many coaching staff are there? How many grad assistants?

        With double numbers, isn’t somebody keeping track of this every play?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. 67 — Check out Pudly’s post of the Baxter interview. [He sounds like Callaway —but smarter & with a warmer personality. He doesn’t know what he did wrong or that there’s a reason OTHER teams don’t make the same mistake]….
        #AMoreLooseyGooseyBandOfCoachesHasNeverBeenAssembled….

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Helton is a complete buffon if he thinks only two qb’s are enough for a season. I games past, the first two qb’s were out of the game and they had to go with the third string qb. Who is the third stringer now? Helton’s ego will destroy him. The sooner the better.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s not his ego exactly, pt. It’s his “little man with the power” syndrome. And it has already destroyed him. [But I separate my feelings for Helton from my feelings for the team — they are a great bunch of players and I want to see them win even if that makes Helton look better than he is]…..

      Liked by 4 people

      1. It’s not his ego or little man with power, he simply does not know what he’s doing, he’s in over his head. But, he’s got the AD in his corner, the President is clueless ( and a puppet ) and the BOT doesn’t care. The old rich alums can get as pissed as they want, threaten to withhold donations, the school doesn’t care. The old gray dump is empty, so what ? They blow off the 1969 NC team, meh.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Look at the world probably the way Helton does. He won a Rose Bowl in 2016 despite he was squandering all the social capital USC had by hiring nepotistic and good ol’ boy coaches and being terrible at game management. But after the Rose Bowl he was rewarded with a $5 M salary and (what?) $15 M buy out. But when reality caught up with him he was exposed as a coach way over his head who couldn’t discipline his players but was somehow winning. The way Helton must view the world is that he was a hero in one year and a goat the next because he didn’t have a great QB. So he went out desperately seeking another dominant QB and thought he found him in Daniels, a precocious high school QB known only for alley-oop TD passes. But Helton never had the leadership necessary to develop a better offensive linemen pipeline in high school as Andy Enright did in basketball . And now hometown players don’t even want to come to SC solely because Helton plays favorites and won’t pick a QB over Daniels next year even if someone else is better for the team. But no matter to Helton who is a coach on a huge learning curve with an undeserved huge salary whose attitude is seen in his mischievous smile that no one can touch him. Helton had a father who was a big time college football coach. Helton played college football but you almost would never know it, as he at his age and experience is still learning the elementary aspects of the game (but still doesn’t know how to manage a game) but is being paid an obscene amount of money for his incompetence. To Helton it doesn’t matter if he hires on the basis of something other than competence, all he wants is a QB to bail him out of his troubles. But Fate has a way of giving you what you wish for, good and hard! If the team bounces back and wins, say, two thirds of its games, it will only give rise to a perception that it is in spite of and not because of Helton.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Pudly —Thanks for reminding us there HAVE been some indicators of improvement. [Of course you will now have to pay a heavy price for pointing this out. Cue the wife jokes, right?]……
      I listened to the post game interviews and I really like our starters. Our receivers are smart —they know what is expected of them and they are ready and raring to go. And Slovis, bless his heart, is not the least bit intimidated by the situation he’s facing. I haven’t given up on this team. In fact, I like our coaches too —- except for Helton who I get a feeling has an almost Nixonian personality and should have gone into local politics….he’s a natural.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Pudly — Thanks for the post. [If I were having a friendly conversation with Baxter I’d wanna remind him that the players’ girlfriends know them as people —his job is to know them as numbers].

        Liked by 1 person

    1. P76,
      Nice stats. But useless. 5 of those yards cost SC 60 yds of field position.
      I’m suprised that with SC’s wide out speed that they don’t use a reverse at least once a game.
      4 v.good receivers & 3 RB skill players playing for money. Every one a potential draft pick. I’m suprised those guys can’t figure out how to score every series.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Two drops on third down and a WR and QB who fumbled and an interception. If I’m not mistaken this was their first game against a real opponent. The offense was on a pace to gain 600+ yds when JT got hurt.
        BTW, who was it that was leading early in the Kal game? Mighty bears??

        Like

      2. P76,
        Doesn’t matter who leads early. After 60 minutes is all that counts. Ask Oregon my dear P76.
        Everytime I see that picture of Baxter with his rt shoe lace on the ground & no left sock, provided that I don’t heave, I’m reminded of a lecture from every SC’s favorite MBB coach-Peckerwood.
        Mind you, I’m not a big fan of him but I did always make it a habit of listening to successful people. He lectured on the importance of putting your shoes & socks on correctly & why a player needs to understand that. Maybe it’s on youtube.

        #StartingToLookLikeI’llBeHoldingTwoNetsOnNov16MG&P76

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Cal75 —November is many disappointments and injuries from now for both our teams…..
        #WhoReallyKnowsWho’llBeNeedingANetByThen?….
        #[AtLeastBruinFansDon’tHaveToWonderAboutTheirTeam]….

        Like

  5. Because of his faith, family and football, he also works hard not to commit any of the 7 deadly sins:
    Because of his faith, family and football, he also works hard not to commit any of the 7 deadly sins:

    1 Lust – He makes sure that no one is lusting for him to coach at another school;
    2 Gluttony – He is careful not put too many points on the board, just enough to barely win;
    3 Greed – Let’s not hoard time outs, let using them as quickly as we get can;
    4 Sloth – This might be the most challenging of all for Helton since it requires him to make quick mental decisions;
    5 Wrath – Never get mad at a player you like, especially if they are one of the loves of your life;
    6 Envy – He makes sure that no one wants to be like SC, and he avoids at all cost emulating successful college programs;
    7 Pride – Trojan pride is now non existing thanks to Helton. Job well done!
    By Robert Mayson.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Why are there duplicate numbers at all ? 1-99, 0, 00, 01-09 = 110 numbers, what is the roster size ??? Stop the duplicate numbers; assign them individually, be a leader and be done with it !!!

    Like

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