USC-Stanford Report Card

Finally, some non-Lynn Swann news:


Kedon Slovis not only had the stats he rallied the entire team. Let’s see what happens when he gets hit and faces some blitzes.

Grade: A-


Lost in the Slovis glow, the running game sputtered. Why won’t USC play Markese Stepp? I don’t get it.

Grade: C-


The big 3 (Vaughns, Pittman, St. Brown) produced as expected. Drake London had a nice debut. Why would a tight end want to come to USC in this offense?

Grade: B+


A former USC All-American offensive lineman told me he thought the offensive line was not impressive vs. Stanford. They didn’t really get tested much facing a dull, 4-man front.

Grade: C


Judging the defense is tougher when it has faced two QB’s making their first college starts. The line takes up a lot of space and sometimes makes a play.

Grade: C+


I guess I will have to wait another week for Palaie Gaoteote to live up to the hype. I expect him to break out at some point.

Grade: C-


There has to be a lot of high-fiving in the coaches’ offices about the QB’s the secondary faced. I like Talanoa Hufanga (10 tackles). I wish he would celebrate making normal plays less.

Grade: C


Nobody wore the same jersey. Highly touted punter Ben Griffiths looks like he has John Baxter keeping him on a leash. There was a 60-yard Stanford kick return but Austin Jackson blocked a field goal.



Is it great coaching when a QB steps up and consistently hits open receivers? This is a lesser version of the Sam Darnold theory, where the QB covers up for the coach.

Clancy Pendergast employs some reckless strategy with his insistence to leave the cornerbacks on an island but Stanford was ill-equipped to exploit it.

Now let’s dispel a theory from some fans: They defend Clay Helton not starting Kedon Slovis in Game 1 by saying Nick Saban did not start Jalen Hurts in Game 1 vs. USC in 2016.

Saban planned the entire 2016 training camp with the intention of inserting Hurts in the third series of the game against USC. He knew Hurts was his best QB. He just wanted him to watch a couple series and then play him.

Conversely, Helton is ONLY playing Slovis because his golden child, JT Daniels, suffered an unfortunate injury. Big difference.

Grade: C-

40 thoughts on “USC-Stanford Report Card

  1. You forgot a grade for the Athletic Director. Oh wait he doesn’t need one anymore. School President A- for firing (tactfully asking for a resignation) Lynn Swann who is now gonn.
    If you want that A+ Carol, you’re gonna have to pull the rug out from under Clay too.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I hear ya, Rialto. (But) for the sake of the team, it’s best that Helton stick around for the immediate time being —I’m not sure Harrell is ready to take over head coaching responsibilities at this point. Plenty of time to do what needs to be done later (like late December or January, depending on our bowl situation). Whether Harrell’s up to bat next or we get some mega name, recruiting will take care of itself if we turn the corner on Helton.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Who cares if he’s ready, the season is a bust anyway, they aren’t going to the the playoffs and at USC that’s all that SHOULD matter, can his mouth breathing ass, hand the job to WWE or WWF hick boy and ask Meyer what it’s going to cost to get him in at USC and do it in time to maybe, maybe save some recruits from heading out of town.


      2. karma —That’s just it. The season is NOT a “bust anyway.” We owe the players a little consideration —plenty of time to do what needs to be done in late December. Meyer’s availability, 5 star players—they’ll all still be out there. Nothing’s irrevocable in college football anymore.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. I’m with you both (if that’s possible) – I want him gone immediately, the goal is national championships, and I don’t have high hopes for what is possible this season…but if it can be done in the way that has the least impact on the players (and since we’ve all lived through this more than once, and recently, we kind of have an idea what that looks like…and I don’t see EdO on the sideline…well, not on our sideline) and actually gives them a chance to make the most of the season (both for players staying and leaving), that would be ideal…

        Also – agree with above…turn that A- into an A+ Doc!

        Liked by 3 people

      4. I hear ya’
        I can’t wait ’til Nov…
        that way all those teams who just can’t wait to get hellton as their coach can contact him


  2. In a sense, the “coaching” category shouldn’t be devoted to Helton. We all saw what Helton could do as Offensive Coordinator when he demoted Tee —- produce the most stagnant offense in the Pac 12. The “Coach” that needs to be graded is Harrell. And —for this one game —Harrell deserves an “A.” I know everybody’s developing a hard on for Meyer but —for this one game — Harrell did as much as Meyer could have done with this offense. The difference between what Helton came up with vs. Cal last year and what Harrell came up with last Saturday is as extreme as it gets.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Helton COULD be seen as a great “coach” —if he’d just stop coaching & leave things to his Coordinators. I hate the way his players don’t even look at him during time outs. They don’t respect him. Get Harrell down on the field and let him interact with HIS offense. There will come a point this season —it may even come this Saturday —where his players will need to feed off of his enthusiasm. It will be a crime if he’s not here to give it to them.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. One thing we can all agree on is that Big Bear (Cal75) and Little Bear (Owns) are not allowed on any decision-making or search committees for us!


    1. MG
      I think Meyer could do a lot more (ie running game)…but get your point – that 40 minute stretch, other than a couple of games (UCLA and Stanford), hearkened back to better days far too in the rear view…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Not only here but other Fan Boards, What masquerades for Logic and Reason amazes me by its lack of forethought.

        For instance, the suggestion, Helton should have been made AD and Harrell should have been promoted to Head Coach, just think about the absurdity of such a scenario.
        To which I will explain, the objective is to rid ourselves of Helton, not to keep him around in any capacity. Making Harrell the Head Coach, my goodness, the lad has a grand total of 5 years coaching experience, he simply not ready. For James; analogy, like putting an O1 in command of a Company.

        Then the same old talk about reviving all the old retreads like Del Rio and those “who get SC” what ever in the h3ll that means. their limited knowledge of successful younger coaches that are available is glaring.
        To which I say, we’re trying to get rid of the past cronyism and incompetence.

        Those who opine a concern for Harrell, if he REALLY improves our offense,
        it will not go unnoticed by a new Head Coach.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Couldn’t say it any better than that…
        If Harrell proves as good as some hope he is, then whoever is hired as the new coach will be aware of that and will have an opportunity to interview/consider for retention (it wouldn’t be a bad situation to have him under the type of head coach we should have – someone of Meyer’s ilk – as a QB coach/essentially co-offensive coordinator, since he clearly has clicked with Slovis, and by extension the skill position groups…but that is for the new head coach to decide, and he is definitely not a candidate for that…and there is no way, short of a miraculous run to the championship, that Helton should be retained). Under no circumstances should Clancy be retained.


      1. Swann was too hands off. He was an aloof figurehead when what USC needed was someone actively directing the department. You know, “administering.”

        Lopes isn’t Fredo. He might be the guy Connie married, Carlo Rizzi. He thought he was going to be in with the family, someone important. But then he screwed up and betrayed the family (scheduling UC Davis?) and now he’s out.



    1. I can just see Folt reading this piece and saying to herself —-“Say, ya know what? Mark’s got something here —I think I’ll completely change directions!”…….

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I don’t have time to go through all of this, but the most interesting item on the list to me is Palaie Gaoteote. When I look at his size, his aggressiveness, speed and the way he moves, I’m seeing someone who should be an impact player that fills the stat sheet up. I don’t think teams are game planning for him at this point, but he’s the kind of guy that you should be trying to game plan away from. When I see someone like that and I don’t see the corresponding numbers on the stat sheet, I have to believe that I’m just wrong about him (not likely) or that the guy is playing out of position. This guy strikes my eye as a centerpiece player and I’m wondering why we aren’t playing him at Mike. A guy that stout, that aggressive, who can get to both sides like he can should be playing in the middle. Is he not able to make the calls or what? It seems like a natural fit and I’m pretty sure he could find a good home there. This guy is a monster in waiting and if we aren’t getting more out of him, there’s a problem somewhere. Changing position is my thought, but do whatever you have to do to get the benefit of what I’m seeing in this guy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree 100%. Clancy said that he doesn’t like to have him doing too much thinking —and that’s why he switched him away from the middle. That is the lamest thing Clancy ever said. Coach him up. He could be such a difference maker if you let him.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree with coaching someone up, but I always talk about whatever a player has physically and then I talk about his eyes and his head. What you’re basically telling me is that it’s a head thing. I wish I could see the interview where Clancy talked about him so that I can see exactly what he said. I prefer thinking players, but I know not all of them are and if you have one who isn’t, it’s best to keep it simple. That’s a shame if it’s true, but he’s got a veteran right next to him who is a better fit at Will. I obviously don’t know the kid and I’ve never heard him speak, but I gotta think Houston could help him adjust. I think we should be taking another look at this…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can’t remember after which game he said it, Clay, but Clancy’s quote goes something like this “Palaie needs to be able to move around and play fast —and I think we’re putting too much on him by playing him in the middle.” I also remember people online at the time saying that he looked pretty damn good to them and that Clancy was maybe being a bit precipitous in moving him so quickly.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. SCooter,

    I think the oline was better than a C. Slovis threw the ball over 33 times and only being sacked once. He did get out of one sack. That is a 94% perfect passing game for the oline. As far as the run game is concerned, that is on the o coordinator. His emphasize was the pass game and the run game was an after thought. Yes the backs did get tackled a couple of times behind the line, but Carr scored two td’s, one from 29 yards out. In my opinion, they deserve a B to B+.

    Liked by 1 person

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