USC Lost A Winnable Game

When people wonder if USC could immediately turn things around if Clay Helton got fired, just think about games like today.

USC could easily have defeated Washington . . . if it had a good coach and good coaching staff.

But it couldn’t deviate from its Air Raid philosophy or trust the right players (Markese Stepp) and give Washington’s offense anything than the usual looks every Clancy Pendergast defense plays.

And would a new coach ever have a player get a penalty who wasn’t even suited up? That is a new one. Unless you count Reggie Bush last week.

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48 thoughts on “USC Lost A Winnable Game

  1. Helton screwed up last season by sticking with a center who dribbled the ball to the QB (never saw another center fail to master the art of the snap quite the way Toa did it). But today wasn’t Helton’s worst hour. Yes, he should go. But not on the basis of today —the coaches did the best they could with a 3rd string QB.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Really? So far this year, when this team has played anybody just one notch above mediocre, the super talented frosh QB has played like a plain ol’ frosh QB; the stud 3rd string QB has played like a plain ol’ 3rd stringer, and the boy wonder OC has game-planned and made in-game adjustments like an OC from North Texas State. I like your optimism, but let’s call a spade a spade. USC (and the P12) is/are nothing more than a mediocre 3rd tier Power 5 program(s). Furthermore, under the current coaching staff, USC Football is light years from a tier 1 program. Just telling like it is.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I think it is more simple than that: Tough road games won’t be overcome due to lack of leadership by the Head Coach.

        Like

      2. Well bluntly the ACC is very close to being the same as the Pac-12. Clemson eeked out a 1 point victory @ NC today. There is a reason ‘the princess’ plays 5 teams from that conference rather than 2 – 3 from the Big 10, Big 12 and SEC. AP poll – only 2 teams from the ACC – Clemson # 1 and VA @ # 18….the USAToday added Wake forest @ # 24….man even the Pac-12 has more than that even allowing for Clemson’s # 1 ranking

        No problem with your assessment of the quality and coaching ‘but’ you’re wrong about this conference being any worse than the ACC – if USC were back to national dominance it would be exactly as the ACC is today.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m reminded of your myopic viewpoint from a couple years ago- time has not served you well. I was the mental health professional who correctly predicted that Helton was the worst coach in USC history only outdone by the worst AD in college football history. You state third string Quarterback- there is no team in the NCAA FBS/ FCS that has a third string QB that has been with the program for more than three years. I’m amazed that wasn’t mentioned last week but again the mentality that usc fans & alumni is finding any excuse for a program that is truly a laughingstock.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree, every week there is a different excuse for looking like a third rate team. Anytime a team is inconsistent and make different errors every week, it is the coaching. Face it. The coaching makes makes different mistakes every week and the blame for weak coaching is avoided so it looks like the players and not caoching. But, coaching is to blame. I am sick of it. MY season tickets are trashed and going by the attendance many others do not go to the games. When will the new president ge it. Sandlot ball is played by us.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. SC has never developed or spent real time on Matt or Jack. They were relegated last yr to the barely get reps in practice and again this yr. Now everybody wants to jump on the one that hellton sent to q/b prison…the only ones that could run this offense vs a WASH type defense that BYU used to also beat SC …plus SC does not even use that defense for the offense to practice against…that better change…plus practice actual game type tackling and real rushing attack blocking…that is what beats an 8 drop zone defense…BUT HELL, lets not blame the coaching…lets blame the guy they just let out of helltons prison…WHO BEAT UTAH and their regular style defense.
        There is little real analysis in most of these comments blaming the athletes instead of the crapass preparation…lousy soft practices…

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  2. I never thought anytime during this game that it looked winnable as Scott states. UW gave us a gift on the double reverse fumble. But at no point did this game look winnable for us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I disagree. The Husky fans I talked to were terrified SC was going to tie the game and take it to OT. We just didn’t execute when we had the opportunities in the 3rd and 4th quarter.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Winnable or not , is not the question. It is whether not our coaching is adequate. The answer: a resounding it is inadequate and should be changed. They should make the change now and let the defensive coordinator take over the tream and start looking for a good head coach.

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  3. So bummed that I didn’t get to watch the game as Fox temporarily cut ties with Dish Network. Sounds like the game could’ve been won and that inept play-calling, interceptions, and untimely penalties was more than the team could overcome. Unfortunately, this loss came against a North Division team which means that USC could win the South and that could be enough to save Helton’s job. I badly want for the team to do well, but this feels like a slow, painful death. Please, Carol Folt, step in and end our misery by firing CH. He’ll be OK, we won’t.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. The sliver lining is 27 carries for 205 yards rushing, and all three RBs looked good. Kudos to Carr for making such a strong comeback. If they could focus on the run game, then the O-line could have a chance to get into a rhythm.

    Harrell didn’t call a good game. Interesting that announcers could predict the play calls, but Fink is the guy who kept throwing blindly into coverage.

    The only way they could have won is if they had been able to keep running, running, running and have Fink throw very safe passes.

    The 15 yard penalty on Hufanga was bush league. How far did he come on the field? Looked like less than a yard.

    Scariest part of this is what the Trojans will look like when they have a lot more 3 star guys playing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dude, you realize Washington was completely content to let USC run the ball. They wanted to entice USC to throw against 8 dudes. They’re sneaky ploy netted them 3 interceptions.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Trojans should have kept running the ball.

        They got 3 interceptions because Fink threw the ball in the hands of defenders all game. Lucky there weren’t 5 interceptions.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, they should’ve run more – in training camp! But no, the air must be raided! Barkley’s 7 TDs against a bad Colorado team must be beaten for success. They’re focusing on the wrong thing. They’re trying to win super-cool smarter than you ways instead of just doing what they need to do to win each game. Also, don’t run off the best QB on the roster so as to insulate JT Dirt from any competition and Steve Clarkson will guarantee you the next Mater Dei super QB Bryce Young! Seems like that plan has worked out swimmingly.

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    2. with a drop 8 zone almost nobody thrown to is a safe pass…and SC does not practice vs a drop 8 zone…notice Matt did fine vs a good Utah standard type defense …that is what he practices against…the rushing attack should gain almost 300 yds vs a 3 man line on defense and with a running q/b those plays should have been called…if we had a decent blocking ‘O’ line.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Please stop with the details. The coaching sucks. We need a change. Every week we start picking the game apart as ikf the elements are the problem. It is different elements each week dioes that not say something? IT is the coaching. No discussing of elements will change that part of the equation. Have you not noticed that each week there are different weaknesses? It is coaching my frirend. Let us face it. I played the game and we always knew about the coaching and it affected our attitude and performance. Football players are not stupid. They know it is the coaching.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Not much air was raided today. Sad! Maybe don’t tell everyone explicitly what you’re going to do ahead of time? Honestly though, I’ve never spent time in Kentucky, so I very well could be an idiot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In addition to everything else I have said about the coaching I want to add one item. Why does it take us so long to snap the ball? It is so stupid. Coachindumb coaching, coaching, coaching…Until we face that reality we will be s… up a creek.

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  6. USC should bring in some tutors for the team…including, and especially for, Helton. Academic areas they can focus on:

    1. Arithmetic:
    A.). 12 players are more than 11 players
    B.) 7, 8, 9, or 10 players are less than 11 players
    C.) Two players wearing the same number on the field means there are too many of that number

    2. How to read a time clock:
    A.) What comes after 5 on a play clock?
    B.) What comes after 4?
    C.) What comes after 3?
    D.) What comes after 2?
    E.) What comes after 1? Clay, the answer does not have to be TIME OUT!

    3. Psychology:
    A.) Men don’t respond to be called “big boys”
    B.) Men don’t respond to being called kids
    C.) Men won’t work harder if you bring in snow cones

    4. General Football Knowledge:
    A.) Unlimited topics….we are starting from scratch…start with the basics

    5. Fashion
    A.) Smedium clothing is not a good look…(one on one tutoring for Helton)

    Liked by 4 people

  7. The Pac 12 must really suck. Espn gives them the 7:30 pm pst slot and that female announcer with that horrible voice. I’m not against women announcers, but this one has a terrible sounding voice. I’m not sure who I would choose if I was stuck in an elevator with, her or Clay H.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Objectively she’s really good. There’s no real getting around that. You want Chris Fowler who has no idea where he is and announces every play like he completely surprised -and probably is- at what’s happening? Or do you want whatever Huard did the USC game and used 76,000 words to make points that could’ve been conveyed in 1,500?

      Like

  8. Air raid does not work with 8 men in coverage. There is no need for “balance” in playcalling when facing an unbalanced defense like that. Today’s game felt surreal…like watching the BYU game all over again. Did the coaching staff learn anything since then? (Answer of course is: no). The result is what we saw: turnover imbalance, with short fields for the opposing offense turned into early points, and a corresponding inability for our offense to turn yards into points.

    Bottom-line: a coaching staff that does not understand, adapt, or learn from their mistakes (or even realize they are making them) is incompetent. What happens (or should happen) to incompetent people in any workplace? Hmm… (Hint: it’s not to give them a multi-year extension with above market value salary…)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. If you give a competent football coach four years to build a program at USC, do you think it would resemble what Clay Helton put on the field this season? Let that sink in for a moment.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The president should have fired Helton and Swann at thew same time. I would feel better about our decision makers if we hired a High school coach for the rest of the season . This pretending that we have college level coaching is a joke. It is helter skelter. Blaming ourplayers is wrong. It is the coaching. Helton is incompetent. Why is he not asked who he thinks is to blame? Nothing personal here. But, he should not be taking millions under false pretenses. It is unethical.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Amazing how Ed Oberon is doing at LSU!
    Very big mistake that Pat Haden did not
    hire him as head coach! So many many
    misses…and mediocrity follows!

    Like

    1. It is not important that the team is turned around immediately. It is important that you have a coach with ability and a system that is consistent. A coach with the ability to adjust and make changes. It is like any other profession whether it be medicine , law, teaching or just waiting tables. We all know the good ones. There is no great mystery here. Everybody knows Chris Peterson, who we rejected, is a special coach. Every one except Haden. We all know who the great coaches are, we just have to go after them. A debate about the wisdom of pursuing Urban is nonsense. Just get him if we can. There are only a few in his category. None out there are pristine. So stop the nonsense. Ninety percent are average and most are below average , we have acted like we have to settle for mediocrity, Why? This mindset is new for USC. How did that creep in?

      Like

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