USC Loves To Make Things Tougher

Why did USC take Markese Stepp off the field for third-and-goal at the 4-yard line in the fourth quarter with Washington ahead, 28-14?

Matt Fink ran for 2 yards and then threw an incomplete pass to Drake London in the end zone on fourth down. Wouldn’t it make sense to have used Stepp down by the goal line?

  • USC then got the ball back with 3:36 remaining, still trailing 28-14, and threw an incomplete screen pass to Stephen Carr. A screen pass? What’s that going to do when you need to score twice?
  • Again, I’m not Genious Graham Harrell so what do I know?
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33 thoughts on “USC Loves To Make Things Tougher

  1. Errrrr, genius is not spelled “genious,” Scottie. Perhaps this explains why you are not Genius Graham Harrell.

    Instead, I think we all should just shoot for “relatively competent.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are growing rumors that Helton is going to announce his retirement in his Sunday address…..and then pull off his mask to reveal he is the devil… and disappear in smoke…..

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If you can guarantee that disappear in smoke (and define it so as to further guarantee permanency) I’ll still take a fire and brimstone ring side seat for that…of course, as you mentioned earlier, the devil you know…only matters if for once USC makes a great hiring decision…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. James –
        I can guarantee Helton’s “Hocus Pocus” finale (although it may not take place tonight)—but I think the odds are better than even that USC will screw up the next hire too……

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Leach is also a writer, and he relishes being outspoken, irreverent and unpredictable. He can be entertaining, but I think down-grading his players and calling them “soft” is beyond the pale.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. John
        I agree…but Helton has never accepted one iota of blame for anything that has happened on his watch…he always blames failure on execution and mistakes…which is blaming the players…
        The type of high calibre coach we all want doesn’t ever do that – either Helton or Leach style – they take the full responsibility…

        Liked by 3 people

      2. James –Helton doesn’t take responsibility for losses for a very simple reason. And it’s not because he’s afraid to take responsibility. It’s because he doesn’t think he’s responsible. He actually thinks that his system —- his skill player-oriented, soft practice system— is the wave of the future.
        Helton will always give a pro forma, one sentence, 10 second, canned line about “taking responsibility” —-but he perpetually goes into a 15 minute “we are doing all the right things” dissertation after that. The “I take responsibility” line is just an insincere, lip service introduction to his real thesis: “We’re almost there! Wait til December! If we don’t change anything we’ll be fine!”

        Liked by 4 people

      3. MG
        I think it’s both (I have to believe he knows down deep how far in he is over his head, but I agree that, like many in similar circumstances, he’s probably learned how to deceive himself into believing it must be anything but his coaching)…but he definitely does not take public responsibility for any failings – and all successful coaches do that. There are a lot of ways to dissect this carcass, but that is one of them…there are any number of prime examples (obviously, Pete and Belichick) that can be used to illustrate this, but I’ll refer to one I know you and several others are familiar with: John Robinson, 1976, season opener, blown out at home in a shocking upset by Missouri (that eventually cost a national championship)…after the game, he said nothing about execution, mistakes, referees, penalties, fans, injuries…it was a simple “Give me hell because I didn’t have the team ready”…and they won 15 straight after that almost all by blowouts…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. James — After Robinson took full blame for that loss, John McKay issued a statement saying “I hope nobody out there is silly enough to think John Robinson won’t be a great coach.” McKay’s comment sorta allowed him to second Robinson’s remarks about not being ready for the opener while assuring everybody not to worry —–things were going to turn out just fine.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. PJM —I’m sure this presser was cathartic for Mike —but wtf! If he felt the first team was pouting, why didn’t he send in the second team as a wake up call? The truth is: when you allow yourself to go into a prolonged public unhappiness session, you are risking losing your team for good. And, since, the “Pirate” can’t ask his first team to walk the plank into shark infested waters, he might wanna take a different tack with them.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The difference between Leach and Helton…

        Leach doesn’t play the politically correct “todays millennial player” game. Perhaps he goes a bit too far but I’d prefer that than Helton’s approach of being subservient and allowing the players and their parents hold him hostage. Leach isn’t going to lose his team, I’m sure they will get the message….. stop being pussies.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. PJM —Leach started the “don’t be pussies” routine during his 3rd quarter time out during the UCLA game. Things haven’t gone well since then….
        #ILikeHisHonesty….NotSureTeamFeelsTheSame….

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hey MG, I wonder if Nick Saban is afraid he’s going to lose his team when he publically tears them a new a@@hhole. Your can catch several of his press grilling sessions on Youtube. Oh yeah, his public verbal floggings of assistant coaches on the sideline are legendary. You set high standards, and kick a@@ when they’re not met. You sound like a Helton disciple. Afraid to lose the team? Wow!

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Feelings—
        P.S.
        The proof will be in the pudding, as they say. Let’s see how Leach’s team does the rest of the way…
        #TheJuryIsStillOut….

        Like

    3. It is refreshing to see someone like Leach being so honest. As a player, I loved it when the coach challenged me and when he was giving me his honest assessment of how I was playing. I don’t see it as being downgraded or even that the coach is down on me- the contrary. The coach cares enough about me to tell me the truth. He, after all, is my coach first and not necessarily my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Last year USC looked like it was scared to know what it would feel like to enter the endzone with the football. They began doing lots of crazy things when they got inside the 10 yard line to make sure they wouldn’t have to experience ‘the unknown’ —- the endzone became like the sound barrier in “The Right Stuff”: TheBogeyman lived there. Yesterday USC revisited that sub-mental psychology —making sure they wouldn’t have to set foot in the Forbidden Zone. Even Kiff & Sark’s teams didn’t go out of their way to get stupid when they arrived at the 10 yard line.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Things are going to stsrt getting tougher. We have had some pretty highly ranked recruiting classes until now. The recruiting is really starting to suffer versus Oregon and Washington for sure.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I kind of agree with you, Pac12, however I think a combination of highly ranked players and some hungry players that are out to prove themselves and play with an edge is even better. It has been well documented that 3 Star players at SC have done very well. Of course, you must keep the most talented players in state, but you have to make sure that these guys will buy in to the program and not act entitled.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Once again, whatever football philosophy you decide to go with, you have to run the ball, and stop the run. Those are the basics of football, that Bozo Helton doesn’t get. If he’s not a Steve Sarkisian clone, then nobody is…. unbelievable! 🙄

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The real difference between our coaches and their coaches is simple. We have one coach who actually played well enough to be drafted by the NFL.
    They have coaches who played college football and apprenticed under good coaches.
    We have a defensive coordinator that never played college football, but he did coach his fraternity football team.
    We have a head coach who was a mediocre quarterback by all accounts. We have a special teams coach who is not special anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right on every point except Helton being a mediocre quarterback. Anyone who has ever seen that photo that Scott keeps running of Helton holding the ball poised to throw it —can tell he’s not quite up to mediocre standards….
      #…Let’sJustSayThere’sAReasonClayWasn’tDrafted….
      #[PeteLooksWayBetter&He’s70]…..

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Leach will never amount to a conference championship or a national championship. The air raid is bullshit as we are witnessing. We are running some mutant air raid which is no different from the crap we saw last year. Can’t run the ball and defend against the run. Basic football is what Helton can’t establish. Actually, Sam, JuJu and Adoree were the worst thing to happen, they gave Helton a lease on a extended life and we are paying for it now.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It’s been reported that Helton makes between 3.2 – 4m per year. Let’s go with the conservative number of 3.2 million. Translation: “Clay” gets paid $295,000.00 per month to f$#k things up and then tell you that “the other team made one more play than we did.”

    Hey Pudly, put that in your glass pipe and smoke it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The idea that Helton is a confused person who has fooled himself into leading the Trojans into a 200 foot lake is naive.
    This man knows exactly what he is doing.
    Getting paid big bucks for a load of rotten tomatoes. Laughing all the way to the bank and the church……and making us look like a pack of hicks.

    Like

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