USC Morning Buzz: What Will Mike Bohn Do?

Here is my column on where things stand with Clay Helton and Mike Bohn right now.

Excerpt: “If he brings Helton back because USC won five of its final six games, Bohn must ignore the thousands of empty seats in the Coliseum on Saturday, as well a 2020 recruiting class that ranks 76th nationally.”

What will Bohn do?

58 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: What Will Mike Bohn Do?

  1. My guess will be he keeps Helton but requires him to fire Pendergast and Baxter. We have one great win versus Utah and embarrassing losses to Oregon and BYU


    1. (Cannot imagine that Baxter works for USC beyond the Bowl Game.
      The ST statistics tell the story for anyone who has not watched a single game. )

      Plan A–fire the HC and hire the fellow you already have agreeing to the contract which sits upon his desk. Buyout? We can deal with that.

      Plan B–keep HC and insist that he hire the DC which you have already demanded and who has tentatively agreed to a contract. A super splashy DC with a long history of defensive excellence. As of today, USC’s offense now ranks 13 nationally in FPI efficiency–a vast improvement over last year, despite both years being lead by true freshman QB’s.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. with hellton still calling the shots, 1/2 assed prep and practices,no pads,no real full speed tackling ,blocking …u know’ fresh legs’ WHAT DIFFERENCE does it make.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. College sports are becoming less popular in general, especially among the younger generations. I didn’t see many millennials in the crowd yesterday as the crowd keeps skewing older every year.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Matt’s point is a big one, because what formerly was a sport that the entire country loved is now concentrated in the south and the midwest.

        The Pacific coast is really bailing on college sports. Oregon is a one-off because of the enormous flow of Nike $$ to the athletics program.

        This makes it even more important to bring a top coach now, rather than wait another year or two when even more people might be content with a nationally mediocre program in a really crappy Pac-12 conference.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Is this true (regarding the younger generations) in the FB rabid SEC?

        When I lived in So Cal (79-88), there were so many entertainment options including miles of beach. One could understand that LA fans would be “fickle.”

        The live FB experience will always be difficult at LA Memorial Coliseum due to parking, freeways, etc. USC will need to come up with creative solutions to make the FB experience worth the time and effort.
        I’m confident we will.

        Putting a team on the field which represents the brand is the first step.


    2. Much worse. Plus, as the memberships for the Trojan Athletic Fund renew in February, thousands of alumni will not rejoin if 9 Lives Clay is retained.
      The donor sections will be more empty than the showed last night.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think alumni are going to be upset either way. A new coach will be heavily criticized as well. Wolf and the same people here will still complain just as much like they always have. I don’t think Helton is a long term solution, but Urban Meyer isn’t a fit with where the university is and all of his baggage and integrity issues. Folt will lose all credibility if he as hired.

      I think they struggle to find somebody else that can meet expectations. The fan base is known to be kind of whiny and apathetic in general, which has always been an issue in attracting top tier coaches.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t agree with ‘….alumni are going to be upset either way.’ The ship has sailed per donors and fans acceptance of Helton. It is obvious Helton is ‘learning on the job’. Last season his taking the role of OC by demoting Tee Martin is what forced that worthless clown Swann to order him to hire an offensive coordinator. If Helton had any national respect Kingsbury wouldn’t have bailed. Harrell has been decent but the problem is the front line esp. the offensive line. The team can’t open holes for the running game. The big players are going elsewhere and will continue to as long as Helton and his assistants are there. The losses against top tier teams will continue because great coaches know USC is solely a pass offense.

        The program will sink even lower with Helton being retained.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Kingsbury was offered millions to be a head coach in the NFL. You think because the head coach was different he would turn that down? That is crazy and just another example of how the complaining and whining won’t stop with another head coach.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Matt you talk sense. are you sure you are at the right blog? this seems to be a place for radical fans who demand Nattys every year! and if they don’t get it, it’s everyone’s fault (except them of course). a weird place that gets weirder al l the time. me and several of my Psychological Health Professionals come on here to try to moderate the tone and anxiety on this blog (without them knowing), our efforts have been of minimal effect. if i were you i would just walk away from this blog and never look back.


        Liked by 1 person

      4. Matt:
        I humbly disagree. Trojans fans are extremely loyal. I’ve attended 4 USC-UC Boulder games here over the past 6 years. The stands in Colorado are 50% CU, 50% Cardinal and Gold. We travel well.

        As a private school, we likely have the smallest population base of alumni nationwide (in the Pac 12 at least, excluding Stanford), yet we travel very well.

        We expect a top 10 FB team each and every year. We expect every other sport at USC to compete for the Natty. High expectations? yes. Whiney. Nah.

        Liked by 3 people

      5. Bourbon4me,

        Yeah, we travel decently to a few places like Boulder, where we have a lot of alumni. However, the Coliseum attendance is not great and we have a lot of people who say they won’t support a top 25 team, because they expect a top 5 team. Fair weather fans in my book.

        We couldn’t sell out a renovated Coliseum against our biggest rival. The crowd felt more like an AARP convention and was kind of listless IMHO. Ram games at the Coliseum have so much more energy.


      6. Ha! It makes me laugh when people call us weird. All we want —all we’ve ever asked for —is a coach who looks more like George Clooney, someone who can make sprained ankles (especially the high ones) and concussions disappear (or, at the least, find a legal way of getting rid of concussion protocol) …oh, and never lose a game [yeah, beating the spread every week would be nice too]. And —when we don’t get that—we act out and make life miserable for the coach and his assistants and his family. If this is weird I don’t want to be un-weird.


  2. His QB throws for a school record and he gives the game ball to the AD, what a fucking kiss ass. I bet if JT Chuck and Duck had done what Slovis did he would have gotten the game ball

    If you were a top TE or RB, would you play for this shitshow ?

    As for the buyout, how much money will SC lose if they keep this putz and see 35,000 at every game ?

    Fuck this up Folt and Bohn and SC football will be dead for a decade

    Liked by 5 people

    1. No, karma. Helton wouldn’t have given the game ball to J. T. No way. Let me take this further to make a point —if this were 1967 and O. J. scored the winning touchdown against a #1 rated UCLA squad, Helton wouldn’t have given it to O. J. either. Giving the game ball to the PLAYER who shined the brightest is what a M-A-N would do. But players don’t extend contracts. Athletic Directors do…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I was there as a player in the 1967 USC
        UCLA game …. Coach McKay did give the game ball to OJ.
        All of our players contributed to the win,
        But it was the Juice that sealed the deal.
        We were all happy for him.
        No politics, just total team spirit and excitement.. We just won the National Championship!!

        Liked by 8 people

  3. Here we go again. What was once a done deal two weeks ago is now a maybe. The time has come for a change. Helton needs to go. He has had his chance and it didn’t work to the level Trojan fans expect. Changing coaches and keeping Helton won’t work either. It will s time for a new proven head coach that will take this talented young team in the next couple of years plus the addition of new recruits and get us to where we deserve to be. No more waiting! Have the banquet tonight and fire him tomorrow! Enough is enough!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. If Bohn was intent on keeping Helton, he probably would have said so yesterday.

    If Bohn is trying to figure out the right timing to fire him, then if he doesn’t do it tomorrow, he might do it in about a week after Utah beats Colorado and there is no uncertainty about what crappy bowl SC goes to.

    The televised hugfest Bohn had with Helton yesterday at the game has me worried about firing Helton.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. 67 —It seems everybody is ignoring the possibility that there existed ‘personal’ reasons for the hugfest…..

      Liked by 1 person

  5. clay helton: ‘i want us to all remember it’s about our kids, okay? it’s not about me. it’s not about our coaching staff. it’s about the student athletes and what they’re able to accomplish, what they’re able to do.’

    yes, usc, listen to clay helton, and then look at his record. backed into the rose bowl. made the most of it, but didn’t EARN the spot. colorado fumbled it away. earned a spot in the cotton bowl. game wasn’t close. any game that season and since that season against a top tier team outside the pac 12 is … not … close. need i even mention how this team plays on the road? … it’s time for a change, mike bohn.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Just imagine for one second, this same team with a competent Head Coach? At worst 10-2 or 11-1? Nobody cares if Helton only beats the mediocre to average teams in conference. He has shown that he cannot beat the elite teams time and time again since Darnold and Company saved his ass. So you beat Cal, ASU, Arizona and UCLA, so what? Look at there pathetic records! Bohn make the right move and hire the next coach. Oh and I didn’t even mention attendance and recruiting. It’s time to move on. Bring USC back to respectability nationally.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. That’s the strategy, my friend — Helton tearfully announces that he’s done what he came to do: Put USC in position to win a National Championship NEXT YEAR —under the kind of leadership he knows Mike Bohn will lend to the NEW coaching team. He stays to coach in ONE more Bowl Game —and the team sends him out with a win..

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I had trouble with my cable TV connection yesterday, so I thought I was seeing some new uniform additions by some of the SC players…my cable problem got so severe at times, it looked like a few players–including Olaijah Griffin– were wearing Red & White striped knee-high socks, which I know can’t be true….and my fuzzy picture even made it appear to show thousands of fans masquerading as empty seats… must be time to cut the cable…if Helton returns, a pair of rabbit ears or even a wire coat hanger will be all I need, because I won’t be watching…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The repugnant propagandistic coverage of the game/Helton’s status by Griese, Herbstreit, et al, should not be allowed to slide…

    Herbstreit played in a program that terminated Earl Bruce and John Cooper, two way more accomplished and better head coaches than Helton. Griese played at Michigan under Lloyd Carr who was not so subtly forced to “retire early.” 5-1 down the stretch with 5 wins against lesser opponents (one of which should have been a loss as played, and God only knows what it would have been like if J. Daniels the Greater had played for the Desert Devils) and 1 atrocious blowout loss at home to a rather exposed Oregon team…that didn’t fly at Ohio State or Michigan…and hasn’t at Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas, Notre Dame…even Nebraska…

    It appears by all indications that this new regime is in the process of “Miami Miasma”izing us(c). At least Miami hired a coach who went to the podium after the game and offered zero excuses for an embarrassing loss.

    They have one shot to get this right – if they botch this, there won’t be this perfect confluence of events/factors available for rescue.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. James,
      I get this feeling —which I can’t seem to shake—- that we’re not gonna take advantage of the “perfect confluence”…..

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Agreed. If they keep him, or pull a classic USC cheap ass “hope” disastrous move…if Folt is, for whatever reason (ie as discussed in detail on this site, the maneuvering behind the scene that tug on the leash), intent on pursuing such a foolish plan…no one should spend a penny or a second of time on something that is not USC football as it should be or we’ve known it (and we’ve known it in this other form that it currently takes with the incompetent buffoon at the helm – and those of us who are older have already lived through Tolner-Hackett, and now Kiff-Helton…life is too short…too many other things to do)…

        If they keep Helton, Saban and Bama will drill them the same way (can’t see him showing any mercy)…and the subtraction from this roster in balance with the 70+ ranking of the incoming class…this year could/should have been another 5-7…next year could be a 3-9…

        Liked by 1 person

    2. James, I think the announcers are towing the line set down by corporate higher ups, which is “keep it positive, talk up the coaches on the hot seat, everybody loves a good ending.”

      I can’t recall anytime when nat’l announcers wouldn’t take that road, no matter who the coach was.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. 67:
        Largely agree with you…but there are frequently times they talk about coaches on the hot seat (especially in the SEC, but also whenever the results tail off at any of the top programs…Brian Kelly just went through it at Notre Dame and you can bet Hermann will now at Texas)…there’s definitely a corporate/talk nice factor, but just like with the sanctions penalties, USC always gets treated differently by the national media (particularly ESPN) – I think they love seeing USC suffer under the likes of Helton, just like they loved it when the NCAA drove Pete away (the SEC couldn’t beat him, so he had to go)…

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Not to be argumentative, 67, but I recall Chris Fowler–who is a CU Buff–announcing a night game for ESPN back when CU’s coach Dan Hawkins was “on the hot seat.” (My son was at CU and I was following CU FB at the time.) Mr. Fowler took the opportunity to discuss the situation on national TV vis-a-vis the boosters and buyout issues with Hawkins and glibly reported,

        “the money’s there.” I.e., the boosters had the cash for the buyout.

        Nevertheless, I agree with you that a nice person like Coach Helton gets considerable deference from the media.

        CCH has run a clean program and never embarrassed the program (other than some epic blowout losses). He’s quickly gotten rid of felons/problem men who would have besmirched the program. He has not embarrassed the program in his media dealings. The offense improved to #13 in the nation in 2019 (FPI) against a tough schedule of defenses. The defense seems far worse than it’s #40 ranking this year. A #40 defense which cannot tackle a ballcarrier is NOT consistent with USC Football from Howard Jones (1920’s) forward. He continues to lose to teams he should beat–BYU and UW in Seattle this year. This has never been tolerated by USC.

        He made the corrections to the offense as was mandated, and even with #6 graduating, we expect next year’s offense to be top 10 in the nation. The question is can he deliver a top 10 defense nationally which plays fundamentally sound football in 2020? Obviously, a splashy DC hire announcement next week (or early December) is the only viable resolution.

        Urban Meyer is also a reliable solution. UM can get us to 10-2 next year.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. those guys actually detest SC for what past trojan teams did to their alma mater…incl out recruiting them, and out coaching them…with hellton those worries are gone.


      1. Absolutely – they love seeing the scary giant on its knees, and that’s exactly the position we’ve been in and will remain in with Helton. All of these people discussing staff changes…have they not been paying attention over the past several years? You could give Helton the greatest staff in history, and it wouldn’t change a thing as long as the non-competitive, non-physical practices continue, the preferential treatment of players (probably born of begging during the recruiting process…and even that has played itself out as recruits are advised to go elsewhere to be better developed for potential professional opportunities), the non in-game adjustments, and on and on…this show won’t end until the actor is swept off stage…and it won’t get better unless they put a fitting individual into the role…


  9. As a 1/2 Century Trojan, I have seen coaches come and go – usually off to the Pros. I have never seen such talent squandered by bad coaching. The UCLA “win” should have been a blowout … but poor coaching allowed an inconsistent rush to let UCLA’s QB out of the pocket to scramble over and over. The UCLA should never have been in the game. The real season was in the first 1/2 not the l last 1/2. When USC faced tough opponents, the outcome was predictably different from the weak last half of the season. USC needs a clean sweep on coaching. Without a new vision, the stands will be empty, the bowls pathetic (Please no Cheese-it Bowls) and the flagging recruiting will become even more problematic. The new AD was hired to change the program. Now is the time to do so. H. James Wulfsberg. Class of 66′ and proud USC Associate

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I would say that giving that game ball to the new AD is justifiable and the longer MB stays here, the more important that ball will be to him. The AD’s job at USC is inextricably tied to the football program and that’s why football players kept getting the job. Largely, as the football team goes, so will Mike Bohn go and he probably understands that. So, his first rivalry win on the new job at a school with USC’s football heritage will end up producing a very important game ball that I can pretty much guarantee you Bohn appreciates having. Plus, how can you blame a guy for trying to finesse the new boss a little bit in order to keep the job of a lifetime? Would you think more of Helton if he DIDN’T try to work the situation and massage something up for himself? I’m not lobbying for him to keep his job, but I’m not lobbying to watch USC try to hire again either. USC had the right coach after Carroll, then they had the right coach after Kiffin, then they had the right coach after Sarkisian and now they are off to find the right coach after Helton? OK.

    I wrote a post a couple years back about the incestuous nature of USC and how it was producing seemingly inbred results. I talked about things needing to fundamentally change at the institution itself because it was in the news for all the wrong reasons and there was too much noise coming out of the place. Since I wrote that post, the admissions scandal hit and now kids are dying at the school. That’s not really what I had in mind when I talked about things needing to quiet down. On the positive side, they have now hired a President from North Carolina and they’ve hired an AD from Cincinnati by way of Colorado. I’m also hearing that they are going to restructure the BOT. Great work! Now, if you told me that you wanted to complete the restructuring of the BOT before you make any major changes to the flagship athletic program, I would understand that. If you told me that you were comfortable making the move on the strength of a new Pres. and AD, I’d understand that too, BUT YOU DAMN WELL BETTER GET IT RIGHT IF YOU MAKE THAT CHANGE NOW. USC and its fans have been like that grown kid in Caddyshack who’s saying he wants everything on the menu. I feel like with all USC’s coaching and AD gluttony over the last 10 to 15 years, along with the situation it has put itself in with regard to the football program, it needs to be told; “you’ll get nothing and like it!” Just sit there for now. Seriously, the moniker of University of Spoiled Children has not been such a reach over the course of my lifetime and it fits fairly well in this scenario too. No offense intended, but I hope Mr. Bohn understands what he’s walked into here. Look, I’ve ostracized myself enough with these long ass posts, this specific entry and the fact that I’m not immediately calling for Helton’s firing, but I could make a case for keeping him right now and not letting USC kill…I mean HIRE again.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I really prefer to talk about football and since it was the last regular season game, I just want to share a few notes about it. I thought Amon Ra St Brown had a very pretty little run on the reverse he had in the first quarter. It wasn’t a long run and it won’t make the highlight reel, but it was a sweet little number down the sideline that I really appreciated. I talked about Pitt and TV yesterday and St Brown is like a mix of the characteristics I described individually for the other two. After that reverse, I think he played the worst game I’ve seen him play as a Trojan. He may have had 100 yards receiving, but he left a lot of yards on the table and some balls on the ground. However, he’s another one of the young guys I’m not worried about. I can’t believe this receiver group…

    There’s no drama surrounding the Team MVP Award, right? Congratulations Michael Pittman Jr. Way to be, baby. Run through the tape, I know you will.

    As I predicted earlier in the season, teams are staying away from OG and they are going at the other corner. Whether it’s Steele or I.T.S on the other side, they are staying away from #2. He caught my eye early on and the only question is whether he wants to be a football player or a video vixen.

    The announcers were going on about all the young talent on this team and that’s what I have been pointing to when people say there’s no eye for talent on the staff or an ability to recruit. Slovis probably brought our star ranking down when he was recruited, but they found a kid who can play and you guys all love him now. These guys don’t just walk in off the street and credit has to go somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person




    PRESIDENT FOLT: (213) 740-2111 EMAIL: president@usc,edu
    AD MIKE BOHN: (213) 740-3843

    1966-70 1969 TEAM CO CAPTAIN

    Liked by 4 people

    1. We as fans have been so fortunate to enjoy watching/following people of your ilk in this program over the years. Thank you for all – all – that you have done. I’m sure many of us (I will) are going to to lend whatever we can to your efforts to ensure that this new regime, to the extent that they are capable of doing so, hears this message consistently and loudly…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Mr: Jensen:
      Thanksgiving weekend 1969, as an 8 year old, I watched (by myself) USC vs UCLA and was “hooked.” To this day I thank God that USC won…had UCLA won, perhaps I might have ended up a Bruin? HaHa. I enjoyed the game so much I watched the replay on KTLA the next day. Thank you for your contribution to our Program. I know you have lingering injuries from your 4 year contribution. I do also.

      Ten years later I enrolled at USC. I fought hard to walk on the team and played two seasons–one for JR, one for TT. I was a live tackling dummy for several All American defenders/future All pros/future Rookies of the Year. I wanted to suit up for USC. Live tackling on Tuesday/Wednesday was part of the deal. These guys could tackle. It hurt.

      (I blew out a shoulder after a brutal 7vs7 tackle crossing over the middle in 1982 and just paid ~$25,000 out of pocket for my shoulder reconstruction surgery. I hope I’ve earned my voice.)

      Ted Tollner is a great guy. Very decent human being/gentleman, and a great Offensive FB mind. The practices in 1983 just didn’t seem to have the intensity of the practices in 1982. We went 4-6-1. He helped take a school that could not produce QB’s for the modern era and brought USC forward into the new game of FB. He’s a great guy.

      You understand that the present version of the USC FB brand does not represent what you guys suffered to accomplish in the late 1960’s. Same goes for the guys from the awesome teams of the 1970’s and 1980’s. The teams from 2001 to 2009 curated the USC brand exceedingly well also.
      (Coach Orgeron was a big help during those years don’t you think?)

      Just over 1200 men have participated in USC FB from the McKay era to the Helton era. Many have chronic physical injuries and deal with the impact of those injuries. Many–possibly all–have some brain injury from their dedication to the Cardinal and Gold. Most have likely spoken out somehow, somewhere, that the present version of the brand is not representative of what has always been The Brand.

      Thank you for speaking up. Your impressions matter.
      Frank Mayer, MD
      BS 1983, MD 1988
      puny walk-on WR 1982,1983

      Liked by 3 people

  13. Over the last 2 seasons ,I only recall SC beating one top 10 football team,like they used to beat all the time prior to hellton…Utah, this yr. The other wins were vs barely mediocre teams 5-5 or bottom dwellers. SC recruited based on what it used to be for the last few yrs , now the truth of hellton ball has caught up with the program. Continue this farce ,and recovery will take a decade, since all credibility will be used up. Make the change to a real football coach that runs real football practices,prepares the team for each game,or …well you know you get what you deserve,just like voters do.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ClayR:

    Replying to your question above regarding plan A, hiring a new HC.

    Likely the new HC will have his favored assistants and bring them with him.
    I like what Greg Burns has done with the defensive secondary.
    I think Chad K can develop a good front 3 or front 4 D line
    I watched LB play closely yesterday, and I’m disappointed that we are not developing our LB talent as we should. I feel horribly for those young men, as their future (potential) earnings from the game are being vacated by coaching.

    Hard to complain about the #13 offense in CFB.
    I support the whole staff, including Drevno. This was his first year correcting the Calloway fiasco. I think Jinks is a great RB coach.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bourbon, you named the 2 guys on defense that I was thinking about. Great eye.

      About the offense though, it’s like I want to send it to the people at Wisconsin, ask them to look at it and then tell me what they would do by changing as little as possible to still be able to do what they would want to do in an offense. Does that make sense to you? Any OC would probably cringe at the thought, but I want to get some kind of run guru or something to look at this offense and make some changes or design some stuff. I’ve written before that I think the offense is under-wrought and I think the run side of it needs to be given the thought and consideration the pass side of it has been given. How many tackles for a loss has this offense had when it hands the ball off? Too many. Why? It needs to be looked at if this crew is going to stick around.


  15. the big problem in keeping Clay is that if he fires Pendergast and Baxter and Nansen/DeForest, then who will he hire to replace them? any good coach would be stupid to come to SC for what could be a one year gig. so he could only get mediocre coaches, which doesnt solve any problems.

    we need to hire Ruhle from Baylor. Forget Urban. Ruhle would bring physical practices to SC. he is an intense recruiter. he would bring in his staff, many followed him from Temple to Baylor, so they can just move over to SC. Ruhle has experience as an assistant coach on both offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

    and he has built deep connections to Texas high school programs. he can recruit from those schools and will build those same deep relationships to southern california teams. he could really get the #1 recruiting class in the nation starting after this year.

    this is the guy. forget everyone else and convince Ruhle to make the move. only problem is that he will not be available until after Baylor plays Oklahoma 12/7, or maybe not until after they play a bowl game?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I see where some predict a Holiday Bowl and Michigan as a potential opponent.
    Maybe some other BOWL and it will be vs another Big 10 runnerup to Ohio St, like Wisconsin, Minn or Iowa…all these upper ranked teams are filled with mostly 3 star athletes,few 4 star,probably zero 5 star on scholarship…a chance to see what real coaching and preparation looks like…after that… BAMA…IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER.


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