USC Morning Buzz: This Is Why You Need Change

If you look at the talent USC’s roster, there is one thing missing: A leader of men.

If Clay Helton returns, USC will be a favorite for the Pac-12 title. But the sloppiness, the penalties and the poor game management will remain.

That means USC might be successful but won’t reach its potential.

This is where Mike Bohn needs to realize he is not at Colorado or Cincinnati.

Winning 5 of 6 is fine at those schools. So is 8-4. But USC aspires for more.

So get the coach that can lead you to 11-1. His name is not Helton.

46 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: This Is Why You Need Change

  1. Of all of Helton’s faults, I would say that his biggest fault is his choices in assistant coaches.

    Even with Helton at the helm, this should have been a 10-2 season, maybe even better in a weak conference. Week after week, we see the deficiencies of Pendergast, Baxter, Drevno…

    Look at next year’s roster: Slovis, Stepp, Christon, St. Brown, Drake London, Bru McCoy, Kyle Ford on offense…so much talent on this team. In any organization, great talent should be combined with great leadership and great mentoring.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. ’04, I agree about top-notch assistants – but the real problem has been some of Helton’s assistants – Pendergast, Neil Calloway, Baxter…are so deficient.

        Imagine how things could have been different if Helton could have hired just average assistants.

        Not saying that is what ‘SC should aspire to, but that Helton’s choices of assistants have been horrible with some of his picks.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. You are correct 22, and strong enough to post what is unpopular around here.

        I bet if the computer could rate the “most improved” offense in NCAAF FBS, USC would win the “award” going away. The offense was frustrating at times, and many of the pundits flayed Harrell et al.

        Hard to argue with #13 offense per FPI, and this offense competed against 5 top 18-20 defenses this season. No one else–perhaps Texas AM–can make that statement.

        Our offense went from about #60 to #13 in one year, because????
        1. Drevno for Callaway
        2. Jinks for whoever
        3. Harrell for TeeHeltonMartin/Ellis
        4. Keary for TeeHelton/Martin/Ellis

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Harrell is NOT an upgrade. Jesus H. Christ, this is why we lose. Harrell is just more of Gomer, i.e. no possession, no running game, quick change of possession, bad field position. What you get from Harrell is flash on offense at the expense of defense and controlling the game. This is the best it gets bc the P12 is so overmatched by SC’s talent. People say excruciatingly silly things like “It’s the 2nd or 3rd QB”. That’s because the QB can and will get big hits when there is a single back who himself doesn’t block and the TE even when used really is just another receiver not blocking. The OL is by itself in handling the pressure and extra numbers. Pittman can cover up for that in winning the jump balls as long the defense doesn’t drop into coverage then come in delayed pressure. That’s how some talentless teams beat or hold SC in check. And that’s why SC can rarely win a game vs anyone with real talent. And that’s why WSU using the similar offense but better coaching puts up more yard on a hapless UGLY then us. Gomer in his first year had a better record and offense, though each year he moved further and further into this shitty offense. With Harrell the changeover to shittines is complete. That’s my take my man.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Global, respectfully disagree that Harrell is the reason SC loses.

        Outside of Helton (the buck stops with him), Pendergast has been awful, Baxter has been awful, and the o-line performance has been mediocre at best.

        Consider Pendergast’s defensive schemes. I can’t recall one game in which they could generate a pass rush without blitzing. Team D is ranked 83rd in the country, and this includes games against Fresno State, BYU, Colorado.

        Baxter’s performance might even be worse. How many 10 men penalties? Giving up a TD kickoff return seconds before halftime. Using starters on special teams and seeing those guys get injured.

        Not saying Harrell is the best SC could hire, but no doubt in my mind he is a huge improvement over Tee Martin.


      4. Yeah he has. But he can’t recruit like Tee Martin though. No one on this staff can! Number 76 in recruiting on 24/7 sports proves that. While we are all on standby waiting for a new coach to save the day, come national signing day.


    1. Come on 67. It is the head coach. What makes one think that assistants will be any better. He chose them and that is a part of the job of the head coach. He , Helton, is not qualified to lead USC. Face it. It is a public relations man full of excuses. He will have an excuse every year. He is a mediocre coach. The evidence is there. You can bring on the best assistants in the world and if the proper leadership is not there forget it. They change presidents and CEO’s for that reason. With the deepest respect for your opinions,I am inclined to disagree. It will be a tragic mistake to conclude that in my opinion

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Profesur, I agree with you entirely. My point is that perhaps Helton’s biggest deficiency is picking some absolutely awful assistants.

        I am not advocating keeping Helton and bringing in better assistants.

        We absolutely need a new CEO, and with a better CEO comes better divisional leaders (assistant coaches).


  2. If Clay Helton returns next season, the Trojans will probably be 6-6 at best, because the coaching staff relied too much on Michael Pittman , and will have to figure out a new way to win. And the last time Helton was in a similar situation was when Sam Darnold left, and he fell flat on his face. So hopefully Mike Bohn will take all of those things into consideration.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. With all due respect, I think you’re wrong this time Fan Boy. Ford, London and St. Brown will make up for the loss of Pittman. And Stepp will more than do his part, too. Slovis will be bigger and stronger…and smarter. Utah loses their playmakers and we get Washington at home.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Michael, of all the assistant coaches, Keary Colbert has quietly transformed that group. True, he is working with an amazing amount of talent, but so is every other assistant on that team.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. We expect you to file an injunction keeping Vaughns from departing to the NFL, MG. Ford, London, St Brown, Bru will be a formidable group–only made better by TV’s experience and long-bomb threat.

        One drop per game is worth the trade off. I’ll help you with the brief.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Bourbon —I bet the right coaching staff would keep Vaughns from leaving. I agree with Clay Russell that he’s a huge talent as a route runner and he could be in the running for lots of attention and awards if he sticks it out for another season…..

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t buy this stuff I’ve read about Bohn not knowing how to hire a coach — anybody who’s listened to or watched him over the last few weeks can see he’s a smart, strong willed man who is up to the job. His problem is that whoever he hires (unless it’s Meyer — who the holy rollers tell us we can’t hire) is gonna get his ass kicked in the first game of the season. Depending on how bad of an ass kicking it is (and it’s conceivable it could be REALLY bad), our new Athletic Director and new Head Football could be getting off to the worst kind of start imaginable. The kind of identity-destroying start that could impact the rest of the season. I think everybody at USC realizes. And —to use a phrase popular in 2019 — they’re looking for an “insurance policy”……..

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Michael, I’d love to see whom Meyer would hire to coach the o-line. Because there is no way he would stand by and let Slovis get taken out of the first game of the season on a stretcher, and that is what I am afraid will happen against ‘Bama.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. So on point, 67. Drevno is a big step up from Callaway —but, then again, Carol Folt would be a big step up from Callaway (I’m serious). But, knowing that the on again/off again o-line is what’s keeping USC out of playoff contention, Meyer would grab the meanest, toughest mother fucker available to take our guys to the limit. He’d also make sure Slovis got to the ground faster —I love watching him scramble to allow guys to get free …but I hate watching him in no man’s land when the safety gives him some room on those zone reads.
        The big problem with our keeping Helton and just getting a great D-Coordinator is that Helton will insist on protecting the offense in practice —and no coordinator can improve the defense without physical practices….that involve the art of something called the tackle.

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Some posters on SC websites are saying Slovis won’t fit into Meyer’s offense that demands a running quarterback who can take a hit.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. GT22, are the posters who are talking about whether Slovis fits in hypothetically with a Meyer offense talking about an alternative? Certainly wouldn’t be JT.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Not to be argumentative, but….

        If I’m Slovis and UM, I agree to send Slovis through the portal immediately–like before Winter semester. 2020. It’s the right thing to do for such a talented kid who worked his butt off for the Trojans. I would just ask the kid to transfer out of the Pac 12, so we don’t have to defend against him.

        In all of UM’s best years, his QB was a very important part of the run game.
        2003/4 Alex Smith@Utah ran the ball over 100 attempts per year and 500 to 600 yards per year. His final year he was adequate throwing the rock.
        05/06/07/08 –Leake was not much of a runner in 06, so Tebow was brought in on “obvious” running downs–and the rest is history.
        In 07/08 Tebow (backed up by a young Cam Newton) was really a run first QB who occasionally used the element of surprise with his arm.
        If Cam Newton backed up Tebow, what was UM’s plan with Cam when Timmie T matriculated?

        Same story for UM in his most successful OSU years.
        Remember Cardale Jones?

        So, sports fans, if UM is to be successful at USC we will have to totally change our recruiting focus to the “dual threat” QB, change HS which produce our future QB’s, recruit the DTR’s and Khalil Tates, etc and change over the whole program. For decades USC could count on some of the “HS FB powerhouses” and their loyal coaches to steer great talent to USC.

        This is not fuel to retain HC CH, my friends. Just a reminder of where we are going with UM and this 4-5 yr plan.

        Right now, our problem is lazy recruiting, weak OL/DL/LB recruiting and development, weak defensive coaching (DC CP), weak practices, no tackling, weak Stg/conditioning/nutrition/agility training. We have developed a pipeline for Offensive talent and it con’t to deliver
        (2018 not-withstanding). Is there someone who can work within our existing system of recruiting (pipeline) and con’t to foster our history of producing “NFL calibre” pocket passers?*

        *(don’t give me no shit about all our QB’s washing out in the NFL)

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Bourbon —The guy who gets rid of Slovis is gonna be SO behind the 8 ball as the losses mount during his first year of rebuilding…


      6. MG:
        I suppose UM could “pull a Saban” and keep Slovis on the squad and let Kedon “wither on the vine,” so to speak. Let the kid QB USC for 2020 while building and recruiting for a UM style of Offensive Football team for 2021. Then, with the new hot-shot Dual Threat Freshman QB on USC for 2021, Slovis becomes expendable.

        “Durrr, he just didn’t fit into our philosophy.” UM
        “Great kid, and we will always cherish what he did for our University.” UM
        “Wish him the best.” UM

        Examples of how its done?
        Justin Fields vs Fromm at UGA.
        Kelly Bryant vs Trevor Lawrence at UGA.
        There are too many to recite.

        Bottom of the ninth and we’re down 6 runs….
        Swinging for the fences. (?)

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I enjoy watching disciplined, physical football teams slowly and methodically brutalize the running/dual-threat/option QB. The defense and the DC know that in the 4th quarter that QB is gassed or beaten up, and when the game is on the line they’ll throw the INT or INC.
        I enjoyed watching us do just this to Tate in 2017–when he was all the rage. (yes, it was an ugly W)

        Deshaun Watson is the only CFB QB who comes to mind who took the abuse (from Bama, OMG what abuse!) and came through in the clutch.
        Maybe Cam Newton for one year?

        With rare exception, this is the NFL story. I cannot come up with too many instances where a D/T QB wins a SuperBowl. I guess you all can cheer for Lamar. At the highest echelons of CFB, the defenses look a lot more like the NFL (Bama, LSU, Auburn, Clemson) and a lot less like the Pac 12 or Big 8/12 (now 10).

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Bourbon —
        No disrespect. I fully agree with your reasoning — I just think it’s funny to be worried, on the one hand, about what Slovis could DO TO US if he’s playing for another team —-while, on the other, talking about which year we should get rid of him


      9. Don’t get me wrong, friends.

        I want Slovis here for 3-4 more seasons….New York is really awesome in Mid December.

        (BTW, Bumped into Kellen Moore at La Guardia the year he was invited to the Downtown Athletic club. Seemed like an awesome young man–just sitting there doing his homework in the terminal.)

        Liked by 1 person

      10. OK, MG.
        Here’s my solution, and it has worked splendidly for USC very RECENTLY!
        1. Hire UM.
        2. Keep Slovis–but only as the scout team QB–Just like Sark and Helton kept Darnold as Scout Team QB during Kessler’s final year–an 8-5 season.
        3. Darnold won the Scout team award that year– his Freshman year. Apparently he drove the DC and the #1 defense batty, ripping them apart practice after practice. They really screwed things up when they took Sam off the scout team for 2016.
        4. Slovis could really help develop our defense into a top 30 squad nationally working as the scout team QB.



    2. I pointed out here and on an SC board both the stats and the fact that Slovis doesn’t fit for UM, and the prototypical big and very well put together dual threat QBs that UM has always coached.

      UM has won championships with this. No one right now is stopping those QBs. We got Clemson with a 6’5 230 lb kid that’s run for 350 yards and 7 TDs. Tua and Jalen split time the year before as dual threats. Before that was Ohio State winning the NC with dual threat prototypes. The year before Clemson with Watson as a dual threat, and the year before Winston with a dual threat… If you keep going back til our own championships, Auburn, Florida, Texas, the only interruptions we see are LSU’s Matt Flynn and Bama McElroy.

      It’s not that the game has changed but the West Coast (college BYU variant) offense that we ran and LSU ran under Crowton efficiently if less gaudy, requires an OC who knows what the hell he’s doing and has expertise. That’s rare. Being a passing game coordinator and running a dual threat system are simpler and easier to teach, requires less specialized personnel. Even Meyer sees it. Finding a kid that can line up under center, that’s big, smart, accurate, athletic enough to roll out– only USC and some other programs can find that kid and that kid probably had a private LA area QB coach since high school. TEs and FBs that can run and catch and block? Good luck for all but 5 programs. I can only think of 5 coaches that stick around college who can actually teach these skills– the top would be Chryst at Wisconsin, who is one of the best coaches in CFB dealing with Wiscy’s limitations. (He won’t leave his alma mater but SC should back up the truck for him if it can’t get Meyer just in case.)

      There are a lot of collegiate Offensive Coordinators that are one trick ponies and hacks being recycled in a closed profession. They are smart enough to know that they are in tension with Defensive Coordinators– if an OC is pass happy throws downfield and to the edge, doesn’t care about field position and makes points secondary and ignores ball control, he can put up great yardage and pretend he’s a genius. Some programs without talent even need to do this since every game is a struggle to turn into a toss up.

      Sarkiffin, Helton, this little twerp Harrell, they know they are stabbing the team in the back to try to look better for their next job. CLK got reamed for it and fired from Bama. Sark was like Helton– he had to fall into an injury to get the best QB on the field and he knows not to eff around under Saban.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Liked your reply re. Bohn – he knows how much football means to USC and yes he did make a bad hire picking Dan Hawkins while being the AD @ CO (Petersen was the real brains @ Boise St.) but all do in fact failure and major failure in life is what shapes any of us. I don’t see him making a ‘reactive’ hire. I would certainly welcome Urban Meyer as we all would ‘but’ that would also be a long shot if only the control Meyer would bring to the entire athletic department. USC didn’t ‘discover’ Urban Meyer his stints @ UT, FL and OH St. have done that.

        I think it is very likely Bohn will select someone beholden to him by his (Bohn) elevating that pick as that incompetent plunderer Haden did for Sarkisian and even worse Helton. The problem there – Haden never should have been AD to begin with. His graphic lack of skill in selecting Sarkisian is the genesis of this entire mess. We have lost 5 years because of Haden’s lack of skill – 5 years.

        Bohn’s not a fool

        Liked by 4 people

      2. In business, Helton would be known as the Designated Defendant —- the guy placed in charge of “safety” on some hazardous project, the guy who’s there to take the fall when the inevitable happens.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. With most of every one wanting HElton Fired if Urban Meyer doesn’t take Over then Tell Me who is as Great at being a Head Football Coach for USC who would accept it…..that is comparable to urban Meyer


    1. Well, with your moniker–“Mr. alwaysright”–I’m counting on YOU to inform us.
      Just kidding you.

      It’s such a $#itshow at USC, that there are no great options.
      Many names have been brought up on this site. Some are comical, with no insult intended by moi

      Kiffin was nominated. I’ll leave this on the board for other’s to make fun of–though I have a few snarks if no one else is up to the challenge.

      James Franklin–had some issues with one of his players involved in a rape. He’s a top 10 coach who aspires to the Natty. I don’t think he’d leave Penn State for USC. They get 100,000 per game–and all 100 will wear white ON COMMAND.

      Matt Rhule at Baylor–has had one good year at a Power 5 school.
      Nevertheless, his backstory resonates for me. Could be great.
      Could be the next Tom Herrmann (who still could be great)

      Matt Campbell at ISU–reliably top 25 every year. Loses to teams he should beat, every year has a signature victory. Hmmm, who does that sound like?

      Orgeron was nominated. by someone. See Kiffin paragraph above.

      Fickel. Oops. I think I suggested that one. I reserve the right to defer to 2021. If Cincy improves in 2020?

      Dave Aranda at LSU. I’m on board.

      Brett Venables–not leaving Clemson per a source on this site.

      A Stoops was nominated. I’m not sold.

      Josh McDaniels was nominated. I live in Denver. Josh started out 6-0 (and beat Belichick to start 5-0), ended up 5-17. At 6-0 we called him a genius.

      I’m open to other suggestions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You totally lost me at Franklin. I can’t understand why his name would come up for someone who cares about football and winning. I get it if you’re a journalist. Journalist hate competent, focused coaches who don’t take ish, and win. They hated PC, and they would hang UM and Saban at first opportunity. There are also some people who watch SC football but aren’t really fb people who want someone who they feel would have been a kewl bud in college or something. Franklin has never won ANYTHING. Helton has a better track record, head to head, division win, RB win. And he did that while being an awful human being, recruiting some human garbage, and being a PR trainwreck if he was in a place that got any scrutiny.

        Since we are just talking about people we would like but wouldn’t come, I’ve repeatedly mention Chryst at Wisconsin, who would basically be a return to Chow/PC in terms of scheme– you get the FB back, the TEs that run, block and catch and RBs that run block and catch, you get the wheel routes and passes to the backside of the play, and most of all the pounding and big play with lots of WC passes spreading the field including slants, crossing routes and passes down the middle instead of just stuff to the edges. The defense would be brutal again too. But Chryst is not anyone’s chum, he’s a football guy.

        Josh McDaniels, someone I also bring up would bring back SC football (see above).

        Don’t sleep on the Pirate. He can run one of the best offense with better running, he just maximizes whatever he can get.

        Luke Fickell I’ve said before too; an UM lite.

        Mooch. Yes Mooch. The guy knows football, knows the conference and can deal with this job.

        Joe Rudolph (see Chryst) is one of the best offensive coaches that happens to look like a guy at the local bar that never leaves on time. Even if you could just steal him away as an OC the next coach has done good.

        UM goes without saying.

        Another word that people won’t appreciate. Chow as coordinator with one of his old QBs like Ty Detmer as his head assistant. Or as a consultant…

        Now for a screwball: And if we insist on considering another old USC head that knows football, Norv Turner another guy that looks like he won’t leave the gd bar.


  5. If Urban isn’t returning to coaching for USC I doubt he’ll come back for anything. USC is a reclamation project with national aspirations. A real chance to prove he’s the real deal. He’d look at the portal for players ready to build the base and make the best use of the great players we have. This is a tailor made chance I hope he doesn’t pass up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It almost sounds like Scott Wolf is as frustrated as the rest of us because i think he subliminally said………”HIRE MEYER!”


  7. Yeah he has. But he can’t recruit like Tee Martin though. No one on this staff can! Number 76 in recruiting on 24/7 sports proves that. While we are all on standby waiting for a new coach to save the day, come national signing day.

    Liked by 1 person

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