USC Morning Buzz: Clay Helton Gave Assistants Plenty Of Notice Before Firings

Former USC assistant coaches Clancy Pendergast and John Baxter were informed two weeks before the Holiday Bowl they would be fired after the game.

Was it really prudent to keep them around for two weeks as lame ducks to coach the game.

I guess that can be debated but the defense and special teams sure didn’t look sharp vs. Iowa.

I suspect Coach Bohn ordered the firings and Clay Helton gave the pair a two-week sendoff since he probably never wanted to release his coaching soulmates.

34 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: Clay Helton Gave Assistants Plenty Of Notice Before Firings

  1. Not saying I’m in favor of retaining Pendergast or Baxter, but what does Bohn know about football? Thank God that “genius” from the football powerhouses of Colorado and Cincinnatti is calling the shots. Sleep well, Trojan fans! All is well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No shocker that Reverend Helton didn’t have a prayers chance of handling the right way. I mean after all, his first 2 yrs as the messiah he’d let everyone know, at every opportunity that he was “a quarterback coach by trade” but didn’t know how to teach the tricky victory formation qb snap under center?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. After the 2015 season Helton fired Justin Wilcox and a few others immediately after the last regular season game. USC played in the 2015 Holiday Bowl with Peter Sirmon as the acting DC with other grad assistants filling in for the other assistants who had been fired.

    Why couldn’t Helton have done the same this year? He could have fired Baxter and Pendergast after UCLA. By waiting an additional month to fire the two, it seems clear Helton didn’t really want to fire them. Hell, he kept them on after last year’s 5 – 7 debacle.



    Liked by 5 people

    1. You’re on a royal roll, marvienna. And you’ve got Helton’s number. He never really wants to leave his comfort zone —which means he’s easy for imaginative coaches to beat. I’ll bet you anything he’s behind the slow walking in this defensive coordinator search. [Just so I’m understood clearly —I’m saying that if NO ONE presently on Bohn’s list —all of whom are known to sports writers and one of whom has already been fricking interviewed—- gets the job SOON, you can be sure Helton is playing his passive/aggressive, “hide in my room & hold my breath until I get my way” sulk routine again….and getting away with it].

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Or maybe there is another mysterious third UCLA game ball Helton gave to someone we don’t know about who is the power behind the throne. Someone who can also protect Helton in addition to Folt and Bohn.



        Liked by 1 person

      2. What a title for a movie comedy —“The Third Game Ball!.”


  4. Gomer: Gawly fellas, but I’m goin’ to ta fire ya’ll after we lose, I mean play, Iowa in the Holiday Bowl – ok?

    Baxter+Clancy: Well that’s fine skipper, we’ll make sure we give it our best coaching effort and go out with a win [smirk, chuckle, eye rolls].

    Gomer: Well ain’t that nice! You guys are the best. God bless you guys. And I promise I won’t ruin your holidays with unnecessary practices or any sort of pressure to win or perform, and I be sure the players will be on-board with this too. We need to get a going away party organized, with pizza, cake and kool aid – the whole deal. I’ll call Mr. Daniels and he can organize. Gaaaw-ly!!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Clancy is probably the best defensive mind in the game. His problem is the players don’t grasp it well enough to do what he asks. So his defenses constantly get out of position and then scored upon. For instance, he totally knows how to contain the edge and his schemes should stop those plays for negative yardage, but instead the players don’t understand the scheme so they give up big yardage. It’s very similar for misdirection plays, counters, reverses, tight end coverage, physical under center run oriented teams, 5 wide and no backs, wildcat, option, etc. did I miss anything?

    If he could just get the kids to understand his concepts he would have tremendous defenses. If only there were a way to show them how to do it, like some sort of teacher or coach. Oh well….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have been roundly flayed on this site for “supporting” CP earlier this year.
      (Just after the Arizona game). In the second half of the season, it seems the defense started to crumble even more. Near the end, I was fine with having CP move on, and I brought up a few splashy, YOUNG, potential DC hires BASED ON RECENT DATA (Scalley, Leonhard).

      It appears that HC CH and AD Bohn did not read my posts on these two hot shot, proven DC’s. They are just as splashy as Kliff Kinsbury (on the opposite side) and in no risk of getting a HC job any time soon.

      Houston was a bit slight of frame to be a MIKE LB, and Gaoteote a bit
      slow to be on the outside. Both were playing “out of their natural position.” Because of a shortage of LB’s, CP switched to the 4-3 from his usual 3-4. It will be interesting to see where the new DC puts Gaoteote in 2020. I still have hopes for him CP had to do this, as Houston was the only guy experienced enough to make the D calls “on the fly” which is MIKE LB job. Houston was man-handled all year long, making all his tackles 7-12 yards beyond the LOS.

      Hopefully Kris Richards is still in play, though Mike Nolan likely will keep him. I’m not sold on Joe Barry, but I must wonder if “an announcement” will soon happen.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And yes, I know that Scalley and Leonhard are both “happy” as DC’s at their home Universities and have turned down DC offers from other noteworthy schools.

        The only way I spin the interview with either of them is that they are “guaranteed” the HC job at THE BLUE BLOOD CFB program
        when HC CH’s team implodes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bourbon — You mention “an announcement.” What a pleasure it would be if the “announcement” announced somebody worth announcing …for a change. Somebody on the way up, as an example. Someone who’s not a burn out or a bounce around. Someone who scares the living shit out of Helton…..


    2. Another “tremendous mind” = Paul Hackett.

      Great coaches communicate to their players. Not impressed with Mr. Pendergast – at all.

      Probably a great ‘designer’ yet a piss poor executor/communicator of his plans.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. You don’t have to be sarcastic about it, Chris.
      [The really funny thing is you read Clancy’s thoughts: “The concepts are there….. if only they worked….once in a while”]…


  6. Scottie, you are kidding about this, right?

    I mean, NOBODY gives a termination notice to a person who has a fundamentally important job to do in the future.

    How did this work out?

    Iowa 2019 scoring average = 23.8 points per game
    Iowa Holiday Bowl = 49 points

    Iowa more than doubled their season scoring average in Holiday Bowl

    Iowa Holiday Bowl kickoff return average = 47.3 yards per return

    Iowa more than doubled their kickoff return average in Holiday Bowl

    Folt and Bohn, if you want to teach the players and students an important lesson, here it is:

    Don’t reward incompetence

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Prior notice is never a part of the contract for these types of positions. Responsibilities are immediately taken away, though the fired party would typically receive termination compensation.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Knowing Helton, he probably told these guys to polish (not Polish) their resume before the game so they would post unbelievable efforts during the game.
    Unfortunately, the reason they were being fired in the first place was no evidence of unbelievable efforts. If you look at the season the lack of sustainable defense killed us in games we lost as well as games we squeaked by.
    The special teams failure was just icing on the cake. I’m almost ready to toss Baxter under the bus for the fires in Australia. How do we know he didn’t toss a cigarette out the window on his ride home? And this is extremely galling – with money being squeezed at USC they sent John to Australia to offer the first bloke he saw a scholarship. He would have had better luck trolling bars in Westwood. I thought, after watching Aussie rules football, that we had a trick play in every punt. Boy was I right, “Watch this play, mate, I’ll kick it straight up and it’ll come down 20 yards up field.” By the end of the season I half expected the punt to fly backwards through the opposing team’s uprights .
    In a state decrying the lack of high school football players available because the culture has embraced soccer, you’d think a soccer player would love a scholarship to USC. Alas, this was not even discussed. John Baxter has probably coached his last season anywhere.

    Sorry for the long post. I wanted to point something out. I killed my account with Scott Wolf after the Iowa loss. And having blown through all of my aliases am unable to actually establish a new account. So if you are wondering why I don’t click “like” on anyone’s posts… I can’t. When I do it wants me to log in. I can’t. I tried to log in as Truman but that name is taken. I love circular logic 😒 anyway I’m working on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know it wouldn’t be good to see our punter send the ball “backwards through the opposing team’s uprights” —but, given the fact it wouldn’t have mattered in the Oregon and Iowa losses, it might’ve been fun to watch.


  8. Come on wasn’t that the same deal USC admin gave former medical school dean Pufiliato? Also for Tyndall? Weren’t they both ‘feted’ at ‘bon voyage’ parties as they finally left the school?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. More fake news with fake sources from little Scottie….
    Both coaches found out their fate shortly before it was announced to the media on Saturday the 28th.
    Scott continues to spew incorrect information on this page because so many people believe everything he says. Even with no sources.
    How can you accurately cover a team when you aren’t even allowed to be on the campus of the team you’re covering..??


  10. Who do we thank for this garbage Wolf, Petros, the ball boys or the call girls that use the bathroom on campus?


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