If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

The way things are going right now, are you confident USC will be playing football in September in a stadium full of fans?

If USC does play Alabama on Sept. 5, will fans even be allowed? Will college football games be played in empty stadiums? There are just too many questions at the moment.

Well, at least the stadium should be full of fans vs. Alabama in Texas under normal circumstances. There will be plenty of social distancing at the Coliseum. But what will the ground rules be?

I wouldn’t dismiss any scenarios. I’ve seen some schools are considering having spring practice in May or June. But who knows if it will be allowed?

  • At the very least, it all has to affect USC’s ticket sales, which are already down. Aside from the fan unrest, the economic situation has changed so much the past week it will be even more difficult to sell tickets during the offseason.
  • A USC fan told me this week the suspension of all sports actually benefits Clay Helton.

“No coaching for anyone is good for Clay. It makes him more equal (to nothing),” he said.

  • Keonilei Akana of Honolulu has requested and been granted a release from her USC women’s volleyball scholarship. She signed a letter-of-intent in November but that was before USC had a coaching change.
  • And now for some history:

Earlier this week, I ran an illustration of Jim Sears, who was Player of the Week. Here’s another one from 1952, featuring lineman Elmer Willhoite.

  • There have been a lot of brothers who played football at USC. One duo you may not have heard of were Ed and Ralph Pucci of Canton, Ohio. Ed was a left guard from 1951-53 while Ralph was a fullback (1948-50).

Once after Ralph scored a touchdown in a big game, he went to class Monday and received a standing ovation from his fellow students. Ed was a bodyguard for Frank Sinatra, which I’m told was not unusual for USC players during that era.

Now let’s relive the early 1980’s.

  • During the 1983 USC basketball banquet, provost Cornelius Pings directed a jab at Coach Stan Morrison.

“Congratulations Stan, on your second biggest crowd of the year,” Pings said, referring to the poor attendance that season. By mid-February of that year, USC averaged 2,700 fans a game outside of the Winston Tire Holiday Classic, which featured some of the nation’s top teams.

  • The first Winston Classic in 1980 featured North Carolina with James Worthy and Sam Perkins, defending national champs Louisville, Minnesota and USC.

The 1982 Winston Classic featured No. 10-ranked Georgetown and Patrick Ewing, No. 6-ranked Alabama, Wisconsin and USC.

  • Sometimes quotes from the past can make you wince. Can you imagine former USC radio announcer Tom Kelly saying today what he said after a 1983 USC-Stanford basketball game? Actually, if you knew Kelly, you probably can:

“We had hoped to get some final stats, but apparently the girl who was on her way up here stopped to make a phone call,” Kelly said.

  • When the Cleveland Browns played the Los Angeles Raiders in a 1983 playoff game at the Coliseum, the Browns featured five former USC players: Charles White, Clay Matthews, Chip Banks, Paul McDonald and Larry Braziel.

“Do you know where we can find the USC horse and the guy who rides it? We want our guys to feel as relaxed as possible,” said Kevin Bryne, the Cleveland Browns publicist.

  • Last week, I wrote about USC playing Army at Yankee Stadium in 1951. In 1950, the Trojans play Navy at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. Navy defeated USC, 27-14.

The picture below shows former USC player/assistant coach/head coach Don Clark before the game. Clark was actually a Navy assistant coach in 1950. The following year he became an assistant at USC and was named head coach in 1957.

Don Clark before the 1950 USC-Navy game at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.

9 thoughts on “If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

    1. Scottie, you are hitting on all 8 cylinders today. Bravo, so much good material. Love the old school caricatures – and I like your idea that the DT should bring that back.

      “Neither rain, nor sleet, nor Covid-19 will stop “If It’s Friday, It’s Time For a USC Notes Column” from being posted.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, 67 –credit where credit is due.
        [Do you think we could trust my friend Owns to do the artwork for the updated Daily Trojan player profiles —or would he sabotage things]?

        Liked by 2 people

  1. The part about USC playing Alabama in an empty stadium is not well thought out at all. If this country is still in shutdown mode in September, then we won’t have a country and we won’t have college football. IMO, they can only get away with this intrusive crap for 2-4 weeks at most!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ll know a lot more in 2-4 weeks, Heidi. Maybe we’ll start turning the corner and begin the long road back by then….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 1952: No. 4 USC 14, No. 3 UCLA 12 at the Coliseum: The Trojans (10-1) scored first on a Jim Sears’ 65 yard run, taking a lateral from Al Carmichael as he was about to be tackled on a reverse. The second USC score was set up when the Bruins (8-1) had a pass from tailback Paul Cameron intercepted by Elmer Wilhoite and returned 72 yards to the UCLA 8 yard line, tackled by Cameron. Sears passed to Carmichael for the winning TD on a fourth-down play. UCLA led 12-7 at halftime on a field goal, a safety and a Bill Stits TD plunge in the second quarter. USC would go on to defeat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl for the Pacific Coast Conference’s first win over the Big Ten.
    I was at that game …it looked like SC WOULD LOSE BUT…ELMER MADE THE BIG PLAY..I still remember it today.

    Liked by 1 person

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