It’s so hard to convince people who don’t watch USC games closely how ordinary the program has become.
They see the 2-0 record, even if it is vs. the mediocre Pac-12.
They see Clay Helton is a below-average coach. But they don’t fully realize the “nothing special” roster at so many spots.
Look at the linebackers: You have some workman-line players who might be reaching their potential by being just OK. You have some underachievers.
But there is nothing to suggest there are any special players. USC’s recruiting the past couple years seems to be catching up with itself on the field, especially at places like linebacker and offensive line.
I’m not giving a pass to other positions, but linebacker and offensive line used to actually be glamour positions in the old days.
- Go back to the beginning of the year and read some of the early articles on the new coaches. Nothing but breathless reports praising the energy, leadership and promise of the new staff.
Now tell me after two games what you have?
Todd Orlando’s been a Clancy Pendergast-clone but blitzes even more. Back in January, I wrote college coaches told me Orlando loved to blitz. But this much?
Cornerbacks coach Donte Williams hasn’t figured out how to teach Chris Steele to stop grabbing receivers (but he can recruit!).
Craig Naivar coaches two senior safeties who are supposed to be some of the best players on the team. Do you see improvement from them?
Defensive line coach Vic So’oto is supposed to be an energy guy but coaches a line that’s allowed 208 yards rushing per game.
All in all, money well spent.
Remember, Orlando defenses at Texas gradually got worse each year. That is a scary thought.
- None of this even mentions Graham Harrell’s shortcomings.
- If Kedon Slovis throws one fluttering pass Saturday night, what will the excuse be from the coaches? The ball slipped again? It was windy at Rice-Eccles Stadium? Slovis is a “headcase?”
Whatever the excuse, the truth will be the last reason given.
- With the first night game, I’m going to wait until Saturday to make my USC-Utah game prediction.
- The Pac-12 had six players selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. It had 10 players picked overall. And can you name one good Pac-12 team last season? Oregon was the only one projected to be a top-eight seed in the NCAA Tournament.
- Already, several mock drafts for 2021 have USC forward Evan Mobley projected as a top-three pick.
USC is selling T-shirts with “Southern Cal” on the front. The university must sell Southern Cal gear every year to protect its copyright of the out-of-favor phrase.
- If you are familiar with the 1970 USC-Alabama game and the significance it is given with integrating the SEC, this article debunks some of the myths.
“There is more fiction in those 1970 USC-Alabama stories than anything,” said Lester McClain, Tennessee’s first Black player (1968-70) and the SEC’s first Black player to score a touchdown with six TD catches in 1968. “You’d think that’s when the SEC began recruiting Black athletes. I was almost out of school by 1970.”
- USC announced a customized debit card for fans and Wells Fargo customers this week. It never ends.
- And now for some history:
You could probably make an argument in 1953 that the track team was bigger than the football team.
There were rock stars like shot-putter Parry O’Brien, who a gold medal at the Olympics and Sim Iness , who won a gold medal in the discus. Hurdler Jack Davis won a silver medal. Dick Genther was the 1953 NCAA champ in the javelin. Ernie Shelton would win two NCAA titles in the high jump. Jim Lea was a two-time NCAA champ in the 400 meters. Sprinter Verle Sorgen was an All-American.
So when they agreed to face Arizona for the first-time ever in a dual meet, they took a chartered flight to Tucson (unheard of today for a USC track team).
There was a welcoming committee at the airport and Arizona’s sororities hosted a lunch for the team. That night, the Trojans won 14 of 15 events en route to a 101-30 victory before a large crowd.
That’s a little different than Clay Helton takes the football team into Tucson from a results standpoint.
USC then breezed to an NCAA title with 80 points. Illinois, the second-place team, scored 41.
- On Dec. 9, 1983, actress/comedian Gilda Radner appeared at Bovard Auditorium. On Jan. 19, 1984, comedian Joan Rivers appeared at Bovard.
- In the 1950’s and early 1960’s, USC used to provide Los Angeles Times sports columnist Braven Dyer a suite at the team hotel for road games.
- On Sept. 23, 1977, you could go see Blondie and Devo at the Hollywood Palladium.