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

Outside of Jacksonville Jaguars fans, who was happiest about Urban Meyer becoming the team’s coach Thursday?

Obviously, there is USC president Carol Folt, who no longer needs to see angry fans tweet her to hire Meyer. Right behind for a similar reason is USC athletic director Mike Bohn, who I heard wanted Meyer at one point until Folt said no.

Where does that leave the USC dreamers who can’t stand the thought of Clay Helton running the program for three more years?

  • The frontrunner to replace him has to be Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell, provided no one else hires Fickell before USC gets off its butt and decides to make a move on Helton.
  • I pushed Iowa State coach Matt Campbell a year ago and he is hotter today. He also has a $6 million buyout, which could turn off USC.
  • Since Bohn had his minion leak last year that Dave Aranda was nearly hired as defensive coordinator, he would probably be a candidate for USC. The problem is Baylor went 2-7 last season and Aranda’s reserved demeanor might be a better fit in Waco than Los Angeles.
  • USC made an unsuccessful run at Bob Stoops last year and might test his resolve again. He would be a marquee hire.
  • How about Ed Orgeron? He makes too much money and is too big for USC at the moment. But if LSU doesn’t turn things around, he might be in trouble. And Bohn knows the fans will be happy if he comes back.
  • Is it possible that USC ends up settling for an assistant coach? That’s the history of the program. If Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy somehow does not get an NFL job this offseason, he might be ready to jump to be a big college job and is from Southern California.
  • Former USC defensive line coach Chris Wilson, who has a similar job at Colorado, is a candidate to become the Buffaloes’ new defensive coordinator.
  • Remember all the hype and hype videos USC produced when it created BLVD Studios with J1S?

Well, Andrew Clifford Stewart, the Head of Digital Production, has resigned to pursue a “new career.”

  • USC is ranked No. 8 by Bleacher Report and No. 9 by ESPN in their way-too-early Top 25 polls for next season. I find that hard to imagine unless the schedule is easier than expected.

And now for some history:

  • You want to know how things have changed at USC?

In 1960, All-American Mike McKeever suffered a head injury against Stanford that led to emergency brain surgery for a blood clot at Cedars of Lebanon hospital.

When USC president Norman Topping learned of the surgery, he contacted athletic director Jess Hill and sports information director Don Simonian and dispatched them to the hospital to comfort the family and handle any media duties. Hill and Simonian spent the night at the hospital with McKeever’s family.

Do you think if a similar situation happened today, the school president would even become involved?

Bob Kolf
  • Bob Kolf, a key figure in USC basketball in the 1950’s, died last month at age 91. He was a player and an influential coach.

Kolf was co-captain of the 1951 team that went 21-6 and won the Pacific Coast Conference Southern Division. He also played a season on the football and baseball teams.

His father, Bob Sr., was a legend at Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he coached seven sports over a 45-year span (1923-67).

But Bob Jr. really made his mark at USC as an assistant coach to Forrest Twogood and freshman coach from 1957-61.

“He overshadowed Twogood,” said a friend of both men. “Everybody liked Bob. Twogie wasn’t that outgoing.”

Around 1961, a group of players had enough of Twogood and went to see athletic director Jess Hill. They wanted Twogood to be fired and Kolf to become the coach.

But this was an era when a player revolt could not be tolerated and Hill sided with Twogood, even though it probably was a smarter move to promote Kolf. So in 1961, Kolf resigned and entered private business.

Twogood remained the coach and as I’ve written before hurt the program with his awful record of recruiting African-American players.

  • Last week, I wrote about kicker Sam Tsagalakis, who beat Stanford with his field goal in 1953. After he graduated, Tsagalakis got a job in the athletic dept., as an academic affairs counselor.

The inside joke was no one knew what Tsagalakis was supposed to do. He had a cubby hole with a desk and chair in the Student Union.

But co-workers would sometimes give him money to place bets at Santa Anita, where he might find himself during the week.

  • And finally, here’s a story about Tommy Lasorda. One year, there was a formal dinner at Dodger Stadium headlined by Lasorda and a lot of major-league players.

Lasorda saw long-time major-leaguer Jim Fregosi across the room and yelled, “Hey, Jimmy, you could have never hit my curveball.”

Fregosi yelled back, “You’re right Tommy, I never played in the minor leagues.”

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

  1. Folt called Meyer “radioactive” then claimed she wouldn’t prevent Bohn from hiring him. There is plenty of coaching talent out there, not as good as Meyer but way better than Helton. Lance Leipold coaches Buffalo and finished in the top 25, not much different than USC. He has a W-L of something like 140 and 40. Not saying he is the guy but I suspect he would have beaten Oregon with USC’s talent and would have managed to have kept Slovis healthy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 100%, 67. Any decent coach would have beaten Oregon with USC’s talent…in their home stadium.
      Also —any coach who runs an Air Raid offense HAS to care more about his o-line than Helton does. If Harrell’s whole offensive philosophy is “quarterback waits till one of his receivers finds open grass”, it’s imperative the qb get the time to do his thing without risking life and limb. I’m sure Helton would want that for himself if he, God forbid, were our quarterback (only in his case he’d be risking life, limb and maidenhood).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. MG,

        The game was basically lost due to Slovis’ three INTs. Period. Now, I would never throw the kid under the bus especially the way he has shown poise at the end of ballgames. I like Slovis’ moxie as well. Aside from that, the team played well. I think the team is trending well- mostly due to the players and recruiting and despite Hackett 2.0’s terrible game management. What do you think, amigo?

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Man, am I glad you’re back, Arturo. You always bring sobriety and fairness to the conversation.
      Here’s what I think –The loss was the culmination of Clay Helton’s weakness as a coach throughout 2020. He didn’t have USC ready for most of the games they played — they just came out flat as a pancake and had to play catch up. The 0-line was a mess cuz the once-great Drevno was mailing it in —the players mirrored his burn out. Worst of all, Helton smiled while the Pac 12 made up rules as they went along….resulting in the Trojans playing 3 games in 13 days —- the last of which was against a well rested, substitute team for the Pac 12 Championship. Yes, you’re right —Slovis played a poor game —but cuz of the o-line problems we couldn’t help him out. We don’t have a plan B for days when Slovis is off (like a running game that can generate a couple hundred yards of offense). I put that on Helton.
      Thanks for coming back, Arturo. We need you. Don’t let the haters on this blog win!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. MG,

        We have time to dissect Helton and this season and I enjoy getting different perspectives and that is why I am back.
        As far as the team, I felt terrible for the everyone and especially the players that came back like AVT ( who was playing hurt btw), but especially for Carr and Stepp who had absolutely no chance with defenders draped all over them before they could even get going. Playing 3 games in 13 days with the last being the most physical is brutal. However, just so you know, I am not here to make excuses for how the team played. That said, I can’t imagine how Orlando implemented a new defense virtually or with limited live action. Drevno has disappointed, but developing a cohesive O- line under the current conditions is really beyond me (not that the O- line play has impressed during any part of his tenure) . It is like teaching 8 year olds fractions virtually…ugggh.
        Lastly, if you look real closely at some of the key TDs this year (Slovis to Drake against ASU is a prime example) Stephen Carr actually makes the play possible; he destroys the incoming blitzing LB or DB. These are the kinds of plays that make football great and why, in my opinion, it is unfair to make generalized statements saying that this team plays bad, is weak, or anything similar. Dig a little deeper and there are things and players to be proud.
        Peace, brother

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Smart stuff.
        [I’m with you, btw. I’d love it if EVERYBODY would calm down & just try to make the best of where we are….]……


  2. Damn, Scott. Most of this wonderful stuff belongs in a book. It amazes me you put it out for free. There isn’t gonna be another you coming down the path for a long time. You’re one in a million. Thanks for all you continue to do.
    Speaking of “paths” — President Folt would have sent Mike McKeever’s family a beautiful note, telling them she wished she could “walk their path with them.”
    Sure, Norm Topping had his strengths —but when it comes to the empty symbolism of “walking the path” Carol is unbelievable.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. How about Jack Del Rio for HC?

    Word was when he was coach at Jacksonville USC made a run for him. Even sent him a contract. But Del Rio turned it down because if he left voluntarily he wouldn’t be paid the remaining $15 million on his contract. If he was fired he would get it. So he turned down USC.

    He had a pretty decent year as Washington’s DC working with Chase Young but I’ve heard he’d take the USC job.



      1. If no one shows up to see them play or buys their gear then it becomes basic math. How much will we lose vs how much are we paying him.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a reason Del Rio is still unemployed…he stinks.

      Del Rio didn’t like the fact that Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was getting most of the credit for the teams success when they went 12 – 4 in 2016 so he fired Musgrave and replaced him with Todd (never heard of him) Downing. That move backfired big time as the Raiders ended the 2017 season with a 6 – 10 record.

      Del Rio hasn’t coached since. He’s as bad as Jeff Fisher, another clown you Bozo’s wanted USC to hire.


  4. Even with Urban gone, the Twitter crowd should still bombard Folt and Bohn’s Twitter accounts with calls to remove Helton.


    Liked by 3 people

    1. I vote for someone with extreme charisma, leadership skills & killer instinct —not someone who just has a working knowledge of the basics of football.


  5. Wasn’t Leinart actively promoting the idea of Meyer for head coach? Well, that explains why Folt didn’t like the idea. I mean what could a guy like that possibly know? I’m sure she said something like “I don’t want to hear about national championships, Heisman Trophies, or some supposed 34 game winning streak! That has nothing to do with new, customizable experience we’re curating here. Success on the football field is not quantified by wins and losses, but by what kind of people we put in charge of our program. We want to be known as the “nice non-binary persons” of the Pac-12.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow. That’s exactly what she DID say! [Later today you’re gonna be taken offline for hacking into Folt’s computer]…


  6. Bringing Ed O back?
    Then we should bring Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian back after him if it doesn’t work out.
    Years later we’ll get Pete to coach us again. We shouldn’t try to reach back to our past or any familiar characters in my opinion. We need someone who is knowledgeable about USC’S expectations/history and what it’s become under the current guy.
    The opposite of Clay but I stay away from the Carroll tree.
    Unless…….It’s someone who has yet to be head coach or interim.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s Folt’s plan, Sam. Ed in 2022. Followed by Lane in 2023. [Steve will bring up the rearguard, so to speak, in 2024].


      1. That’s Weird…….I swear that’s what your wife said as I ran out the house after I gave her a “Back Rub”.

        It was no back rub😂😂👊


      1. Absolutely. He’ll fit right in at Clown U. The man needed one first down to cinch a Penn St. RB victory and choka, choka, choka, choked the game away. The man should have been Kiffied at the RB.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Owns,

        Happy New Year.
        On the real though, I think UCLA had the best team in the PAC 12 last year; they should’ve beat Colorado, USC, Oregon, and Stanford. Until the Bruins learn how to win and close games- even if Kelly has them going, nothing will change.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’d love to trade coaching staffs with Arizona State, Arturo. Herm’s team is always prepared for war.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. When Helton was the Interim I was hoping some of the talk of John Harbaugh magically leading SC would be a reality soon or later. Not Jim.
        John. Who knows how much interest there actually was but we didn’t get him or anyone for that matter being dealt Clay Helton.

        Since then I had hoped for Dave Aranda. We let him slip away after his Defense punched SC in the Holiday Bowl against Wisconsin. Helton didn’t even interview him for the DC. He became the highest paid DC in CFB 2 years later. Now the coach at Baylor, struggling at the moment but being a Redlands guy it might have worked.
        I don’t knew who is left.
        Kris Richard?
        Luke Fickle?

        Liked by 3 people

      5. He would be on my list of guys to sit down with for sure.
        I always thought he was made for the college locker room. He would certainly bring defense back to USC. Heck, that’s pretty much what it will be when the next guy is hired. Tough, disciplined and plays defense. Everything Clay Helton stopped doing at USC. Norton might be a good candidate. He already knows the area/conference and what USC football means to CFB. I would take him now that I think of it!

        Liked by 2 people

      6. I thought Herm Edwards age was an issue at this point in his career enter the college game. He was at ESPN for some of his better years. He’s smart and I like his personality but I would of rather have Herm Edwards immediately after he was fired from the NFL.
        I thought Franklin would be a solid hire but not a home run hire. I still think Penn State was brought back to life with O’Brien and even before that the Sandusky thing didn’t effect their roster as much as everyone thought it would
        and PSU wasn’t in bad shape when he took over. So I wasn’t crazy about him, but to his credit I think his coaching at Vanderbilt was impressive and that’s what caught my eye with him.
        I don’t know Arturo, I’m thinking Norton might be the perfect fit more and more now since you mentioned him.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. He would be on my list of guys to sit down with for sure.
        I always thought he was made for the college locker room. He would certainly bring defense back to USC. Heck, that’s pretty much what it will be when the next guy is hired. Tough, disciplined and plays defense. Everything Clay Helton stopped doing at USC. Norton might be a good candidate. He already knows the area/conference and what USC football means to CFB. I would take him now that I think of it!

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Thought I’d ruin a perfectly good bowl of Cap’n Crunch this morn by catching up on the latest helton hijinks, most notably how he’s using a psuedo studio to sell recruits in lieu of actual on-field development. In a regrettably bizarre way I can understand how his lack of actual football acumen has forced him to pitch some non-football fluff to naive teens. The thing I don’t understand is how the university is allowing him to pitch the psteudio and the upcoming name/likeness potential like a used car salesman. Deception is an understatement. To wit:
    • When the pr honchos decide to send out O. Griffins tweet on the wire, talking about how his “numbers” are trending up, and not so subtly inferring to the desperate and/or uniformed 16/17 y.o. (and families) that big money is there to be had if you play for clay, they should also note that being Warren G’s kid might skew those numbers higher than your avg joe/john/jim. Or,
    • When K. Foreman states “It was like I’m the King of Hollywood,” Foreman said. “It’s everything that people talk about wanting to have. I couldn’t be the only one that was drooling when they talked about the numbers.” it makes me wonder if they mentioned that when the name/likeness thing kicks in, you won’t be the only option for paid sponsors to choose from… you’ll be one of thousands competing for whatever money gets sprinkled into this advertising option. Mucho supply means any fantasy rates demanded (and dubiously presented to prospective recruits) will be driven down. Ad rates drop the more ad space is made available. Not too mention the effect playing on a so-so team in an afterthought of a conference has on what an individual player can command. Lastly, the whole Hollywood thing is completely meaningless when it comes to socmedia. Using this year as example, Gatorade wouldnt give two shits if Slomis is geographicly closer to the Hollywood sign than Mac Jones.
    Anywho, just another sad misdirection from a once proud university that used to be able to rely on on field results and individual player dev.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Coach Greg Olson. WC offense, loves TEs and H-backs, relates well to young athletes, is competitive and intense, has always developed talent well, has lots of NFL experience as well as lots of college experience. Bienemy could be a good choice. And Bill O’Brien who I was pushing and totally not surprised was chosen for OC by Bama. Herm Edwards I’ve long advocated for. I can’t believe someone mentioned Franklin. smh

    Liked by 3 people

      1. He’s 60-28 with 3 Bowl wins and 3 Bowl losses. Biggest problem is that he can’t beat Ohio State. He only has 1 BIG10 Championship. He once was “the chosen one” now, not so much.


      2. Ohio State is the USC of the Big 10. To even make PSU competitive post Sandusky is more than admirable. (I know, O’Brian was first after Senile JoePa) and this can’t be understated. He also won at Vanderbilt in the SEC. Franklin is smart and a good recruiter and would kill it at SC. Besides, he has personality and is Black.


  9. You left out the Board of Bustees. They’re doing backflips, they are so happy. USC never misses a chance to miss a chance. That’s why they are a mediocre team and probably always will be. They are like todays america. A small amount of rich people run it. Screw the rest of the people. SC is like that. A small amount of educational elites run everything. Screw all the fans. My advice is don’t go to the games. Hit them where it hurts…….in the pocketbook.
    Money talks……everything else walks.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. A cardboard cutout of Ed Ogeron would do a better job at HC than C&H.

    Any serious coaching interview process would work. I keep thinking about when the Rams did their coaching interviews to hire McVey as an example of doing it “right.”

    Now that UM is off the board, pedigree should not matter. Get a coach who knows the fundamentals, has vision, a fire in his belly, and can instill buku discipline …and we should be fine. And ditch the air raid (I would book that under ‘fundamentals’ though).

    Sigh. But we all know Folt’s master plan and the BoT’s all-too-obvious gender-neutral strategy to take USC football down. Bohn will either find another mediocre coach after we underperform next year at 7-5, or he himself might walk if he doesn’t get to do so (unless he is simply paid too much to take the arrows… don’t have a read on his character to make an adequate assessment). Bohn’s track record of retaining C&H after all the evidence in front of him and at the perfect opportunity to change doesn’t lend itself to a vote of confidence though…

    Until then, any real USC Trojan die-hards should continue to simply vote with their feet. It’s the only real recourse. Turn the Coliseum into a tomb on game day… any television pans over the crowd won’t lie…

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Scooter,

    Why haven’t you written about the men’s USC basketball team. They are looking very good, with fluid motion, and great defense. Too bad that you aren’t because this board could use some cheering up. Besides you are4 missing a gret team.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Speaking of fluid motion, it is exactly the thing that could invigorate the offense. I mean who didn’t notice how Sark capitalized in his use of Devonta Smith and Najee Harris by putting them in motion and getting them started before D could set. About the only time I saw any motion was when ASB started in motion on jet sweeps- the D knew where the ball was going which rendered it useless. Motion, motion, motion.


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