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

USC coach Clay Helton’s forte is firing assistant coaches.

But the addition of offensive line coach Clay McGuire adds the finishing touch to an unmistakable characteristic of the present USC coaching staff.

There are now 10 coaches with ties to Texas.

  • Helton went to high school in Texas.
  • Offensive coordinator Graham Harrell grew up, played and coached in Texas.
  • Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando coached at Houston and Texas.
  • Special teams coach Sean Snyder went to high school in Texas.
  • McGuire is a Texas native who also coached at Texas Tech and Texas State.
  • Running backs coach Mike Jinks grew up, played and coached in Texas.
  • Safeties coach Craig Naivar is a native Texan who played and coached in the state.
  • Tight ends coach John David Baker went to high school, college and coached in Texas.
  • Graduate assistant Stanton Keane went to high school and college in Texas.
  • Quality control analyst Seth Doege went to high school and college in Texas.

Why do I highlight this? It’s not to say the coaching staff can’t get things done or recruit. Although Donte Williams seems to be racking up most of the commitments.

The worrisome part for any staff can be that it becomes too insular. There isn’t exactly a lot of geographic diversity on the USC coaching staff. Also, who stands up to Harrell or Orlando? Most of these guys were hired by the duo and are just thrilled to be in Southern California.

That probably means no one stands up to Helton, who has always preferred “yes men.”

  • If you want an example of creative tension, back in 2000, defensive line Ed Orgeron got so mad once at then-linebackers coach A.J. Christoff that Orgeron punched a hole in a dry-erase board mounted on the wall that was next to Christoff’s head . The good old days!
  • Derrell “Turk” Marshall, an offensive tackle at USC in 1988, passed away from a possible stroke/heart attack. Marshall also played at Bakersfield College and Woodson High School in Washington, D.C.

Marshall was recruited to USC by Ted Tollner, who envisioned Marshall as a defensive tackle. Larry Smith, then at Arizona, recruited Marshall as an offensive tackle. When Smith replaced Tollner, he had Marshall play offensive tackle.

  • When you think of the excesses of Larry Scott (his $5.4 million salary, the $7 million for office space in San Francisco), it’s a far cry from the early 1960’s. Back then the conference occupied a small second-floor office on Geary St. in San Francisco that consisted of the commissioner (Tom Hamilton), the public-relations representative (Tom Hansen) and a secretary.

In those days, the Pac-12 was known as the Athletic Association of Western Universities and consisted of USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford and Washington. Washington State joined in 1962 while Oregon and Oregon State joined in 1964. It became the Pac-8 in 1968.

  • You can blame Larry Scott for many, many things. At the same time, Scott could blame USC and Clay Helton for making his job tougher. If USC were playing at Pete Carroll Era levels, Scott would have had less pressure defending the Pac-12’s relevance.
  • Does it matter that neither USC nor UCLA are on the search committee to replace Scott? The presidents of Washington, Washington State and Oregon are on the committee. UCLA president Gene Block shows little interest in sports while USC president Carol Folt seems more interested in cheering on a team than actually making sure it is properly run. Both are probably happier to sit out a search.
  • Why hasn’t Folt announced an investigation into whether a trustee was involved in securing a pardon for a Varsity Blues parent? She often talks about integrity so how about showing some?
  • And now for some history:
  • If you went to Monahan’s bar in Pasadena in the 1970’s, it was not unusual to see O.J. Simpson and Lynn Swann there hanging out. The pair were part-owners of handball courts, which were popular at the time, down the street from the bar.
  • Here is another example of a Hall of Fame injustice. The College Football Hall of Fame inducted former USC player Mike McKeever but not his brother, Marlin.

Mike was a one-time All-American. Marlin was a two-time All-American and had a 13-year NFL career.

  • Here’s a newspaper promo from the 1961 USC spring game that featured ex-USC players in the NFL vs. the current varsity.
  • Note that early in his tenure, it was common to refer to John McKay as “Johnny.” Marv Goux used to call him “Jack” to get under his skin.
  • One thing I could add about Jon Arnett is that he was never shy to express his opinion about USC football. It didn’t matter who the coach was, if standards/performance fell, Arnett let it be known, even early in the McKay era.
  • Here’s an example of why none of the 1961 varsity wanted to play against Marlin McKeever in that spring game.

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

  1. The “yes men” characteristic was something that Pete Carroll implemented, especially during the last half of his USC tenure. He wanted young USC assistants so he could have an iron fisted control over the program. Heritage Hall then adopted it in its administration of the athletic department.

    Helton is a “yes man” to HH, not the guy wielding that kind of power.


    Liked by 2 people

  2. In the mid 60s Marv Goux and other assistant coaches used to coach youth football in West Covina. That is to say they came out and assisted with the practice, they weren’t actually the coaches. However that didn’t stop the League from investigating Marv for recruiting violations.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Orgeron got so mad he punched a hole in a wall.” Oooh. Big deal. Raider Coach Tom Cable would break the jaws of his own assistant coaches….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “UCLA president Gene Block shows little interest in sports”

    Block shows no interest in anything. No energy or ambition. He is just waiting to retire. Worst prez in the Pac-12.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How would you know ’67, you’ve never been to a real Univ. Even ’67 can fog a mirror.

      Sixty-seven went to SUCC to get laid and didn’t.

      “Is it true,” ’67 pledged to multiple bozo fraternities so he could act dump and stupid all the time?


      1. ownsie, you’d be surprised who I know. Give an obvious counterexample if you think I’m wrong. Better yet, get back to your concord grape wine. Somewhere it is happy hour.


      2. My dear friend Owns — 67 is the guy who (while justifiably hating the ‘bruins as bruins’) always (well, almost always) treats the individual players on this site (of whom you are one of the stars) with respect.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That Shakespeare fellow is still very relevant, despite what all those English depts say that are cancelling him.


      4. JustOwes&Owes, your landlord is starting to notice the empty vodka bottles piling up and the stained carpet. So put on our Dolly Parton wig and your pink slippers and get rid of them.


  4. Liked by 3 people

    1. Obama holds the record for the largest single-day use of the clemency power, granting 330 commutations on January 19, 2017, his last full day in office. He also issued more commutations than the past 13 presidents combined.

      Yet, who cares and why would it matter if a Trustee lobbied for one? The ultra rich still get their kids into the top schools. I am sure USC has a bar that can be reached to get your kid into school. It isn’t a million. Its probably $100M.


      1. It’s okay jacksonf42 — as Scott always says “anything that stirs up trouble is welcome under any topic anytime…”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think Obama mostly commuted sentences of petty criminals who were incarcerated for minor offenses like selling MJ, etc.

        Pardoning rich donors–as Billy Clinton and the Bushes were fond of doing?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. After a few years of wandering, the Clintons settled on a tough but understandable approach to the exercise of power—grant clemency to donors…..and kill potential embarrassments before they became actual embarrassments… (Ron Brown, Jeffrey Epstein, et al).

        Liked by 1 person

    2. You have to hand it to Andyain’twinning, he dodged a game he was bound to lose and then, surprise, surprise, he announces the positive test was false – LOL. SUCC is paying Andyain’twinning millions of $$$ to win, not avoid tough games with BS, loser excuses.

      Doc Tyndall must be in chg. of bozo BB program CV-19 protocols.

      #ooooooooooooforever and proud of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! We do hand it to Andy! Couldn’t be prouder of this scam!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. It seemed like the whole world was watching baseball in 1974 when he hit #715 off of Al Downing. Hank didn’t really look like a HR hitter, he didn’t have the overdeveloped body, but he could generate bat speed like nobody’s business.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Wow. Thanks, Pudly. Great to see and hear these all time greats reflecting on what it was like to try to strike out Hank Aaron……

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh Henry!
        Don’t forget #44 had a rifle of an arm and was a talented RF.
        Henry was known for generating great bat speed with whippy wrists and great hip follow-through.

        He also got 3 or 4 tries against a starting pitcher.
        The players of today see the starting pitcher twice, then 2 or 3 relievers…….

        Growing up hours north of LA, a trip to Dodger Stadium was a special event for me. Saw #44 and the Braves once when I was 10 years old. Every time #44 came up to bat, the fans would chant, “Oh Henry.” He did not disappoint, taking some poor Dodger pitcher deep in the 7th or 8th inning. It was the only excitement in the whole game.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Braves, Dodgers 1959 playoff game goes extra innings. Wally Moon singles to right and stretches it into double ahead of Aaron’s throw. Moon’s audacity ignites the crowd and blows Vinny’s mind. The Dodgers cash Moon in for the win; then mug the White Sox in the WS. Those crumbling mausoleum 1959 LA attendance records will never be exceeded.

    RIP Mr. Aaron, you were the man with much dignity.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Memo to: MG and ’67

    Thank you for the invitation. I however must decline. It’s not the company I object to, it’s just I’ve not tasted alcohol in 3+ decades.

    The absence of alcohol has been good for me.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. …and I reserve the Bourbon for rare events–like an epic Trojan victory.
      Fortunately for my liver, there have not been so many epic Trojan victories these past 10 years.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Great news, Owns. [btw, They have some pretty spectacular fruit drinks here. Check out the menu for Mama’s Fish house –all those drinks go down just fine sans the vodka].


  7. The PAC 12 sees that USC has fallen on hard times and did not invite them on the selection committee. However, it would have done no good since Dolt cant’ enforce anythig at SC, why would she enforce and help find a new commissioner. The next commissioner will be worse than Larry Scott.


  8. I am hoping and praying that they elect a Chinese transgender midget to run things. They will talk kumbia and how great things are with the PAC 12. They won’t have any solutions on how to regenerate a broken down tv contract and to increase revenue. The PAC 12 will fall further into not being relevant.


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