USC’s had two offensive linemen drafted in the first round the past two seasons and the offensive line was still a weak spot for the Trojans.
What does that tell you?
You can blame former offensive line coach Tim Drevno (like Clay Helton and Graham Harrell). I was pretty critical of Drevno while he was at USC, but I don’t blame him for the past two seasons.
I blame Harrell. His Air Raid is the reason USC couldn’t run the ball consistently, couldn’t run in short-yard situations and couldn’t protect the quarterbacks the past two seasons.
Did Washington State run the ball successfully when Mike Leach was the coach? But people think new offensive line coach Clay McGuire, who worked under Leach, will solve the line’s woes?
- It’s stunning that Austin Jackson and Alijah Vera-Tucker were top 20 picks and USC couldn’t take advantage of that talent. There’s no Jackson or Vera-Tucker on next season’s offensive line so what will happen?
It’s sad that even USC has talent, it cannot utilize it properly. Harrell doesn’t like to run and probably doesn’t know how to run. Even if he tries to this season, will it work given his background?
- The Jets plan to play Vera-Tucker at left guard. New York officials/coaches had him listed among the top 10 players on their draft board. Imagine how much he will flourish now that he doesn’t operate in an Air Raid offense.
- Is there really a new culture at USC this spring if around 40 players were out with injuries, etc. this week?
- Linebacker Raesjon Davis of Mater Dei was named MVP of the Trinity League. He signed with USC and will enroll this summer. I give him credit for staying in high school and playing his senior season.
- Former USC defensive tackle Caleb Tremblay will transfer to Tennessee. Tremblay made his decision a lot quicker than linebacker Palaie Gaoteote, who has still not announced what he will do. Former USC kicker Chase McGrath is already at Tennessee.
- If you read the song girls stories the past week, you probably came across the name Mike Munson, associate director of recreational sports at USC. You might remember his brother, Eric Munson, an All-American baseball player at USC and No. 3 pick in the 1999 amateur baseball draft.
- Former USC basketball player Jacki Gemelos, 32, is an assistant coach for the New York Liberty of the WNBA.
- Former USC basketball player Kevin Porter Jr. became the youngest player in NBA history to have at least 50 points and 10 assists in a game Thursday night when he went for 50 and 11 in the Houston Rockets’ victory over Milwaukee. No one ever doubted Porter’s talent, the question was always his attitude and maturity. He might have done more for the Rockets in one game than he did for USC in a single season.
- Kim Mulkey signed an eight-year contract at LSU that will start at $2.5 million and end at $3.36 million in base salary per season. Mark Trakh made around $300,000 at USC. Who wants to win more?
- The long-awaited celebration of band director Art Bartner’s 50 years at USC will be this Sunday. It will be a virtual celebration but the prices are not virtual. A “Gold Patron Sponsor” costs $100,000 and includes a private-catered dinner with Bartner and up to eight guests. The cheapest ticket to the virtual celebration costs $100.
- Pete Carroll, Mark Hamill and John McVie of Fleetwood Mac are among those who are expected to appear at the virtual celebration.
- And now for some history:
Who remembers Gypsy Boots?
When USC held its bonfire rally the Friday night before the historic game vs. UCLA in 1967, he was a special guest: “As an added attraction. Gypsy Boots, one of the original hippies and a local health faddist, will appear, lead some yells, do his gypsy fire dance and sing “Fight On,” the Daily Trojan said.
“Al Simon, in charge of the rally, said that “Fight On” is one of the songs recorded by Gypsy in his new album, “The Unpredictable Gypsy Boots.” Gypsy has promised to bring a couple of go-go dancers with him.”
Boots was also known for ringing his bell during games. He originally went by Figaro Boots. He went to all the home games because he loved the USC marching band. And he got free tickets from the Knights or the Sigma Chi fraternity.
- Whatever happens with the NFL Draft this weekend, it won’t match 1953, when USC had 15 players selected. The draft went 30 rounds back then.
USC tailback Al Carmichael (pictured in 1961 alumni game), who was taken with the seventh pick by the Green Bay Packers, was the top Trojan pick. Others selected included running back Jim Sears, QB Rudy Bukich, guard Elmer Willhoite, tackle Charley Ane and defensive back/fullback Jim Psaltis.
- Eleven years ago, seven USC players were selected in the 2010 NFL Draft. Defensive lineman Everson Griffen was the 100th player selected. Where would Griffen go today if that draft was done over?
- Willie McGinest was the fourth-pick overall of the 1994 NFL Draft. McGinest wore No. 55 at USC and the following year, linebacker Israel Ifeanyi wore No. 55. “I have one thing to say, he better take care of that number,” McGinest said before the draft.
- McGinest has become of the guardians of No. 55. He called Steve Sarkisian and expressed his displeasure with Toa Lobendahn being allowed to wear No. 55. He also complained to Clay Helton when Helton tried to switch Cameron Smith to No. 55 after his freshman season. And his watchful eye is probably why no one is currently wearing No. 55.
I’ll have more later today in the USC Friday Notes Column Supplement, which you can get by signing up for my newsletter.