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

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?

Gypsy Boots in 1979

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.”

Gypsy Boots in 1967

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.
Willie McGinest

I’ll have more later today in the USC Friday Notes Column Supplement, which you can get by signing up for my newsletter.

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

  1. The picture of the post= the 1961 alumni game played during the pandemic of the 60s. My older brother went to that game and came home with autographs snd a chin strap.
    I was surprised to see in the paper that a former Bruin was taken in the first round. It wasn’t until I read the piece that I realized Jaelan Phillips wasn’t really a Bruin. He played football at Miami. The funniest part was the way it was written. “He medically retired from football at Ucla after he suffered several injuries and a coaching change.” Everyone at Ucla is suffering from that coaching change. ( but not as much as the multiple coaching changes at USC).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Off topic.
    Yucaipa High Baseball with 9 kids committed to D1 Schools but I see the Shortstop Caiden Huber is actually gonna be a Trojan.
    How did I miss this?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. How does a single school get that many D1 kids without recruiting? That’s crazy. We have 10 high schools with 1200 plus kids where I live and there might not be 9 D1 baseball kids in the whole league.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Alabama players are shit once they get to the NFL. A very few exveptions.

      You would know that if your head wasn’t so far shoved up your ass.


      1. karma –tebow is full of shit 75% of the time —no, make that 85% of the time —actually, make that 95% of the time…..


    2. No way Clay would make it through a full week —-by Wednesday he’d be telling the Alabama players he “loved ’em & would like to neck hug ’em” and Saban would kick his ass outta camp “on basic human decency grounds.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Saban would be doing a favor to Clay by dismissing him from school early.

        And as far as ‘Bama grads performing in the NFL, there is Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, Calvin Ridley, Kenyan Drake, Amari Cooper, Derrick Henry. They seem to be doing ok. And there are another 60 or so on NFL rosters, who presumably would be out of the league if they were trash, as Tebow believes.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. We could all learn a great deal from studying & imitating (to the best of our ability) the life of Gypsy Boots……this is especially true of President Folt.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The smile was a result of all those protein shakes…. and a good old fashioned love of life (that would serve a lot of people well nowadays)……

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “You boys better start blocking in the second half of I’m gonna make you go to class next week”


    Bama, 62 NFL players, $900 million cap space, #1
    Golden Bears, 26 NFL players, #842 million cap space #2


    Liked by 3 people

    1. “You boys better start blocking in the second half of I’m gonna make you go to class next week and take away your cars and diners club cards..”

      There ya go kal, fify.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I couldn’t help noticing you left out the “cheerleaders” part of the threat, Pudly…..

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You make it sound like there’s the option of playing players and fixing grades here at USC…
        I’m pretty sure that that option has long been gone, but then you know that.
        Dufus answer


      3. One problem: Clay doesn’t believe in Saban’s approach…


  4. Scott Wolf you are very correct it is the air raid offense which is the main cause of the poor USC running game in recent years, However, having 1 good offensive lineman each season does not cut it as teams attack the other weak part of the line, and don’t need to worry about USC running the ball any longer. You are also correct that USC does not understand the running game because all the assistant coaches came from pass happy offenses. You would think if Bone and Helton had any brains they would try to recruit a coach from a program that runs the ball. The poor running game is the reason I picked USC 3rd or 4th in the Pac 12 South this year behind ASU, Utah, and probably UCLA.

    In memory of Gypsy Boots– he was one of a kind there will never be another one like him. I use to also see him at Raider home games when they played in Los Angeles

    Liked by 3 people

    1. True, tommyd —it’s easy to handle ONE very good o-lineman….

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Scooter,

    Your Friday Column Notes are just interesting and amazing. Your best bet would be to write a book on all that you know and what has happened at SC. It could be a tell all and it would show how the program was and is run. I would even open up my wallet and by one.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. 67 —
        The islands seem so sane compared to the area I left: The Bay Area (particularly, Berkeley). Bricks flying through store windows on Telegraph. Naked guys walking into comic books stores I took my kids into. People sleeping in the middle of crowded streets (during the day).

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Michael: I noticed you live in Hawaii……..I use to live at the Whaler on Kanaapali Beach…. Those were the days especially having drinks and great food at Longhi’s, playing pick up basketball at the Lahaina rec center with Magic Johnson who use to live part of the year in Napili.

    Stay away from those tiger sharks, but not the Mai Tai’s and Wahine’s…. Halloween use to bring some wild wahine’s over to the island.

    Mahalo! Perhaps, if Clay Helton is fired he will move to Molokai to invest his time with the entire leopard colony.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. tommyd— Cool memories! But guess what? The ‘pandemic’ has really messed with all the great places you mentioned. Longhi’s is closed. Most of the really great bar and grills have closed, actually. Whaler’s Village is not the wild & wonderful place it used to be. [But Halloween is gonna be outta this world this year I hear]!
      P. S.
      The leper colony has petitioned the governor to keep Clay off Molokai ….”out of consideration for their health.”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. One of my favorite pictures,that ’61 spring scrimmage( I got to attend) with my fav trojan player Al Carmichael,that ’52 team and ’53 Rose Bowl winners, dominated nfl draft, like SC used to dominate track and field in college and olympics.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Michael: Sad to hear Longhi’s is closed, but good to hear Halloween is still big in Lahaina. I hope to go back this year in October to refresh the memories of living 3 months a year in Paradise.

    Use to know Chris Lassen the tremendous marine artist. I still have many of his paintings that I purchased from his gallery in Lahaina. Chris Lassen=Unbelievable Talent.

    I also hear the Kapalua Bar and Grill is now closed. Use to love the food, women, and view overlooking all the islands over the golf course.

    Perhaps a Tommy’s Hamburgers would make it in Lahaina. It’s a unique place, and those chili burgers are still awesome after all these years.

    Maui may change some, but you can never take away the beautiful, clean water and tradewinds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Beautiful clean water and tradewinds.” And rainbows and palm trees. And kind people.
      But we COULD use a Tommy’s —I still remember eating those great chili burgers with Public Defenders after trials! Best dining experience in Los Angeles!


  9. Tommy’s #1 could go right there on the corner where Longhi’s use to be in Lahaina. No. 2 could go in Kihei, and No.3 near the airport in Kahalui. The tamale’s are very good also.

    The chili at Pink’s hot dogs does not compare to Tommy’s.


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