Are the walls slowly closing around Clay Helton or will he have some more lucky escapes like last season?
Will depth issues take a toll on the Trojans? Will the offensive and defensive lines be the luckiest coach in America’s undoing or will skill players bail him out again?
Here’s one thing: Is Arizona State ever going to live up to its hype? If it does, then Helton has a real problem.
It would be interesting to poll people who worked at USC under Helton (not just assistant coaches) but the rank-and-file staffers who put the blood, sweat and tears into the program without the extraordinary compensation.
I bet most of them are not rooting for him to succeed this season.
- You know it’s bad when even some USC players complain that the coaching staff only seems interested in players from Texas.
- The over/under for USC regular-season victories is 9 from SportsBetting.ag. DraftKings lists USC at 8.5. These figures come more from USC’s easy schedule than anything else.
- USC will join BYU, Kansas, Tennessee, North Carolina State, Wisconsin, Butler and Dayton in the 2022 Battle 4 Atlantis. The tournament is held the week of Thanksgiving at Atlantis Paradise Island in Nassau, Bahamas.
I’d like to see USC play anyone but Kansas, since the Jayhawks are the one marquee program that seems to always play the Trojans.
- Former USC offensive line coach Tim Drevno is a candidate to be offensive line coach at UNLV.
- You can bet former USC assistant coach Johnny Nansen, who is at UCLA, already contacted defensive tackle Jay Toia. Nansen recruited Toia to USC for several years.
- An athletic dept. source tells me it’s sometimes a rare sight to see Mike Bohn. I thought that was only a Lynn Swann problem.
- If new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff wants to score some points with fans, he better find a way to make the Pac-12 Network accessible before the USC-San Jose State game on Sept. 4.
- Does Colorado-Minnesota playing at 10 a.m. PT on Sept. 18 on the Pac-12 Network seem like a great move? How about Washington State-Utah State at 8 p.m. on Sept. 4 on the Pac-12 Network?
- Only in the Pac-12 would a school like UCLA have its “Spring Showcase” Thursday at 9 a.m.
- I hear Cal State Los Angeles considered hiring Michael Cooper or Reggie Theus as an assistant coach for its basketball program. I can’t think of a worse move based on how Cooper (USC) and Theus (Cal State Northridge) did in their most-recent college jobs.
- Oregon State men’s soccer player Gloire Amanda won the Hermann Trophy for the nation’s top player but was not the Pac-12 Conference player of the year. That’s sort of like offensive guard Marvin Powell being in the College Football Hall of Fame but not the USC Hall of Fame.
And now for some history:
- USC basketball coach Forrest Twogood picked football games for the Los Angeles Herald-Express in 1958. Can you imagine Andy Enfield picking football games for a local paper?
- Here’s an announcement you won’t see today:
- I wrote about the Trojan Barrel and Carl’s restaurant the past two weeks, so let’s mention a popular hangout that many of you will remember: California Pizza and Pasta Co./502 Club.
It was located in the University Village and known for its good pizza and popular bar. It was also a go-to buy for football players/athletes and was close to Heritage Hall.
Nose tackle Rich Dimler nicknamed the bar “the 502 club” in the late 1970’s after the drunk driving violation number. Wide receiver Erik Affholter told me he used to go there and drink with the football assistant coaches after practices.
In 1980, the pizza was rated No. 1 in a KRLA radio survey and in 1982 it finished in first place in a Los Angeles Herald-Examiner reader poll. The restaurant and bar were recognized by Playboy in 1983 as one of the “hot spots around campus.”
Since I mentioned Dimler, here he is sacking Oregon State QB Steve Smith in 1978. Dimler had 10 tackles in this game.
Now this is a USC basketball team.
Here’s a practice from 1978, where you have Cliff Robinson (44) jumping against Doug Widfeldt (43). And there’s Don Carfino (42) in the middle, next to Barry Brooks (24) and Purvis Miller (42).
Did you know the Trojans were ranked No. 12 in the Associated Press preseason poll and No. 11 by Sports Illustrated in 1978?
- With linebacker a position of my concern (in my opinion) for USC this season, I’m going to indulge myself and again run this photo of USC linebacker Willie Hall.
Hall was the team MVP in 1971, quite an accomplishment for a defensive player. He was all-Pac-8 when there was only one team and just three linebackers selected. Hall was on five All-American teams (AP, UPI, Sporting News, Time, Football News) and led the team in minutes played in 1971. He was a team captain. He was player of the game vs. Notre Dame in 1970.
Is he in the USC Hall of Fame? Nope.