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

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.”

The 502 Club in 1985

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.

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

  1. Leaving a school like USC is a strange decision especially when they had you penciled in to start. It will be interesting to see where he choose to go. What school could draw you away from USC when you are scheduled to start. Hard to understand.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I remember being in the 5-0 and was somehow in an conversation with Jack Del Rio, when he was with the saints. He desperately wanted to go to the Raiders. It was probably 1985.

    Loved the bars back then. The 5-0, 9-0 and 3-2.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 32 saloon?

      Turned 21 on a weekday night, and there was no one else–just about–at the 32.
      Friend and I emptied their Jack Daniels supply while throwing endless games of darts. Had to finish up the night with some Wild Turkey. Near the end we’re throwing darts from our knees. Microbiology at 8 the next morning was pretty ugly.

      Loved the 32 saloon

      Liked by 2 people

  3. My wife told me I must make a positive comment today. So…I’m positive Helton should be fired. I can say this not only based on his record of blowing big games or his record of not surrounding himself with assistants willing to challenge his assumptions, but the exodus of players is disturbing. He can blame this on anyone he likes but in the long run he is the one to blame. Players should be able to talk to their coach and smooth problems out. Helton seems to like to say, “don’t let the door hit you on the backside on your way out.
    Is there a transfer portal for coaches?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. May want to let Mrs Rialto Trojan evaluate your prose before you send…

      BTW, there is a transfer portal for coaches and it ordinarily involves buyouts in the bazillions* of dollars. Some kids do well in the portal, some do not. ALL COACHES do VERY WELL in their portal.

      *10 to the ungodly power

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Nicely said. [btw, I suspected Helton staffers wasted “tears” on Helton….but Scott now reveals some have actually lost “blood”]….

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Rialto,

      You could have been more positive be saying he is one of the worst coaches SC has ever had and don’t let the door hit him on the way out.


  4. Rich Dimler- was a great defensive lineman– great leader out of Bayonne, NJ. Tough as nails, and played hard on every down. He was one of Marv Goux’s favorites. Sadly, I heard he passed away at a very young age.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. No question, Dimler was a great Trojan — but I hope he wasn’t really about “to sack” Oregon State’s QB in the photo above since the ball has clearly already left the QB’s hand……

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Actually I see a crushing strip-sack on it’s way from Dimler!
        (I think the FB is still in Smith’s hand and he’s likely pump faking it, hoping for some “clemency.”)

        No clemency from those USC D-lines. Ever.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. 67 –If only Gavin Newsom could’ve been satisfied with a slice of pizza and a tall root beer (instead of quail in white wine w/figs at the French Laundry), he probably wouldn’t be in the fix he’s in…..

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ha! Or commiserating with parents whose kids are in zoom school when his kids are at in person private school. And this was after the French Laundry caper.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Aw, you guys!

        You missed the obvious solution to his problems…. declare a budget surplus of billions and send the taxpayers (voters) a check.


        Liked by 3 people

      3. Ha! The voting public expects a certain degree duplicity from their elected leaders —but I guess there are still limits…

        Liked by 3 people

      4. If the dems were smart (I know, then they’d not be dems) they’d send newsome to India and keep garcetti in LA

        Liked by 2 people

      5. If the dems were REALLY, REALLY smart —they’d find a way of sending Newsom through time……. to battle Morlocks…

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Pudly — Do you think the checks are meant to influence voters? [I once read about politicians who do things like that]…..

        Liked by 2 people

      7. Nah. In a state that’s run on deficits almost forever, suddenly finding billions and sharing it with the public (as a refund) during a recall is quite normal. No fishy smell here.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Thank God! That’s what I was hoping, Pudly. I’m relieved to hear it’s all on the up & up..

        Liked by 2 people

  5. If George Kliavkoff wants to make me happy he needs to go to your house Scott & throw away whatever ONtv/ SelectTV box you have connected to your CRT & help you log on to the Pac-12 Network wirelessly like the rest of modern society.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Trump couldn’t stop shoveling tax payer funds and tax breaks to the wealthy, and still, he lost the election to Sleep Joe. Trump, what a loser.


      1. Luckily we won’t have any of those limitations on democracy anymore….

        Liked by 2 people

  7. The Pizza at the 5-0-2 WAS excellent–deep dish an sopping with buttery goodness…. and loaded with toppings. The bottom of the box would leave a nice greasy ring on your car seat.

    It was good enough that I got my boss at LAC-USC med center hooked on it.
    Send me–the broke Med Student–down to the 5-0 with a coupla’ $20 bills when we were on call at Big County. I think I drove by 250 pizza parlors on the 10 mile trip from the General Hospital. Got us through a 36 hr shift at “the Mecca.”

    The Aussies athletes loved the 5-0 during the ’84 Olympics. A friend of mine was still living around campus that Summer and hanging out there, per usual. Evidently the Aussie athletes would get hammered at the 5-0 and chant (of course) Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oye Oye Oye.


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Bourbon,
      As a very young prosecutor, I remember going into some L. A. Hospital with a basement FULL of caged, mentally unsound inmates. Some were screaming. Some were throwing feces and/or urine bottles at each other. It was like a scene from a Dickens novel. Was that basement located beneath L. A. County Hospital?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There WAS a weird subterranean life beneath the mega-lith that was LAC-USC Med Ctr: at 3500 beds in the 80’s, the largest (and most decrepit) medical center in America.
        I never watched the show Ben Casey, MD, but evidently the opening sequence shows a handsome young doctor hastily pushing a gurney down a long corridor–which evidently was the underground passageways at LAC-USC. How dramatic.

        However, the scene above you are describing sounds more like the “jail ward.” All the dudes who required medical care prior to trial–ie, healing from stabbings or gun shot wounds–were housed in the heavily fortified 13th floor of Big County. We all avoided the Jail Ward, if possible.

        There was also a separate Mental Illness hospital on the grounds–a 300+ bed old Cuckoo’s nest a few blocks down the street from the Big Hospital. Probably could get from the Big Hospital to the Psyche Hospital via the underground passageway. I’m sure a young prosecutor may have had to head down there to see if a perp was “sane or not.”
        The conditions were so horrific that most perps faking it likely admitted to their sanity just to get OUT of the Nest.

        The Staff at LAC/USC? The best. You had to love your fellow man to work there.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Bourbon. I remember being driven by my investigating officer to this place at like midnight and being fairly horrified at what was waiting there for me. It could have been the 13th floor —for some reason I remember it being in the basement, though. After listening to the screaming and dodging a couple of urine bottles thrown through the cage bars, I recall thinking, “I’m glad most people can go about their lives not knowing this terrible place exists.”

        Liked by 3 people

  8. Great lineup in Atlantis for Thanksgiving.
    Great tester for USC MBB progress.
    Winning half of one’s games early in the season with that competition would be
    a fair result.

    (yup, tee’d it up for Owns. Apologies to the rest of you.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who recognizes Owns’ contributions. Now if we could only get Arturo back…..

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Michael, Arturo lost it in a rant about us being racists (over pretty much nothing, and nothing that had to do with racism) several months ago. Haven’t seen him since that time. I remember that you thought it wasn’t even written by him, it was so over the top. Would love to have him back. Nothing here to take very seriously – USC sports and a few laughs with a bunch of guys who know a ton about USC and its sports history (not me, but the rest of you guys are stacked with that).

        Liked by 3 people

      2. 67 – what a great reply [but I’m afraid I have to disagree with the part about your not knowing a ton about USC sports & history —quite the opposite is the case]…
        Too bad about Arturo, though. If that last reply was really his it would mean he lost that wonderful perspective that made him ARTURO….

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Arturo knows we love and respect him.
        I’ve never met a teacher for whom I didn’t have bountiful respect.*
        Arturo will be back when the Trojans finally tee it up in September.

        *See…trying hard not to end my sentence with a preposition. Had great teachers!

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Yeah! The Arturo I know wouldn’t flip out cuz somebody disagreed with him —he’d write a fair and reasoned response.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. There used to be a gouy on this forum who owned a chocolate factory, won it by being good to ompa-loompas. Some say he kicked the bucket. We miss him too.


    1. Ha! Or having the key to Vince’s or Gary’s apartment (in the same general area) when they were out of town. Full fridges…. comfy beds… and you could tell your girlfriend it all belonged to you….which is harder to do with a Motel……

      Liked by 2 people

      1. P. S.
        A lot of the Daily Trojan guys would lend me keys to their places when they went home for the holidays. I wasn’t at school when Scott was at the Daily Trojan …but I like to think he’d lend me his key if I had been….

        Liked by 1 person

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