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

Here’s some notes and quotes as USC goes another week that led to some questionable image making for the program.

  • You would be shocked at the ridicule I heard this week from other college coaches/personnel that USC had to hire an interim equipment manager for the season because it could not successfully find a permanent candidate.

“It’s not a job the public cares about but it’s important to the program,” a Big 12 coach told me. “It’s negligent they couldn’t find someone to do it. It impacts the players. I view it as one more thing Clay Helton can’t do properly.”

USC is obviously one of the biggest programs in the country but also assumes a Mickey Mouse mentality at times.

  • I hear Arizona State is not currently worried Coach Herm Edwards is in danger from the current NCAA investigation.
  • If you want to relive some Sam Darnold games, today is the day on the Pac-12 Network. You can watch USC play Western Michigan at 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. PT; Texas-USC at 7 a.m./9 p.m.; USC-Washington State at 10 a.m./11 p.m. and the 2017 Pac-12 championship game at 6 p.m.

Of the games above, I remember how the Western Michigan game was a real tipoff that USC was more vulnerable than imagined.

  • Jeff Kearin, a grad assistant at USC from 1991-94, is the new football coach at Taft High School in Woodland Hills.
  • And now for some history:
  • Here is a photo I’ve never seen before of Rod Dedeaux and Joe DiMaggio at USC. This is not the legendary 1951 game at Bovard Field between USC and the New York Yankees where Mickey Mantle hit the alleged 615-foot home run. It looks more like the early 1940’s. The USC uniforms are similar to what was worn in the late 1930’s.


  • I have to love this headline above. Alas, it refers to swimmer/water polo player Paul Wolf in 1938
  • Let’s appreciate Wrigley Field, which was only 2 miles from USC. Today it is gone and the site of the Gilbert Lindsay Recreation Center at 429 E. 42nd Place.

It was best known as the home of the Los Angeles Angels. But Pepperdine played its football games there in 1948 and Manchester United played Hearts in a soccer game in 1960.

It was also the site of Pro Bowl practices and photo shoots.

  • Here’s some NFL royalty with Colts legends Johnny Unitas and Lenny Moore, former USC and Rams star Jon Arnett (26) and 49ers running back J.D. Smith in Los Angeles for the 1960 Pro Bowl. 
  • Wrigley Field was demolished in 1969.
  • Former USC safety C.J. Pollard, is an assistant football coach at Serra High School, his alma mater. Also an assistant is his father, former USC safety Marvin Pollard.
  • Marvin Pollard was involved in an infamous onside kick in the 1991 USC-Notre Dame game. The Trojans scored to cut the Irish’s lead to 24-20 with 1:50 remaining.

USC then tried an onside kick. The ball hit a Notre Dame player then the ground and Pollard fell on it. A game official signaled USC recovered. But then another official came over and ruled Notre Dame’s Irv Smith recovered the ball. USC coach Larry Smith came on the field to protest and the Trojans received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

USC was already angry because Notre Dame scored a TD even though Tony Brooks fumbled before crossing the goal line.

“You hear all this talk about the luck of the Irish,” Pollard said. “It makes you wonder.”

  • And here is our restaurant of the week: Bishop’s Cafe in 1938, which was near the Shrine Auditorium.

  • And here is restaurant No. 2. McDonnell’s (not McDonald’s) in 1941, which was on Figueroa St. and what is now Martin Luther King Blvd.


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

  1. Watching some of the old USC games on the Pac-12 Network sucks sometimes because the games are edited down. They try to cram a whole game into one hour and cut out alot of the downtime (time between plays). It’s a terrible experience.



    Liked by 4 people

      1. A true sports fan can sit through the whole game. If you can only sit through “No Huddle” clips or 1 hour game replays then please give back your sports fan card.



  2. Good we can re-live Clay Helton struggling against Western Michigan, nearly losing to unranked Texas, and losing to Washington State. Bohner should watch this 2017 Clay Helton Greatest Hits collection (along with blow-out losses to Notre Dame and Ohio State). Maybe he’ll be inclined to give Clay another extension.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Wrigley Field was a great PCL Baseball venue. My father took me to many games there, especially during the year Steve Bilko hit 56 homers for the Angels.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. wow , I actually was able to like something you wrote…I too (only on tv) watched the Angels games(maybe chnl #11?) incl Steve Bilko 56 homers, our local Babe Ruth,and Gene Mauch, ‘the rifleman’ Chuck Connors’ and many others …Hollywood stars,and San Diego Padres were other PCL locals, as I recall…1 step below the majors.
      Glad you had a dad that would do that for you,and with you.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Mr. Leftwich, baseball has always been my first love sport. I use to watch the ABC/CBS Saturday Game of the Week with Dizzy Dean and Buddy Blattner religiously.

        However, a MLB game TV broadcast in B/W didn’t/couldn’t compare with the first time my father took me to a PCL game a Wrigley Field – an experience I’ve never forgotten.

        The colors of the crowd and field were so vivid, the proximity to the game wondrous. I was a pretty antsy child, but that day, my limited senses were over-served.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can relate to being a kid amazed at all the color greeting you as you emerge from the tunnel into the stadium. It seems like yesterday (yeah, I know it wasn’t) that my dad and I strolled into the coliseum for a Ram/Bears game —the grass seemed so green, and the fans all seemed to be wearing blue, red or yellow. [Oh, yeah —the great Jon Arnett ran wild that day & the Rams won]……..

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This equipment manager debacle can be seen a couple of ways. My hope is that they are signaling the end of the Helton era by offering a one year deal. The problem with this theory is that the position isn’t a coaching spot, it’s a university spot. They don’t always get canned when the coaches leave.
    Unfortunately another (and more likely) scenario is that they are penny wise and pound foolish (the original saying makes more sense because the dollar ain’t worth much) They don’t want to pay someone to account for every piece of equipment, home and away, that they pay for. Scott paved the way for this feeling by mentioning a prime real estate gaffe USC has allowed.
    Again unfortunately it might be that Clay the Cat doesn’t know where his kitty litter comes from. “I thought the guys brought their own gear, like I had to when I was on dad’s team.”
    Can you imagine Helton was at Auburn? He was on the team before transferring to dad’s team. He remembers the team as Aww-burn because every time he threw a pass in practice it would drop like a stone and the other real quarterbacks would yell “aww burn.” He didn’t have the guts to tell them the straps on his training bra ( given to him by the equipment manager) were getting in the way of his throwing motions.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m thinking Emmerts and company give ASU and Herm
    a tiny, friendly swat on the fanny (American “fanny”, not Brit)
    and roundly “scold” them whilst offering a little winky winky on the side.

    Bringing in recruits during the World’s most lethal pandemic in a century?
    No biggy to the current NCAA.

    Step-dad renting a condo while making a sleazy deal with a lifetime loser?

    Emmerts et al are done with this $#!t.
    Read his statement this week.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Chuck Connors the “Rifleman” was a very good baseball player in the Dodgers minor league system. Probably would have made it to the big leagues if his acting career had not taken off. Played against his son Mike Connors who played at UCLA, and he was an ok hitter, but not pro level.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. If remember correctly – the Western Michigan vs USC game – the best moment and highlight of the same was Jake Olson first USC game getting to into the game the long snapper on extra point in 4th Quarter – that was awesome and memorable I will not forget. Fight On.


  8. The Dodgers considered using Wrigley Field when they came to LA in 1958, but decided on the much larger Coliseum has a temporary home. The Angels actually did use Wrigley Field in 1961, before taking up residence for four years in “Chavez Ravine,” as they called it.
    Wrigley Field was also used as a movie location, most notably for some of the baseball scenes in “Damn Yankees!”
    I was too young to ever visit this LA landmark, but I do remember the first time I visited the original in Chicago. A ballpark, defined by city streets, with limited parking. It was 1979, and there were still no lights. I was amazed at how green the field looked, a sort of urban oasis, and also how close the upper deck was to the field. I imagine the Cubs will be there forever.
    A nice place to visit, but of course I prefer Dodger Stadium, now in its 60th(!) year.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The problem at SC seems to be a lack of management competence. They spend a ton on the recruiting department, but seem to have a message that doesnt resonate. Sure, they threw a great party for those guys, but they didnt focus on how to convince them that the coaching issues are now resolved and they are developing their players.

    And they cant seem to convince local talent to come to USC. The recruiting advantages for USC are epic. So for players to shun it, they have to totally NOT believe in the coaching staff.

    We are now at that point where if they dont catch a little bit of positive momentum soon, it will shift in the other direction and everything will fall apart. The only way to turn this around is to prove it on the field, and that has never been a Helton strength.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Any non QB or Wide Receiver recruit who has seen Helton on tv [looking like the hillbilly lady played by Shelly Winters in Pete’s Dragon] is probably not coming our way.
      [And the QB’s and Receivers all have to decide whether they want to play for a talented but aloof know-it-all (Harrell)….. who would never be welcome inside anyone’s system other than Helton’s]….


  10. USC Upper Management-Bohn, Folt, Caruso need to give Clay Helton- An Ultimatum. 10 wins or we will have to make a change. Ticket sales are dropping, athletic dept. revenue is sinking downward we need a big season or else. Your annual salary does not match up well with your current winning percentage.

    Uncle Fester-Clay Helton has had it too easy. This is USC not the University of Memphis, or Houston where you came from. Pac 12 South, or conference 2nd place finishes will not bring the fans back. We need to make the playoffs, or a major bowl game to stabilize our athletic dept., and athletic heritage.


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