USC-Notre Dame Report Card

Here are the grades from the USC-Notre Dame game:


Kedon Slovis look decent (27-37, 299 yards) but the problem is he doesn’t make those plays that get you where you want to be. You can blame it on the Air Raid or offensive line but the impact plays are not happening. And then he didn’t spike the ball.

Grade: D+


USC actually tried to run the ball and had success. I bet this irked Graham Harrell, who prefers to throw and it wouldn’t surprise me if Donte Williams asked for more running plays.

Grade: B-


Drake London caught more passes (15) than the rest of the team combined (12). Has USC developed any other receivers this season? It doesn’t seem like opponents need to worry much about anyone besides London.

Grade: B


Some people have tried to make excuses but the line is a disaster whenever it face adequate competition. Did you notice senior Jalen McKenzie replaced freshman Jonah Monheim on the third series? Donte Williams tried to say they held their own against Notre Dame. Ask Slovis how he felt? The first play USC couldn’t block three rushing linemen and gave up a sack.

Grade: D-


These are the games where your big players step up and I thought Drake Jackson was fairly quiet. The much-praised Tuli Tuipulotu had two tackles.

Grade: D+


USC is so average at this spot I never feel like they are going to make much difference in a game. As much a recruitment of offensive line gets criticized, what’s happened to the linebacker recruiting?

Grade: D


Chris Steele had an interception but was about the only highlight. Donte Williams hasn’t enhanced his reputation with his coaching of the corners this season. And don’t forget safeties coach Craig Naivar, who hasn’t made Isaiah Pola-Mao better. It was a rough game for Xavion Alford too.

Grade: D+


Do we blame special teams coach Sean Snyder for the missed field goal and extra point? He’s been pretty free of scrutiny for two seasons.

Grade: D


The end of the first half was inexcusable. Graham Harrell is overrated to say the least and what does the Air Raid do inside the 20-yard line? Remember how the fanboys were so excited about Todd Orlando getting hired? They went silent since then. Donte Williams might be trying hard but it seems as if he is over his head.

Grade: F


36 thoughts on “USC-Notre Dame Report Card

  1. Let’s not kid ourselves, across the board from the coaching search as far as frontrunners being mentioned to the performance on the field to the coaches to the players, everyone with the exception of Drake London, the grade point average is…


  2. It’s safe to say that James “Milk Toast” Franklin has taken himself out of the running to be the Trojans next head coach after having shit the bed this past weekend when he and his Nittany Kittens lost to a crap Illinois team in 9 OT’s.

    Here are the lowlights of that pathetic performance if you can stomach watching it…


  3. I give Slovis a solid B. Had he slung the TD to Drake at the end of the Q2, he would have earned an A. Great tackle on the tip int, BTW.

    O-line: C to D on pass protection, B on Run game

    RB: A-. The ND defense is still solid–ranking #18 by FPI. The RB’s achieved 5.5 YPC and tough yardage, as the longest gain was 22yds. I can recall a play or two where the RB did not pass protect well (on a 4 man rush).

    WR: A+ (Drake), C+ (the rest). I don’t see down-field blocking like Steve Smith, Robert Woods, Dwayne Jarrett used to do.

    D-line: D. No sacks per se (-2 yds by Drake).

    LB: incomplete. I really don’t know who is an LB, who is a rover, who is a nickle safety?
    Drake Jackson had a pretty good night if he is an EDGE/OLB.

    DB: Solid B.* Gave up ONE PASS PLAY OVER 20 yards. Plenty of good pass breakups and tight coverage without a ton of PI calls.
    Lots of tackles on run plays. A nice INT which Mike Tirico thought was a “simultaneous” possession. It wasn’t Mike. The penalty by Alford was classic USC/Helton football. Gonna take a while to get rid of that stuff. IPM has not gotten better and likely will not earn much time in the NFL.

    I think Orlando improved the product after getting scorched in the first Q with ND’s “up tempo” offense–smart move by BK and Tommie Rees.
    I think ND earned 150 yards in the first quarter, and 220 in the final 3 quarters.

    D coaching: F–Q1, B+ Q2-3.5, NG for the last drive–I think the D was gassed and ND willed the game clinching drive.

    O coaching: C. Improved run game, mediocre pass game. Lousy, pedestrian red zone coaching. Poor clock management in Q2, but two nice, quick, long drives in Q4. Too little, too late.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s funny that Harrell hasn’t considered doing something radically new inside the 15 yard line. One would think the indifferent performance of the offense ALL season long (except or the “brief, shining moment” when Dart took over) in the Red Zone would have triggered some innovative thinking.
      Triple option? Wildcat? 15 players on the field?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Michael,

        A pop warner offensive cordinator could do better. Down in the red zone, you run power, two fullbacks, tailback, two addtional tackles. Very simple, very basic, but very dangerous. You will score.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Could it be that Donte is under orders NOT to score? Has someone misinformed Bohn that we’re in the running for top draft choice if we lose the rest of our games…


      3. We need to remember that taking the ball over center “just isn’t us” according to haughty harrell. I watched The Huddle on On3 today and all four participants talked about the failure of SC in the red zone as far back as Darnell. Helton’s ghost lives on.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Helton could easily see his offense was for shit in 3rd [and 4th] and two …or goal to go… situations. Was it pure laziness that stopped him from adding a few wrinkles?


  4. Don’t worry about LB or OL recruiting. USC recruits WR’s!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s a bit more complex, marvienna —I think even Helton understood the need for an O-Line and Linebackers. His problem was NO ONE any good wanted to work under him as a position coach. And every highschool kid could either see that for themselves or were told about it by other schools’ recruiters. The problem got worse because the 5 star receivers & quarterbacks who DID come to USC only came [or stayed] to build impressive stats on what they knew was going to be a fundamentally weak team.
      The blame for this mess falls on the weak shoulders of the Athletic Director — you know, the same guy everybody is now hoping will pull us out of this mess.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Bohn is the same guy you made Donte the Interim Coach — a great recruiter, but no head coaching experience– when he could have and should have promoted Jinx to the interim head coach, a man who had been a head coach and had experience. This shows a lack of critical analysis and lack of ability to think forward. It is not a good omen to think he is on the committee to hire USC’s next coach. He has already shown his bad judgment with keeping helton longer to destroy deeper and wider. Now, he places a tyro as interim head coach. I’m powerless to make the changes I would, but I’d start with firing folt and bohn. They are as criminal as haden and swann in the decay of USC. And by the way, those foolish puerile videos are just fun for the teenagers, but not putting points on the score board. Get rid of them and put the money into good coaches.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Carra — No decision by Bohn demonstrates what most people would call ‘exceptional judgement’. No action he’s taken demonstrates strength or independence…..


  5. Williams is like a substitute teacher, the team knows he’s not staying so they do what they want. You could say the whole staff is like a sub, the players know none of them are coming back.

    Poor Drake London, just saw a mock draft and they had him going to….. DETROIT !!!

    Dave Aranda or bust, anyone else won’t fix this mess.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Do you think Carol or Mike really WANT to go with somebody like Aranda?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Grades NBC Broadcast of the game.
    Golden Homers announcers: C- Just a little too biased for my tastes.
    Replays : D -Poor graphics not needed after every play.
    Halftime: NM- I went to Walmart because I knew it would bore me
    Commercials: F- I have not purchased one item offered during the game in fact I cannot name one product advertised during the game.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. The PAC12 is not a credible source for sports programming. If it were, more providers would carry it. I give it an F
        As for the banality of the blabbing baboons I overcome that by listening to the radio. There’s a delay so I pause the TV for a few seconds and I’m good to go.
        I grew up listening to games on the radio because of the limited number of appearances on tv each team was allowed. If the radio bothers you, you can get my mother in law to talk during the game. It’s still better than Yogi Rust.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Most of this mess this year is due to Mike Bohn adding resources in the wrong places. Remember, he led the search for the new Assistant Coaches who all have turned out to be a disaster when in reality he should have fired Clay Helton, and let the new head coach choose the assistants. The well is dry now at USC in a number of different areas. I think it is best that Mr. Bohn step down, and let the new AD hire the head coach.

    The point is if Bohn can’t hire good assistant coaches how in the world is he going to hire a high quality head football coach. The decision to keep Clay Helton around too long was obviously a poor decision, and at some point after two years here at USC you have to produce some results, and bring in revenue for the athletic dept. Paying top buck for a Women’s Basketball Coach at a salary that is way above the market value in a program that produces very low revenue is another mistake. In fact, yoocan bet on it that Coach Gottlieb will be soon Coaching in the WNBA maybe as son as 2022.

    Mr. Bohn you have often said the football program is now moving in the right direction. You have added some new resources, but those types of changes don’t win football games.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If Bohn is lucky and smart,

      He gets lucky hiring the right coach and the coach hires his assistants. If John gets involved with hiring the assistants, then that will cut the legs of from the head coach. As far as I am concerned, Williams will be lucky to be retained. the corners are burned day in and day out.


    2. Bohn came in after Harrell’s first season with USC, so he didnt hire GH. But he did allow Helton to keep GH and paid GH more money to stay.

      The core problem with USC is the air raid offense and GH. Bohn should have recognized that fact and allowed GH to get a better offer elsewhere and take it.

      from an internal politics perspective Bohn wanted to show that he had given Clay every chance to succeed before firing him. it wasnt the smart way to manage this program, but maybe was the only way he was allowed to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think Slovis was way better than a D+, he deserves a C+ or even B-, keep in mind he is playing behind a sometimes porous o-line.

    How do the wide receivers deserve a B as a group? London is the only one who really does anything good. Epps barely held onto one nice reception, but lost the second one that he should have caught. But these other receivers just dont get open enough and dont inspire confidence in their pass catching. With Drake on the field, teams are doubling up on him, so there should be other receivers open. My receiver grade is a C-, because even though London is an A+, the lack of other receivers to target is unacceptable.

    Running backs deserve a better grade than the receivers group. Keontay deserves an A-.

    O-line was all over the board in this game, but they probably get a D+, as they got better in the second half. Getting better at punching holes for the run game, but the pocket is collapsing in on Slovis way too much. The OTs can seem to keep rushers from executing a pincher move to close the pocket on Slovis.

    Defensive line deserves C, but linebackers deserve a D-. So many of the issues are directly a problem with the linebackers. Mauga was burned numerous times in coverage and missed tackles and is just not making enough plays. Alford got burned numerous plays.

    Tight ends deserve a D- for just not even factoring into the game.


  9. I disagree about Slovis. I don’t think that he is playing bad at all. Even his Line coach said that he just is not getting that much time. They were getting to him with a 3 man rush against ND.


  10. Slovis is an above average QB……….the offensive line, and this air raid offense is making him look worse.

    Who’s decision was it to bring the air raid offense to USC which was a huge mistake. Answer: “Uncle Fester”- Clay Helton.
    No question if you run the air raid, and you want to move the in the red zone ball you need a dual threat QB.


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