If you listened to the Petros and Money show on Thursday (live from Downey!), I decided to break a little news during my appearance.
I mentioned that sources at USC told me Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell is interested in the USC job and clearly the frontrunner in the coaching search.
There has been a lot of speculation that Fickell and his family do not want to leave Ohio but my sources said Fickell has indicated he is open to moving to the West Coast. This does not mean it is a done deal but it seems the odds are good barring some breakdowns (which at USC is always possible).
- A celebration of former USC fullback Sam Cunningham’s life will be held Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. at Santa Barbara High School at the football stadium. Attendees are asked to wear Cunningham, Santa Barbara, USC or New England Patriots gear.
- Did you see Arizona State fired its radio sideline reporter Jordan Simone on Thursday after he went on a podcast and said, “These players don’t even realize that they’re being coached so poorly . . . They’ve been coached out of a championship.”
No worries about these type of remarks ever being made on a USC radio broadcast. Besides, I’ve always believed the Trojan players knew they’ve been poorly coached.
- I wrote a lot about USC’s pathetic attendance last weekend. And how you cannot compare figures from past decades. I remember one time Mike Garrett was furious at the official attendance for a USC-Notre Dame game at the Coliseum and wanted a revised figure announced to make the crowd even bigger.
- Now that Donna Heinel is supposed to plead guilty in the Varsity Blues scandal, it leaves former water polo coach Jovan Vavic as the biggest figure with an unresolved fate. It also means, apparently, that Heinel is not giving any of her superiors at USC at the time.
- According to the L.A. Times, USC freshman linebacker Raesjon Davis cannot redshirt because he has played on special teams in every game. Davis has played defense in only two games. Talk about coaching malpractice on wasting his initial season.
- How is USC women’s volleyball under .500 (10-11) and coming off being swept by Washington State? The incoming recruiting class, which included four transfers, was ranked No. 4 in the nation by Volleyballmag.com.
- Has any football coach ever had his entire day chronicled on social media like Clay Helton’s arrival at Georgia Southern. I can’t get enough of it, including the large group of fans who greeted him. That wouldn’t happen at USC.
- I’m glad to see he is happy. And so is his wife, “Miss Angela.” The last time I saw her was when I went to have lunch in Long Beach with Doug Krikorian. By the time I noticed her at the next table, Doug had already loudly given his opinion of Clay Helton. Doug stopped but it was too late. She decided to leave.
- I asked a Pac-12 coach Thursday how Helton landed on his feet so quickly? “Well, it’s not the Oregon job,” the coach said.
- This quote below takes the cake.
"When you bring accountability and discipline into play, that's when you win championships"— Connor DelPrete (@WSAVConnorD) November 5, 2021
1-on-1 with @GSCoachHelton, where the 'nicest man in CFB' tells me how he wants to shed that label when it's time to put his foot down @WSAVBlitz
FULL CONVO -> https://t.co/YEuMEJI6RJ pic.twitter.com/GFZfhCqw1J
- And now for some history:
If you thought Helton’s introduction was a little too enthusiastic, look how low key things were in 1959 when athletic director Jess Hill (standing) announced Don Clark (left) had resigned and would be replaced by John McKay.
During the press conference, the “Trojans” banner fell off the wall.
“I hope this is not indicative of ‘SC’s football future,” McKay said.
- In 1974, USC had senior linebackers Richard Wood (the first three-time All-American in school history); Dale Mitchell (USC defensive player of the year in ’74) and Ed Powell (All-Pac-8 in ’74).
They were replaced in 1975 by David Lewis, Mario Celotto and Clay Matthews.
“They’re all great hitters,” McKay said. “If they weren’t, they couldn’t play here.”
“Coach McKay called Celotto and Matthews the best pair of freshmen linebackers he’s ever coached and that’s saying something,” USC assistant coach Don Lindsey said.
Lewis, a JC transfer from San Diego City College, led USC in tackles (90), tackles for loss (12) and fumble recoveries (4) in 1975.
Those were the days.
- If you want to say the 1975 team was just 8-4, they were undefeated (7-0) and ranked No. 3 in the nation when McKay announced he was resigning and going to Tampa Bay.
“McKay announced the Friday before we got on the bus to leave for Cal that he was leaving to go to Tampa. That’s all anybody talked about even in the locker room before the game,” a key player on that team told me.
“The coaches were more worried about their jobs and they coached like it.
“After (McKay) made that announcement he checked out.”
USC lost to Cal, 28-14, which had star QB Joe Roth and tailback Chuck Muncie. The Trojans then lost three games by a total of seven points to Stanford, Washington and UCLA.
“We had a bowl practice and McKay wasn’t there and the ball boys said he was asleep in his office,” the player said. “We said (forget) it and didn’t listen to him after that. Even when he was at practice, he wasn’t there. We played for ourselves.”
USC defeated Texas A&M, 20-0, at the Liberty Bowl.
- At halftime of the 1975 Liberty Bowl, Miss America (Tawny Godin) came out on a float.
Godin became better known to Southern Californians as Channel 7 anchorwoman Tawny Little from 1977-92.