Morning Buzz: USC Needs To Clear Up Coaches’ Status

Why is there a trickle effect on the status of the USC coaching staff?

There should be an announcement by USC that Lincoln Riley is getting rid of everyone. That’s what Hall of Fame spokesperson Tim Tessalone should be doing.

Instead, defensive line coach Vic So’oto announced on his own that he is out. Clay McGuire went to Washington State. We don’t have a clue officially about Graham Harrell, Donte Williams, Todd Orlando and Co.

There’s a right way to do this instead of a piecemeal approach because I bet if you go into the McKay Center right now, there are some empty offices where assistant coaches were working last week.

  • There are bitter and angry Oklahoma fans who have turned their sights on USC since it hired Lincoln Riley and they have an intensity not seen in the Pac-12.

That said, this clip they unearthed is cringeworthy, starting with Mike Bohn introducing the No. 1 fight song in the nation and the band playing Tusk.

Bohn then yells at Riley, “It’s Tusk!”

As some note, it resembles a Saturday Night Live skit.

P.S. — Is Bohn calling the song girls “song program?”

41 thoughts on “Morning Buzz: USC Needs To Clear Up Coaches’ Status

  1. The USC way is to inform no one, let the coaches do it themselves.

    Anyone else gag over the ” Hall of Fame ” for Tessalone ?

    This is USC these days.

    Longtime USC sports information director Tim Tessalone was pulling into a parking spot at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House in Manhattan Beach when he got the call last Sunday morning.

    Tessalone, who has overseen every media and public relations aspect of the Trojans’ athletic department since 1984, is retiring at the end of this year.

    He knew Sunday could be a busy day, with USC in the midst of a coaching search that was bound to intensify as college football’s regular season came to a close, but he wanted to get breakfast with his daughter before she left town.

    When Tessalone picked up his phone, USC chief of staff and senior associate athletic director Brandon Sosna was on the line with shocking news: Lincoln Riley would be the Trojans’ next head coach.

    “I said, ‘I’m going to have breakfast,’” Tessalone recalled on Monday afternoon after USC officially introduced Riley. “Had breakfast, went home and started cranking away at all the stuff we had to do to get ready for this. Because it wasn’t really on my radar, I didn’t know how to really react.

    “I had written a bunch of bios of coaches, and not Lincoln. So that was not on my radar. I was pretty flat-lined when he told me. … That one came out of left field.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim didn’t know it would be Riley cuz Bohn himself didn’t know it would be Riley. Riley is at USC cuz Riley decided to be at USC. Now, Folt and Bohn are trying to take credit & get in on the act….and, as usual, they’re embarrassing themselves and anybody within 1000 feet.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. To that point………..

        As USC battled a top-15 BYU team last Saturday inside the Coliseum, Sosna paced around the athletic director’s suite.

        On the televisions inside, Bohn and Sosna watched attentively as Oklahoma and Oklahoma State went down to the wire in a rivalry game that seemed destined to be decided by as little as one bounce.

        USC had its sights set on Riley. The Sooners needed a win to reach the Big 12 championship game for the fifth consecutive year. Bohn and Sosna needed Oklahoma to lose in order to expedite their pursuit of Riley.

        “I will say watching that game was one of the more excruciating experiences of my life,” Sosna said. “Obviously, we didn’t know which way this would go but certainly knew that there were possibilities. So I think when you just think about it, intellectually, if Oklahoma wins that game we may be in a different outcome. That’s sports. That’s life. Things just happen on the margins. It’s about timing, and luck could be such an incredible factor.”

        USC’s administration had prepared for this — not Riley specifically, but the moment it hired its next head coach — for almost two full years. Bohn was hired in November 2019 with three weeks left in the Trojans’ regular season, and the widely held assumption was that he would fire then-coach Clay Helton, who was in the middle of yet another mediocre season.

        Bohn immediately became a target of frustration for USC’s fan base when he opted to keep Helton, whose buyout made it difficult to move on at the time, and invest resources into the program’s support staff and recruiting structure. Fans were more concerned about change at the top than small infrastructure victories.

        “I understand that could have been frustrating for people,” Sosna said, “and I think we’ve all observed a number of programs that just seem to believe the answer is consistently hire and fire and hire and fire without recognizing that, much like an NFL coach with a general manager or ownership, that alignment, resources and support are critical. So there was a process, there was a build. Did we expect that this would be the outcome? No. But in everything that we do, it’s about increasing the probability of getting to a successful outcome. The program that we have today versus what we had two years ago simply gave us a better probability to achieve this outcome.”

        In past coaching searches at Cincinnati, Bohn and Sosna divided candidates into three categories. One bucket was reserved for coaches they were confident were interested in their opening. A second one consisted of attractive candidates they weren’t sure they could land. The third was comprised of coaches who expressed interest.

        USC vetted dozens of candidates in this search, and Riley sat atop the group of coaches the administration wasn’t sure it could pry away from their current job. “We call that Tier Zero,” Sosna said, “and he was No. 1 in Tier Zero.”

        Bohn and Sosna say Riley’s name first came up between them as far back as 2014, when Sosna was an intern under Bohn at Cincinnati. Riley was also among their list of candidates during Cincinnati’s 2016 coaching search, when he was still Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator.

        “He didn’t take our call,” Sosna said. “At the time we didn’t know he was a few months away from being the head coach at Oklahoma, which made a lot of sense.”

        Star freshman quarterback Caleb Williams tore off a 56-yard run to get Oklahoma to the Oklahoma State 24-yard line. After three throws to the end zone, two of which were nearly caught, the Sooners faced a fourth-and-10 at the 24. The pocket collapsed, Williams was sacked and the futures of two blueblood programs were about to be dramatically altered.

        “It sort of felt a little bit like Ender’s Game,” Sosna said. “When Oklahoma State won that game, it sort of felt like, ‘Hey, the enemy’s gates are down. Let’s go get it done.’”

        After USC’s loss to BYU went final, Bohn and Sosna went back to the office and worked through the night, trying to set up a meeting with Riley via video conference.

        The Trojans’ administration had done an impressive job of keeping their interest in Riley quiet. The Zoom interview on Sunday morning was another step toward that.

        “Anytime you try to do something in person with timing, it could be problematic,” Sosna said. “More people have to get involved. The Twitter flight tracker guys are going to be problematic potentially. Again, I think the biggest threat to anything like this is word getting out. With somebody like Lincoln, their resume speaks for themselves in a lot of ways. I think, again, it’s a risk calculus, and you just have to assess each individual situation and make the best decision that you think is going to positively affect the outcome.”

        By Sunday afternoon, Riley had officially accepted the USC job.

        “The whole time in the back of your mind, you’re like, ‘Is this really happening?” Murdock said. “A coach is leaving Oklahoma, a blueblood and going to another blueblood. All the years we have been able to laugh off any kind of Bob Stoops-to-Notre Dame or Bob Stoops-to-Florida, we spent so many years telling people, ‘People don’t leave places like Oklahoma. … It doesn’t happen that way, folks.’ Then it happens. That was my kind of, ‘Oh, crap. This is going to change everything moving forward.’ We’re never going to be able to just discount any coach going from one school to another.”

        Liked by 3 people

      2. A magnificent after -the -fact description of how Riley fell in their lap. Yes, they knew they had to jump once Oklahoma lost and knocked itself outta the playoffs —but they didn’t PLAN that loss. It happened…and we lucked out.
        Best thing for them to do now —get out of the way…and let more good things happen.

        Liked by 5 people

    2. “Because it wasn’t really on my radar, I didn’t know how to really react.” I guess we now know who was leaking all the behind the scenes info over the past 40 years…


  2. As mentioned earlier, Bohn has already used up any goodwill garnered from this hire. It’s becoming more & more obvious Bohn is the Tidy Bowl Man — waving from his toy motorboat as he propels around the the toilet bowl. Riley came to him –he didn’t land Riley. By continuing this pathetic show Bohn demeans both the team and Riley. Stop embarrassing Lincoln with your clown show, Bohn. Let him go about his business —while you stay safely in your office with the door closed —which is what you do best.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Maybe he left for this. Since I have been following USC Football:
    1973 USC 7 OU 7 (Thanks Again Haden)
    1981 USC 28 OU 24
    1982 USC 12 OU 0
    1988 USC 23 OU 7
    1992 USC20 OU 10
    2004 USC 55 OU 19

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Being honest they probably expected the band to show up at the last minute. The band isn’t too happy to be competing with a disk jockey at games. Anyway, one or two of the coaches may stay until the end of their contract. Their position may change, Harrell can carry the play book, maybe suggest a play or two, which the adult offensive coordinator will know not to use. Orlando will probably have a job setting up the tackling dummies, his most recent experience tell us he knows a lot about tackling dummies (some are already in the portal)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Orlando & Harrell are poison. Reminders of the most disastrous season in USC football history. It’s critically, vitally, supernaturally important the incoming players don’t have to see their faces on the sidelines. Nothing good can come from it.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Are we allowed to be silly again?

    It has been told that Wiley Riley and the Missus were none-too-pleased with Beverly Hills home prices

    Wiley commented that back where he was raised in Mulefoot, a town you can walk through in less than a minute, he paid $50,000 for a home–
    and they threw in 75,000 square feet for his back yard.

    Then, when in Norman, Oklahoma, that same house was $500,000
    with a 50,000 square-foot yard

    Now he is in Beverly Hills and learns that that same home is $5-million–
    with no back yard. Back yards are extra, he is told

    The Missus Wiley is of course in a feminine rage, who wouldn’t be?– But she knows it is too late to back out of the SC-deal, so she will shop at
    Neiman Marcus instead.

    Please do not tell the Missus that Neiman Marcus does not exist anymore. She has had enough bad news for one day

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bohn’s behavior reminds me of the obnoxious drunk at a party that makes a fool out of himself – embarrassing himself and others, all the while completely clueless.He’s not going to increase his windfall cred one bit at this rate either.As for Sooner fans – you landed Brent Venables (who I would swap for Riley if I had to) so quit yer snivelin’. You’re gonna be “OK.” Stop punching down and worry about that big chunk you bit off that is the SEC.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I don’t think Oklahoma traded up coaching-wise — but I agree it’s time for them to stop crying about what’s happened over the last 2 weeks….


  7. Mike Bohn= Cal Worthington- ” Go see Mike when you buy a used car” This is the type of show you put on at a Used Car Lot. Mike, your a small town guy LA is not Lawrence, Kansas, and USC is not a Used Car Lot.

    Watching Carol Folt dance to Tusk is like watching Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies shop on Rodeo Drive. Sorry Carol dancing is not your thing especially when dancing behind the beautiful USC song girls.

    Instead of putting on a show Mike Bohn needs to sell some tickets this year by putting a great USC football product on the field.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bohn: Lincoln, I’ve got a great idea for a dance routine —with me, you, Carol, Song girls — it’ll be a blast and a half.
      Lincoln: Mike….. can you just….die?


  8. Got nothing to do today– clients can just wait. I have one last doodle to lay out before retiring:

    If you have not heard, on the Street they are talking like this:

    “Hey bro, I made it to SC– full scholie. Full ride, man!
    Yeah, yeah, you don’t have to tell me–
    SC, the land where 5-star athletes go to die
    But this is different, man, they got this big-time coach coming in
    Look, look, I know you hate SC…..yeah, yeah– I get it
    You wouldn’t go to SC if they paid you. Big-time school, ha.
    Right, right– heard it all before
    Look Einstein, I gotta go
    You see, SC has this National Championship plan in place
    And I am dying to be a part of it.”

    -Carry on


  9. Who will stay on Lincoln Riley’s football staff?

    1) Graham Harrell- NEW QB Coach and Assistant Offensive Coordinator-Passing Game.
    2) Todd Orlando- Gone…………..probably to Georgia Southern
    3) Keary Colbert -Gone as Wide Receiver Coach
    4) Mike Jenks- NEW Running Back Coach
    5) Donte Williams- Still to be determined. DB Backs Coach and Recruiting Coordinator
    6)Sean Snyder- Gone as Special Teams Coach

    The questions remains is who is going to be the new defensive line coach. Wouldn’t that be something if Ed Orgeron returned which is unlikely especially with that new hot young girlfriend he has.


      1. Only you MG could come up with a response like that. No wonder everyone on this blog looks up to you and says, “MG, where do your super-powers of observation come from?– they are beyond earth’s powers.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I would not be surprised if he kept on Harrell as PG coordinator. But can he really afford it? Bedenbaugh will likely be co-offensive coordinator.

      Get rid of Donte Williams. He’s shown nothing as a DB coach and, honestly, there are other good recruiters out there. (But they do need someone from CALIFORNIA and not Texas.)


  10. Reading comments here, yikes. You guys sure do like kicking rocks. I’ll be back after signing day, hopefully you will all be a little more optimistic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Riley is fantastic —but he needs to get the biggest name possible for O-Line coach if he expects to grab the line recruits who now avoid USC like the plague. Beyond that, even the greatest coach in the world can’t change a fucked up university culture —and that’s what Bohn and Folt represent…. in spades.
      I couldn’t be more happy we snagged Lincoln Riley….but I’m worried about the deadweight he’s surrounded by.


  11. LOL who really contacted Riley’s agent in September. If you think this thing happened over nite … I have a Gomer Helton Handbook for Football to sell you.


  12. God help us if Bohn didn’t make it clear that Opie has to go. Also, Riley should understand, this is LA, USC– we need some SC guys on staff, and that includes folks with connections to coaches and youth leagues and connections with the Poly community. Bohn should have set these ground rules in place.


  13. I thought the entertainment portion of the press conference including TMB and the Song Girls was good. They should’ve been serving drinks and turned it into a dance party. Get Carol Folt and Mike Bohn to loosen up.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. With Bohn coming down a spiral staircase in Hef’s red smoking jacket and unlit pipe, a cheerleader on each arm….
        [I actually hesitated typing that for fear of giving Bohn any ideas]…..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Let’s move Carol Folt out of her USC mansion at Adelaide Place and start using it more constructively.


  14. Clean up the mess Riley!

    I have it on authority Orlando and Harrell engaged in whippets regularly. Behind the doors of The McKay Center is a culture of toxic drug abuse, thuggish behavior and pure insanity

    The purge must consist of drug abusing coaches and thuggish players who don’t show up to games and blast rap music at practice!

    Very similar to Gascon and Garcettis toxic culture of criminal behavior running wild over the streets of LA. Something must be done before both are burnt to the ground

    The Purge begins now. Our USC brothers will rise up thru all American power


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