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

USC’s hiring of Lincoln Riley is still being viewed as the coup of the coaching searches even as LSU, Notre Dame, Miami and Oregon fill vacancies.

But the hiring of Riley is being portrayed officially much differently than what I hear from various sources. 
Although athletic director Mike Bohn said “the fact we landed our top candidate and one of the best coaches in all of football was not an accident,” others offer a view that makes it seem as if Riley almost fell into USC’s lap. 
A search firm executive said that less than month ago, Bohn lamented how difficult it would be to find a strong candidate and how stressful it would be trying to avoid making a bad hire. 
“He felt the pressure and I don’t think Riley was in the bag until that final game,” the search firm executive said. 
It does seem as if Oklahoma had beaten Oklahoma State, a different outcome could easily have occurred. 
But USC got Riley through the course of events, which now allows Bohn to say his hiring was “the product of a thoughtful, thorough, strategic and comprehensive search process that involved an incredible team.” 
And don’t forget the 50-slide presentation! 
Oklahoma offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh was expected to move to USC but as of now he remains with the Sooners. This is in some ways the most important hire for the coaching staff.
UPDATED: Oklahoma announced Friday that Bedenbaugh was staying at Oklahoma.
  • I can confirm USC never contacted Deion Sanders despite many pundits, including Joel Klatt of Fox Sports, pushing Sanders as a candidate for the job.
  • If you don’t believe perception is everything, these comments are nearly identical but who said it and when makes a big difference:

Lincoln Riley in 2021: “You’re not going to win just because of the logo.”

Larry Smith in 1992: “Names and logos don’t mean anything. You don’t beat someone just because of your name and logo.”

That comment was seen by many USC fans as the last straw before Smith got fired.

  • Linebacker Raymond Scott entered the transfer portal Thursday.
  • Offensive tackle Andrew Vorhees is returning for another year.
  • What I can’t believe is Graham Harrell went to the trouble of recruiting wide receiver K.D. Dixon from Colorado and then barely played him. Dixon caught three passes the entire season and is going to make himself available for the NFL Draft.
  • Bryce Young is going to win the Heisman Trophy this weekend. This reminds me that a Mater Dei coach came to a USC game in 2018 and said at a tailgate the Monarchs had replaced JT Daniels with a better quarterback.

That was a big statement back then. Daniels was a heralded five-star and starting at USC as a true freshman. Young had transferred to Mater Dei from Cathedral and was not nearly as hyped. But the coach was right.

  • Where are the fans who claimed Young decomitted from USC because he was scared off by Kedon Slovis?
  • New Florida State athletic director Michael Alford worked in the USC athletic dept. under Mike Garrett.
  • Does USC have another game this weekend that I forgot about?





  • Joe Washington’s three-yard punt return is reason enough to bring back the USC-Oklahoma series.

And now for some history:

  • Isn’t it about time USC bring back the Sparty mascot logo?

Yes, it is the mascot for Michigan State but USC also used it for years.

When I was at the Daily Trojan, the general manager of the USC bookstore insisted we remove Sparty as a mascot because it was not historically accurate. He said a Trojan wore a helmet with feathers all the way down the back of the helmet.

Much to the chagrin of the administrator, we amended Sparty and added the feathers to make him historically accurate and he couldn’t protest.

  • Who remembers the Commons Deli in the late 1980’s?
  • In 1975, John McKay would still smoke a cigar at his Tuesday morning press conferences.

Imagine the reaction when McKay said at his press conference before the Notre Dame game that Ricky Bell might play fullback because Mosi Tatupu was hobbled by a shoulder injury.

“How would that look?” McKay said. “With the whole nation looking on, we’ll have the best running back in the nation playing fullback.”

McKay floated the idea of playing Rod Connors at tailback. Of course, Tatupu recovered and Bell rushed for 165 yards as the No. 3-ranked Trojans overcame three deficits to win, 24-17. The injured Tatupu rushed for 79 yards. Linebackers David Lewis and Kevin Bruce each had 13 tackles and Lewis recovered two fumbles.


After USC defeated Notre Dame, McKay announced he was resigning after the season, which caused the Trojans to lose four straight games.

But from 1971 to the first seven games of the 1975 season, USC was 42-3-3.

It lost more games in the next four weeks than in the previous four years.

  • Lincoln Riley was 55-10? Well, John McKay was 42-3-3.

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

  1. Like everyone else I’m overjoyed we got Lincoln Riley. But, as time goes by, it does look more & more like he came to us by supernatural accident. The ‘tell’ is Mike Bohn saying, “Lincoln Riley didn’t come to us by supernatural accident.” It’s increasingly hard to believe the robot in the cardinal blazer & gold pants [with matching tie] who said “are we having fun or what?!” is the reason we wound up with the best coach in the country. It’s more likely the decision was 100% Lincoln’s….and it was a snap decision made after the Oklahoma State loss.
    btw, another Fantastic Friday column, Scott —filled with memories of John McKay, the Daily Trojan, Larry Smith…and the Commons Deli.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. 7-likes, is that a blog record?–

      BTW, MG, I have officially been declared the winner of the “Other’s” contest and will be awarded the prize money. I have instructed the “Other” to mail the check to the City of Hope Foundation in the San Gabriel Valley. And that is the end of the story of the “Other.”–Amen!

      Yeah, I recall 1975, and a lot of people were unhappy with McKay making that announcement in the middle of what looked like a possible championship season. And lest we forget, the 1972 team has been declared by some “experts” as the greatest collegiate team ever assembled. So those were some pretty good boys running the show back in those early ’70s days.

      Still, I believe Scottie fudged a bit with his 1971 to 1975 McKay win-loss record. I did not look it up (should have) but i remember 1971 as a poor year for the Trojans, so Scott must have cherry-picked 1971 by counting only the final games that season.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. RJ Young … another example of USC State Media Clay Helton propaganda bought and paid for by Mike Bohn. Now we’re supposed to forget how Mike Bohn for two years couldn’t find his ass with two cold hands. Mike Bohn, you’re not going get three strikes like you did at Colorado. Keeping Clay Helton was Strike 1. Go Lincoln Riley!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. BTW, USC ranks #101 in recruiting (247sports) as of this morning. Worth noting as this is rock bottom for USC, but this number will change quickly within the next few days under Lincoln Riley’s leadership.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I guess maybe some high school students watched Hunter Echols’ leisurely stroll off the field during substitutions in the BYU & thought they’d rather commit to a team that cared about winning.


      2. 101st in the rankings. Think about that —and then think about that circle jerk show Caruso, Folt and Bohn put on when Riley fell into their laps. At the very moment this trio was coming to ‘happy ending’ climaxes on stage, the mess they made was causing every parent with a brain to tell their 5 star kid, “you are not going to the school that suits up barely half of their players to play in the Pac 12 Losers’ Bowl.”
        Yes, Lincoln will fix things up —but, fuck-a-doodle, he has a lot of cleaning up to do thanks to these clowns.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Riley needs an OL & DL coach NOW, lots of skill players but no beef, sound familiar ?

        They are hosting a couple of OL this weekend, and as of right now, the OL & DL players in the portal are not much better than what we have now.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Well, looks at that! I guess 10 years of abject failure within two specific units do have an effect on attracting players and coaches don’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The blogger missed this offer by USC, which is surprising since he’s usually all over SC offering 3 star recruits. I like the offer, watch the kid on video, he’s athletic, can tackle, looks like a diamond in the rough.

        Garrison Madden LB 6-2 200 Hampton, GA
        Kid runs track. Took third as a junior at the GHSA AAAAA State Championship with a 10.85 in the 100-meter dash. Also placed sixth in the 200-meter dash (22.43). Plays basketball as well. 5A in Georgia isn’t like 5A in Utah, if you know what I mean.

        I’m betting they see this kid as a safety or put some weight on his and play his at LB in the future.

        He’s got an offer from Yale, so academics won’t be an issue.


        Liked by 2 people

      6. If he can put on 25 pounds without losing one tenth second in speed we might have something special at olb.


      7. Or, teach him how to play safety, no need for weight gain. SC also offered a LB from Nevada Reno who is in the portal, one year left.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Change the soft culture and the downward trajectory of the team. At the same time, bring in a OL coach who can develop NFL talent. Also, improve the running game so these guys can fire off the ball instead of pass blocking most of the time. A talented RB like Raleek Brown will help that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. while scottie sort of quoted smith correctly in ’92…his spin makes new coach riley seem to be saying the same thing…he is not ,scottie is incorrect. Riley did not go on as smith did and state sc better get used to NOT being a top dog, but mediocre, that is what got smith fired,this was after the bowl game vs fresno st.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I don’t think your interpretation of Larry Smith’s quote is strictly accurate, Tim. At the risk of turning into the resident Larry Defender on this site I feel the need to remind everybody how seriously Larry took the job and how rough it was for him to endure losses. Larry took over a soft team and immediately got them to the Rose Bowl by beating a very solid UCLA team. He did it by installing discipline and accountability… and emphasizing toughness in practices. Beat writers used to comment on the smile on Larry’s face as he watched players go at each other in scrimmages —I recall one writer saying it was “a smile of pride.” Larry’s downfall was mostly a result of his being a dyed in the wool mid-western coach in a metropolitan atmosphere. It wasn’t just his refusal to cater to his players, it was his inability to relate to them that began to weaken his hold on the team. I remember Larry crying at the press conference held the day he got fired –he told his absent players he was sorry to be so emotional —and that he hoped they’d remember him as the coach who taught them “smashmouth” football. Larry wanted USC to be top dog –not mediocre.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember Smith being interviewed as he walked off at the half in his first game at Michigan St. He said that the team had to start playing ” smash mouth football ” People were not happy with his use of the term, smash mouth ” and no, I’m not kidding. Smith explained later the next week that he wasn’t imploring his team to literally hit MSU in the mouth but play tougher.

        Smith also inherited a team that had talent, unlike PC or Riley. The only common theme with both PC and Riley is that they both had/have a pretty good QB to work with their first season.

        Smith did instill a tougher mentality with his team, but he also allowed players to wear do rags under their helmets which pissed off the big money alums who thought the team looked like a bunch of gang thugs.

        And yes, Larry cried at his firing presser, his wife looked like she could have killed everyone there.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Good memory, karma. That was one very pissed off Larry Smith that got interviewed at the half of the Michigan State game (his first game as coach of the Trojans). Like Lincoln Riley, Larry got a look at what his team was made of and realized he had a LOT of work to do. It was a different USC team that played UCLA in November.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I was at the Oregon game in Eugene about a month after the MSU game. USC was down 21-0, fought back to lose 34-27. Two games later he really got a look at how soft his team was at ND, but he beat a far superior ucla team that was ahead 13-0 in the 3rd quarter, got them to the RB, didn’t get a call when the MSU WR Andre Rison went out of bounds and came back in the catch a pass that kept a drive alive, they also had the QB sacked on the play but he got away. USC drove to MSU’s 29 but Peete fumbled the snap, MSU recovered and that was that. 4 turnovers by USC didn’t help either.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Great stuff, karma. I watched that Rose Bowl with a bunch of completely uninterested City Attorney buddies at a New Year’s Day Party — and I remember saying “I hope Larry doesn’t run Rodney again –he’s gassed after that last run.” Peete fumbled on the next play—and USC lost a game they seemed destined to win.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I did not say he wanted his teams to be mediocre…he said SC better get used to not being top dog due to recruiting competition,etc…that the brand did not draw like it used to…I am sure he was competitive to his core,nevertheless he said what he said and that was the end. I watched him say it, and scottie should not lump riley into that same quote. That loss in that bowl game to fresno st was embarrassing.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. It’s always worse when USC is marching downfield to take the lead, victory seems destined…and it doesn’t materialize.
        One thing you can say for sure: We were spared that delicious agony this year.

        Liked by 3 people

      7. Pasadena, if you’re talking about David Webb, he played LB not DL, and he wasn’t recruited to play DL


      8. Scott frames things in ways that are unflattering and it seems to be quite a defect in his style.

        He chose the word “perception” to speak of the two quotes…

        Imagine if he’d used the word “context”.

        “Context” would have equipped readers to make more meaningful connections moving forward, while “perception” carried with it connotations that LFR would lose and be a loser merely because he said something similar to another loser.

        Very subtle, very bitter from the Prince of Darkness Scott Wolfie


      1. Our players had an excuse tb: a very light drizzle started up in the second quarter….and a lot of our guys’ uniforms were getting a tiny bit damp…


    1. Yes, you were, Ed.


  4. Lets’s see… yeah I think there is a game this weekend featuring an undefeated Trojan team. Beat the 49ers or the Beach… Dirt Bags? I don’t know know what their mascot is anymore.


    1. I asked Wolf why no mention of the BB team here.

      He said

      ” when I used to live blog basketball games, I would lose twitter followers and get complaints on my blog., now they are unhappy about the lack of basketball coverage. “

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember when Scott would do a piece on basketball and he’d get maybe 2 or 3 comments. I think he came to the permanent conclusion: At USC, Basketball = Death.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. budda,

        Yes David webb was to play lber, however, I remember vividly that he was playing at dtackle because they had no one left. That is my recelection. Horrible times. Smith lived off Tolner’s recruits and Smith did not recruit. he thought players would just flock to SC. Then he comes out with the pity party about not having players and that all teams were equal or partiality. That is what got him fired after losing to Fresno St. That car line is still going back to Fresno and that is 30 years ago.


  5. My first memory of USC was a ” Sparty” logo for USC. My mom had it as a decal for her car. My favorite logo is the Tommy Trojan statue silhouette, but I had sweat shirts with the Sparty logo growing up. (They said Southern Cal too) I also (for the record) like the baseball style hat commonly depicted on George Tirebiter – cardinal on the sides and gold down the middle with linked SC. I haven’t seen one like it since my older brother borrowed the one that George Tirebiter wore, from my mom.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. my folks had a bottle/decanter top with the SC growl look(sparty) and a flip lid to pour the liquid …it was my favorite through the years. I remember it as a decal also…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Does it really matter how Riley was hired? At the end of the day, we got him. I don’t get the attempted s – – – stirring by the Wolfman. What’s the point?? Riley is here, trying to work a miracle with the Class of ’22 recruiting class and already has a Top 10 Class for ’23 on the way.

    You can make fun of Bohn for being a cringe inducing dork, however. Let’s keep the man’s media appearances to a minimum.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fans need to take a chill pill. Riley is putting in the hard work. It isnt easy to build up a class when USC has fallen so far. He is doing a good job. It was a major loss that Bedenbough didnt come with him. That has damaged the o-line recruiting.

    Let’s hope that the major o-line talent we are hunting doesnt sign with another school before we get an o-line coach and have the chance to really recruit those positions. There will be alot of transfer talent required to fill in the o-line.

    What happens to all the 3 star o-linemen that joined in the last 2 years? Courtland Ford and Jonah Monheim can be built into the right shape by S&C and coached up to being good, but how many other linemen do we have that can play at the level we need? I think Dedich will need to be a starter. Good that Vorhees is returning.


    1. It really isn’t easy to build a class when “USC has fallen so far.”
      And that is why I have nothing but sympathy for the blameless Mike Bohn. He’s in that same tough situation that our players were in at Cal –when many opted out saying the game “was meaningless.” My heart was breaking for these players cuz they had nothing to do with how meaningless that game was…..
      #ItWasJustFreeFloatingMeaninglessness… Not4-8Record


    2. gametv,

      One way Riley can help the oline and line is to push them in the weight room and in conditioning. Make them discplined and make the exercises and conidtioning harder than normal. They need the discpline taught to them. They have to learn that they have to be dominate on the field. I would also force them to watch film form the 80 Rose Bowl game where Sc ran the ball behind Munoz almost the entire time. Show them how they fired off the ball and dominated the dline. I would have them practice that until they get an oline. The oline coach then will have to keep up the prgram that they are under to make sure that they aren’t soft like before.


  8. DEAR LINCOLN RILEY; You have a great defensive line coach right here in the Pac 12….. YOU NEED TO HIRE THIS GUY!!!!!!!!!!!! The timing is right he does not know if he will be retained at Oregon once they hire a new coach.
    Better grab him now before someone else does!!

    Joe Salave’a——Defensive Line Coach University of Oregon

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The Recruiting Wall around Southern California is being constructed tonight as we alumni booze it up in celebration of Mr Lincoln Riley. To Saban (no commas b*tches) Smart Swinney former Coach Orgeron Brian Kelly … GFY! Fight on SC✌️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Riley hopefully will learn and teach discipline. This has been his story in recent years. Riley has a chance to rewrite the playoff losses and underachievement where he’s always had 4 aces and never could quite win the pot.

    We didn’t get a NC caliber coach, we got someone who’s young, energetic, a bit callow but has something to prove, needs to evolve and needed a place to go.

    SC btw didnt have a 90th class, it has 20 spots with kids waiting for a new head coach. SC didn’t sign a bunch of 2 and 3 stars– it’s even chasing off 4 stars to make room. I have no doubt of a top 10 class and lots of “kabooms” on the 15ths and again in the portal. Unfortunately, most of the kids waiting to see were skill players rather than OL/DL/FB/blocking TEs, Big RBs, or even dominant LBs– and LR’s cachet isn’t with linemen, I think what we get there comes mostly as transfers. But with all these sudden changes across the country, in ND and the P12 including Oregon, it should be a huge swing.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. We arent getting to a top 10 class on the 15th. Things are going slow and we might be missing alot of top linemen and need to tap the transfer portal.

      With Dan Lanning reported to be the head coach at Oregon and Kalen DeBoer at Washington and of course, Whittingham at Utah, the Pac-12 is going to be very competitive.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Riley is getting after some dudes thst look & sound like they take their ball WAplAY more serious tthe all sizzle no steak motherbeepers that helton loved recruiting.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. The interviewer, meh. But I’m happy when I hear kids that realize they are getting top flight and respected academics, the top mix of an academic and athletic brand, media market, alum family and culture, opportunities for internships and mentoring, respect for and perception of student-athletes in school and as alum, LA and CA as a job and entrepreneurial market and a close-knit national alum base… When it’s laid out properly in front of a CFB student-athlete recruit, he should see that SC when it is functional is the best place to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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