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

The coaching malfeasance that defined USC for years is still haunting the program.

A couple years ago, I railed about all the players being brought from Texas from the Lone Star State-centric coaching staff. Not because they were from Texas but because so many were second-tier players. And now look:

Offensive lineman Ty Buchanan. Gone. Offensive lineman Casey Collier. Gone. Wide receiver Jake Smith. Gone. Wide receiver Joseph Manjack. Gone.

One of the good ones from Texas (Brandon Campbell) left too when the running backs room got too crowded with transfers.

Clay Helton left a mess. And it’s why I said it hurt for Mike Bohn to wait so long to fire him. The program stagnated because recruits didn’t want to come,

Lincoln Riley is trying to transform the entire roster overnight. The hard part will be with linemen, not the skill positions. Riley’s had 36 players leave since he got hired. And with Buchanan leaving Thursday, he might not be done. Helton left Riley a rusty battleship, not a nuclear-powered submarine.

  • USC guard Boogie Ellis has scrubbed his Instagram of all photos and unfollowed everyone. Is that a sign he is leaving USC?
  • You know it’s bad when Andy Enfield scheduled meetings with the players next week and three of them entered the transfer portal this week.
  • The trial of former USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic was postponed until Monday after U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani, tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Willow Bay, the former NBA Inside Stuff host, was reappointed by Carol Folt to a second term as dean of the Annenberg School of Communication. A term is five years.
  • Earlier this week, the L.A. Times ran a story on Rick Caruso and mentioned how the Daily Trojan had a sign in its newsroom that counted the days since a scandal.

Well, here’s the sign:

  • The L.A. Times Festival of Books on April 23-24 at USC will feature Justine Bateman, Valerie Bertinelli, Terry Crews, Eric Dickerson, David Duchovny, Ziggy Marley, Janelle Monae and Kelly Rowland among others.
  • For the students, this Saturday is the return of the Springfest concert at the Coliseum after a two-year break. The headliner is Dominic Fike. Who? If you watch Euphoria, you know.



The above Daily Trojan story got me hot this week because it was so blatantly wrong. You can’t claim someone went to games for 30 straight years when they missed several games in 2020. His streak is over.

Giles Pellerin went to every game from 1925-1998 (797 straight games). There was no asterisk or fake statements attached to his streak. And his brother, Oliver, went to 637 straight games from 1945-2001.

  • And now for some history:

Nothing like a beautiful color photo from the past. I believe this is the 1970 USC-Stanford game, featuring Heisman Trophy winner Jim Plunkett, All-American John Vella (75) and All-American Willie Hall (83). Vella was a defensive tackle but got switched to offensive tackle in 1971 and became an All-American.

  • Here’s a pocket schedule from the 1971-72 basketball season. And that looks like Ron Riley getting one of his many rebounds. He averaged 13.7 rebounds per game in his three-year career.
  • Here’s Mike Garrett running the ball against Wyoming in 1965 in the final game of the season. The quarterback is Troy Winslow.

“That Garrett looks like he’s running in three directions at the same time,” Minnesota QB John Hankinson said after facing USC in the season-opener that year.

How good was USC in 1979? The Playboy All-American team featured Anthony Munoz (77); Brad Budde (71); Charles White (12) and Coach John Robinson.

I want Lincoln Riley to get these jackets for the coaches just like in 1949.

If you want to know who all these coaches are, I listed them all in this post.


Pann’s restaurant in Westchester, founded in 1958.

Phoenix Bakery in Los Angeles, founded in 1938. No, it’s not a restaurant but it’s an insitution.

Neptune’s Net in Malibu, founded in 1956.

The Dresden in Los Angeles, founded in 1954.

La Barca in Los Angeles, founded in 1975. If you went to USC, you definitely went here.

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

  1. For his appearance, Duchovny will reprise his role of Hank Moody, the drunken, philandering author from Californication. Hijinks will ensue.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bohn-head and Brendan Sosna have their grubby fingerprints all over that patchwork Texas staff and those recruits. I don’t want to hear about President Flo’s “leadership” on hiring the new football coach. She decimated the football program to begin with.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. The idiot who’s whole identity is based off of a license plate? Not sure anyone should be sweating that dude hating them.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. P.S.
      And who cares about Roy anyway? I mean, let’s face it, nothing he’s done comes close to the joy of reading “If It’s Friday”…

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for posting. This article contains the single most interesting take on what Riley’s doing: Taking in players —not only to replace ours —but to push ours.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Last year there were cliques on the team: local players and Texas players. Not good. Riley seems to be packing and shipping out many Texas players as a solution. And he is starting to again draw the top local players for USC – Travis Dye initially left for Oregon but now with SC is an example. Raleek Brown and Domani Jackson would not be with SC if Helton was still coach. And Riley has stop the hemorrhaging of local 5 star QB’s with Malachi Nelson.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. The standards of USC football were lowered the day Pat Haden named Clay Helton the head coach. That’s why the administration allowed it to fester in mediocrity for seven years. You don’t need a losing record to justify the firing of a coach, because a qualified Athletic Director should have the ability to know if his coach is taking the program in the wrong direction. Lynn Swann was too stupid, LAZY , and inexperienced for the job.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Giles Pellerin was a true superfan of USC. He didn’t just go to the games he lived and (unfortunately) died at USC football. I met him a couple of times at the Coliseum before games. He was gentleman’s gentleman. He wasn’t there for the streak he was there for the game.
    Looking at the yesteryear pictures reminded me that there were seats in both endzones at one time. Those seats in the picture were about a mile from the field and were removed for the Olympic games in 1984 (although I could be wrong- they may have been removed to cut the number of seating capacity so pro games could be televised)
    As for the Texas transfers, I believe they as much as anything have watchers of USC football worried about LR’s portal prodigies. We must hope Riley is a better judge of talent than Helton.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Riley has proven he’s a better judge of talent than Helton —many times over.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That was Travis Bickle’s re-enactment of the 1953 film Shane:

        Shane: You speakin’ to me?

        Chris Calloway: I don’t see nobody else standin’ there.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Pale Rider similar plot as Shane. Alan Ladd very short … they had him stand on boxes to make him appear taller. Like they do with Hillary and President Flo.


      3. Thanks for bringing up Shane. I always felt that Director George Stevens kind of grafted a cheap ending onto the film’s finale—having Shane ride off slumped over his saddle— when Shane barely gets scratched by that last bullet in the book. I finally realized on my last viewing that Stevens is saying Shane’s life hasn’t been in vain. He did what he came to do —he’s The Protector.


  5. 1978-1979 USC football were the final years of great Trojan teams until Pete’s teams of 2002-2005.

    The ’78 team beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, but the Trojans lost to Arizona St, so the Tide and SC tied for the title.

    The ’79 team was a heartbreaker with a tie to Stanford being the only blemish. Undefeated Alabama took the title and it would have been shared with undefeated Ohio St but for Charlie White taking over the Rose Bowl and beating the Buckeyes by one-point.

    I could not recollect one pro football game if my life depended on it (except the 1958 championship game and the Rams victory in 2022), but I recall minute details of many SC games through the years– especially the ones I attended.–

    Trojan football– there is nothing like it (except for those pesky Alabama and Ohio St guys)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. We’ll probably get to take care of those ‘pesky Ohio State guys’ personally in next year’s Rose Bowl —both teams will be good…but I don’t think either one will be in the playoffs.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I was at that game and USC was kicking the hell out of Stanford 21-0 at halftime. Then in true John Robinson fashion, he played not to lose in the second half, Stanford got some momentum and tied it at 21-21. He did the same thing during his second stint at USC. In the Freedom Bowl he was up on Utah 28-0 at half and called off the dogs. The Trojans hung on to win 28-21.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Some coaches, when their teams are up big, turn off the dogs and just do the math —[“other team probably won’t score more than 1 TD every 5 minutes”] —and nurse leads rather than stay on the attack. Pete, at his best, poured it on when USC went ahead…


  6. I haven’t thought about USC’s lopsided 1965 win over Wyoming in a long time. It took place the Saturday AFTER USC’s Rose Bowl hopes were sent down the toilet by Gary Beban & UCLA. [The Saturday BEFORE the UCLA game I can remember the Pitt cheerleaders telling USC fans we’d be smart to save some of the touchdowns we were scoring against Pitt for UCLA —it seemed like a bad omen….and it was].
    For me, the game was a learning lesson. Mike Garrett was stopped at the one foot line and held the ball out over the goal line. I was surprised to see the ref signal TD. That was the first time I’d seen a player do that.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Riley did not inherit a rusted out warship a better comparison is he inherited the Titanic as it was in the process of sinking. No one ever thought the Titanic would ever sink like the USC football program but it did. Bits and pieces of the Titanic have been recovered from the bottom of the ocean, but I feel Riley will rebuild the entire USC ship very quickly.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Agreed. But do you realize what your post says about the actions of Bohn and Folt following the Holiday Bowl debacle? They hadda be braindead to keep Helton after that.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Please define “very quickly,” tommyd.

      The way I see it, and I know this is not a popular Trojan point-of-view, this will be at least a 3-year project for Wiley Riley.

      It took McKay and Pete 3 years to build towards a national championship caliber team. And the sledding might be more difficult in the 2020s (managing the Portal element) than for Pete in the early 2000s

      But I believe Trojan style football will return in the 2022 season with better discipline, less show-boating, a return to a solid running attack, and a defense that can hold the opposition to 35 points or less.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. We knew it was really bad under the village idiot, but we didn’t know just how bad until the last few games of last season. It was miserable. Riley is as close to a miracle worker as you can get by getting Caleb Williams, Mario Williams, Malachi Nelson, Raleek Brown, Domani Jackson, and the ‘backers/edge rushers from ‘Bama and Auburn. We have all complained about the o-line for years, but relatively speaking, with their experience and new coaching, they might work out just fine.

    Thinking back on it, it is just mind-boggling how many assistants and staff were replaced while Helton was retained. With the next guy being worst than the last guy. Helton was like the Andromeda Strain, he infected everything that came close. It was as if he was playing a coach on a TV show.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Three xlnt fb guys from SC on that AA team

    But I did not realize the Summer of Love was being observed by those guys with the afros. JR must have known the sole remaining SoCal barber.

    My my my, even hippie #73 found a barber.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Former USC Basketball player Ron Riley was a tremendous player yet totally forgotten in USC basketball history. Paul Westphal, and Mo Layton got all the publicity from that great 70-71 team, and very few players today average 13 rebounds a game. Ron, nicknamed the “Spoon” played in the NBA for a few years, and then disappeared.

    No question USC should place Ron Riley in the USC Hall of Fame with a banner in the Galen Center. Former City Basketball Player of the Year from LA’s Jordan High School, and was a really a dominant player as a 6’9 center. No way USC goes 24-2 without him. He also played on the greatest USC freshman basketball team ever starting with Paul Westphal, Monroe Nash, Joe Mackey, and Billy Taylor. The coach of that freshman team was Stan Morrison who by the way is the last USC basketball coach to win a conference title.

    It was another huge mistake when USC fired Stan Morrison and replaced him with George “All Talk” Raveling. Sure Raveling eventually brought in some players after 4 years, but by letting Morrison go Hank Gathers, Bo Kimble, and Tom Lewis all transferred out due to the coaching change.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pann’s Restaurant is still alive and well in Westchester!!
    Neptune’s Net in Malibu is also a landmark – views are outstanding especially the girls, and the hot biker chicks. I highly recommend the Malibu Seafood Company on PCH for better food especially fish and chips.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Very quick Turn Around for the USC football program under Riley is defined as:

    2022 Season- Pac 12 South Championship – possibly the conference championship. Return to a Major Bowl hopefully the Rose Bowl.
    Thank god for Caleb Williams.no defense will be able to stop this guy.. Our entire offensive line will be totally rebuilt through the Portal with more news coming after Spring Ball. Linebacker Shane Lee the transfer from Alabama= The return of Richard Wood the “Batman” the guy can really hit, and has speed that will create fear and hurt on Pac 12 Non-Physical Offenses.. Don’t forget Brandon Pilli- he will be a monster this year on the defensive line with Tuli.

    2023 Season- Top 5- USC makes the playoffs for the 1st time. Strong contender to win it all! Top Recruiting Class will add the depth needed. Heisman Trophy Winner- Caleb Williams!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And…we’ll know if we’re on your projected trajectory as early as the Stanford game —if we score 6 TD’s against Stanford, it’s on, brother!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Once the seasons starts USC will again be the talk of College Football- Many coaches and players from rival Pac 12 teams will be yelling out- “Who are those guys after playing the Trojans”. We will have some monsters out there just like the Ukraine army ready to go to battle against all odds. As long as injuries don’t take out our star players during the season things will happen quickly, but depth in this first season is questionable.

    The key game will be AT Utah. The rest of the Pac 12 will be a cupcake including UCLA as Chip is running out of cheeseburgers.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You guys are really desperate. #BadLook

    Lone Ranger, return to the yester years? 300 lb lineman are a dying breed. Very unhealthy. Biden warned of a food shortage.
    I hate to break it to you but running QB’s get hurt sometimes. Then you’re at a zero play guy. Caleb Williams will have a target on him. Someone will get him.


  15. Caleb Williams- is not just a runner he has the strongest throwing arm also in the Pac 12. Other than Utah tough defenses don’t exist in the Pac 12 which is basically a flag football league. No one will be able to stop the Trojans offense with a true duel threat at QB now, and Riley will starting using the Tight Ends also.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love the SC optimists here, but I am probably somewhere in the middle between those folks and Cal75’s dour SC predictions.

    Time only will tell, and it is a long way to September’s start.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always do the same…wait until I see the results on the field. Not going to get too excited about coaching changes or enrollees.

      I don’t know about it being a long way off. It’ll be here before you know it. 25% of the year is already gone. That’s no small piece.

      That’s about the same percentage who actually think JB is doing a good job. Mind boggling how that number can be in the double digits. Just shows how many dumb people there are out there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. #Biden:”The economy is about to really take off!”


    2. BigJohn
      I hope SC improves from last year. A rising tide lifts all boats.

      However, Riley doesn’t play. Pinning a pac12 championship on his back at this point seems a bit premature. He’s not Knute Rockne yet.

      Look at the bright side. No scandals under Helton. I was hoping he would have died in Carol Burnett’s sack with heart failure. Wouldn’t that have been a hoot.

      Looking for accomplishments from the newish pac12 commissioner. Anyone seen him?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes Sir, “A rising tide lifts all boats,” although Wiley’s boat is only a canoe at present, but is an upgrade over Ton-o-Hel’s bathtub boatie.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Riley is completely re-vamping that roster and will have them performing well. Anyone that thinks they will not be a contender for the Pac-12 is just not paying attention. The offense will be very explosive, the major concerns will be around the defense, but there is a ton of athletic talent on that side of the ball and they just needed the right coaching and culture. There are some good pieces on the d-line and some good pieces in the secondary. Linebackers will need alot of coaching, but there is athletic talent there.

        Injuries to key groups will be the thing to watch. If Shane Lee is injured that would really hurt the linebacker group.

        Last year the defense practiced against the air raid offense and it really hurt their development to see the same napkin of plays over and over again. of course they sucked with the culture and coaching and recruiting of Helton.

        When we see how decimated this roster was, the true impact of Helton becomes so much more clear.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Prediction Time: The new Pac 12 Commissioner will turn out to be as bad as the last one…
        I don’t like Helton but I wouldn’t wish for him to die. Especially the way you suggest. Many people would get hurt in that situation. And that would be unbearably sad. Think about their families, the embarra….. Oh shit….I CAN’T DO IT —It’s TOO EASY —how can progressives stand listening to themselves?


  17. Gasoline at some pumps in Beverly Hills hit the $7 mark, and the prices of staple goods such as milk are through the roof. The 800-foot
    2 bedroom-1 bath home I was born in that sold for $5000 in 1950 goes for $1.2 million today.

    Has the Under-40 aged crowd thrown in the towel yet?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I beleive the “Dresden” had a significant role in the movie “Swingers” with Vince Vaughan and Jon Favreau. People we’re quoting the film even months after it came out.




  19. Seeing the Phoenix Bakery above reminded me of Junior’s Deli near the intersection of Pico and Westwood. I never tried the food, but the cakes were incredible!

    I was disappointed when they closed. My former coworkers turned me on to them, when they brought in a Snickers cake for someone’s birthday.

    I don’t care what Elaine Benes said about office birthday cakes, I love ’em!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Junior’s had the fricking best pastrami and corned beef sandwiches in W. L. A……


  20. I predict SC will be 11-1 next year(probably 12-1 with a bowl victory). The only game that I think that they will lose is to Utah(yes, they will beat ND). SC’s offense will be explosive(probably the best in the nation). The problem is going to be their defense(as it has always been under Lincoln Riley). We are going to find out how good an AD Mike Bohn is. If our defense isn’t national championship quality after the first 2 years, it’s Bohns job to go to Riley and demand that he go out and hire a great DC. He didn’t do it with Helton because Helton didn’t have the clout to bring in a great DC. What great DC would want to leave his great job to come to SC and work for a HC that is annually on the hot seat. But Lincoln Riley does have that clout. If our DC isn’t cutting it after 2 years, it’s Bohns job to demand that we bring in a DC who will get the job done. I believe 2022 will show that SC is as good as any team in the nation offensively. The defensive side is what has to change if we really want to win NC’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Phoenix Bakery is just down the street where I have a place in Chinatown, So Cal, and they recently ceased baking the mousse, and so I ceased going.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “Not so fast,” 007. Moving from 4-8 to 11-1 is a lot of movement.

      And with virtually a brand new team coming in via the Portal and the high schoolers it will take time to jell. And 11-1, as you suggest, probably would place SC in the “Final-4”.

      As if Wiley doesn’t already have enough pressure to deal with.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I admit parcelman’s prediction is optimistic…but it is within the realm of distinct possibility, John…


      2. Game #1….Rice…..Rice’s chances….slim and none and none has a much better chance than slim
        Game #2….Stanford….The cardinal will not beat SC two years in a row.
        Game #3….Fresno State…..They’ve lost one of the best coaches that they have had in years
        Game #4….Oregon State….They will be good but I just can’t see them beating SC twice in a row
        Game #5….ASU….Not going to happen twice in a row, especially in the Coliseum. The ASU program is in shambles
        Game #6….WSU in the Coliseum….nope
        Game#7….Utah at Utah…..They have a lot of people coming back and great coaching. I pick Utah
        Game #8….Arizona….An up and coming team but not ready to beat SC, even at Arizona
        Game #9….California….No!. They won last year against Clay Helton. They won’t win a second in a row in the Coliseum against LR.
        Game #10…Colorado…..At the Coliseum….ain’t going to happen. Colorado is another program that is in shambles
        Game #11…UCLA…..After what happened last year? I don’t think so.
        Game #12…ND…..At the Coliseum, I’m picking SC….SC has lost 4 in a row and 5 out of the last 6 to ND. Riley is going to want to show that he can beat UCLA and ND. Besides we don’t know how good of a HC this new guy will be but I doubt that he will be better than Brian Kelley. It’s his first year as a HC. I’m picking SC.
        Bowl Game…..By that time, I think Rileys offense will be explosive, running on all cylinders and hopefully, the defense will have matured. I pick SC whoever they play.
        I say SC goes 12-1 next year. Going 12-1 doesn’t necessarily mean they will reach the playoffs if they lose to Utah and don’t even win the Pac-12 South(which I think is what will happen)


    3. You can tell by what Lincoln is doing to Helton’s players just how he’s going to treat coaches who don’t come through….


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