USC Morning Buzz: The QB Dilemma Facing Clay Helton

Clay Helton has a quarterback controversy, which might sound funny with Sam Darnold around. But what happens if Darnold gets hurt next season and it’s not known how long he will be out?

Let’s say Darnold sprains his ankle early in Game 2 against Stanford and misses the rest of the game but it’s not expected to be a serious injury. Does redshirt freshman Matt Fink (above) simply replace him? Does Helton burn Jack Sears’ redshirt year even though Sears might be inexperienced? And what about Jalen Greene?

If I were USC’s coach, Greene is my pick right now to be the backup. He has a strong arm, can run and knows the offense. But he did not practice at quarterback last week after spending time there during December bowl practices. It’s not known yet if he will play QB when USC resumes spring practices next week.

He would be perfect to fill in for a half if Darnold hurts his ankle, etc. But could he do it during the season without practice? Unlikely in Helton’s mind. So Fink is the short-term solution. Maybe. But remember USC is supposed to be a national-title contender. One bad result and it might be out of the College Football Playoff.

Would a coach who waited until the fourth game to start Darnold insert the highly regarded Sears into an early game? Not only would he end Sears’ redshirt season, he would gamble Sears is ready to perform. Bottom line: Darnold needs to stay healthy.

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  • Jethro G Sabbath

    What Wolf is saying here is any football team with a stud quarterback hopes that stud quarterback does not suffer an injury.

    Where else can you get this type of insight?

    • steveg

      This is like fake news isn’t it. Well, he works for a liberal rag to begin with so what can you expect, quality reporting?

      • David Keeling

        During spring practice HC press conferences and there were either 2 or 3 with Helton, why didn’t Wolf ask this question when he had the chance if this dilemma is so important?

        • USC jojo

          Is he a wuss?

        • peter

          The scribes that truly cover the team, report that Fink is having a good spring so far.He has improved in many areas,encouraging those around of his ability to back up Sam.With 9 spring practices ,plus fall .He’s on track to be good option of back up.

  • Pasadena Trojan

    Scooter, Greene should play. But, you should be more worried about Bigelow and the defense. Drefsnse wins games.

  • Mrhawaii

    This entry says nothing……nada….zero………

    • USC jojo

      It sounds like he’s taking a shot a Helton. Other than that, you would be correct.

  • Golden Trojan

    SC has THE superstar QB in college football. SC has 3 potentially highly qualified backups to choose from. Great to be a Trojan!

  • David Keeling

    “What if” us to death SW….

  • Disqus 30

    Or what if Darnold leads USC to a national championship win, gets drafted #1 overall and leads that team to a Super Bowl win.

    (Helton starts another QB next year).

    • Anthony_nos

      Haha! Well said.

  • Globehead

    I’ve heard the Patriots hope Tom Brady doesn’t get hurt, so there is some precedent for this type of concern.

  • John Cracker

    USC should run up early scores when they can and then throw the other guys in there and evaluate how each performs.

  • Old Trojans never die

    After listening to a columnist from the local paper and starting an ineffective quarterback because he might transfer, I doubt Clay will look herein for quarterback advice. Football is a sport where good players get hurt, and coaches plan for this. A bigger question should be what if The Orange County Register stages a coup and throws out all of the non register columnists?