USC Morning Buzz: If It’s Friday, It Must Be Time For Weekly Notes

OK, I made my USC-Cal game prediction, talk about why there are depth issues despite a full complement of scholarships and among other observations make this one:

USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin said Texas played faster against the Trojans than on film. There’s only one problem with that: It’s not about them. It’s about you.

Wolf: USC’s depth questionable because of coaching decisions

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  • Powerhouse SC

    I have to be honest here. I’ve got a very little doubt that Tee Martin is a great guy and he might be doing the best he can to call the best plays and coach players. However, he just doesn’t exude confidence or convey clear understandings on what needs to be done to improve the team on the videos I’ve consistently watched so far. In fact, he seemed to be visually reluctant to answer questions clearly in length and gave standard and customary answers. Can you say wishy-washy? Hope I’m wrong about it because we need him to be extraordinary this season for our team to be where we want to be.

    • hoohoolianFUCLA

      I think moving from up WRs to OC & WRs has overwhelmed him. Development of our young WRs and the lack or imaginative play calling is the obvious evidence leading me to that conclusion.

      More experience will hopefully cure this.

      • Jack B

        I somehow doubt Tee’s gonna learn anything more about coaching WR’s in the next six months. It doesn’t take a decade to figure it out.

        I suggest to USC’s younger WRs that they step up to the plate like everyone else has to and stop dropping easy catches that they should be able to catch in their sleep. Who knows? They might even be able to make tough catches someday (likes hundreds of Trojans in the past on good and bad teams), since nobody else can do that for them.

        • hoohoolianFUCLA

          I’m not saying Tee needs to learn how to coach WRs, I’m saying Tee has neglected his WRs because he’s too busy learning how to be a great OC.

          Tee has proven that he’s great with WRs already, so the OC demands are clearly taking his attention away from that part of his job.

          • Jack B

            I’m just a lot harder on USC’s WRs than you.

            That said, I’m sure at least one of them will step up and become a good college player.

            But until that happens, it’s not the coaches’ fault they’re not taking advantage of opportunities to play well.

            No sense blaming others for not being able to catch Darnold’s passes. I notice Darnold never blames others. Hmmm. Wonder if there is a connection there?

          • hoohoolianFUCLA

            Not an issue of BLAME, simply a point of possibility.
            See below.

          • Jack B

            It sounded to me like you were blaming Tee for lack of young WR development. I call BS on that.

            The WRs are being coached just fine and have been for many years at USC. As for now, just ask Burnett, who has developed superbly at USC and Carr, who needed no development and is already USC’s 2nd best receiver based on 3 games this year.

          • hoohoolianFUCLA

            Fine, call it blame if you want. I think I have been clear:

            When Tee was just WR coach, he was 100% focused on WRs — and tremendously successful. Now he is OC and OC has to take priority and Tee can in no way give WRs 100% of his time as he did before he became OC.

            Burnett is not a new kid, he got a full year with Tee as full-time WR coach and he had a lot of established talent and experience around to help Tee for 2 seasons. The last 2 classes have not had Tee’s undivided attention and the benefit lots of established talent and experience to add to Tee’s efforts. Burnett is really their only full-time mentor because Mitchell has been rehabbing.

            Carr, as I said to someone else, seems to have a natural catching talent or was coached into that talent before he arrived. Just as Cam Smith, Chad Wheeler and so many others have excelled from day one, while Darreus Rogers, Farmer, Blackwell and others didn’t pan out immediately or at all.Who would have thought Farmer AND Blackwell would be busts? We can only hope that Pittman, Sydney and Vaughns don’t follow that debacle’s footsteps. If they do, lets hope Lewis, Grimes, Hall and/or St Brown shine over that darkness the way Woods, Lee and Agholor did on Farmer and Blackwell.

            If Carr was coached into this skill at USC alone, why not any others on this team besides Burnett?

          • Jack B

            You and I look at coaching and player responsibility very differently. Nothing’s gonna change about that. I respect your point of view regardless of my own.

            I could always bring in most any catchable ball and coaching had absolutely nothing to do with my reception ability. Sorry, but it didn’t, everyone knew it, and I played organized ball for six years and was always 1st string and all-league in HS.

            No sense going into why I could always catch, even as a youngster. Even I don’t know why the ball always seemed to stick to my hands, regardless of how they were positioned. And I never followed rote mechanical guidelines or instruction. It’s about feel, vision, angles, confidence and honing skills. A great connection with your QB and understanding his ball works wonders.

            I blame USC’s young WR problems now entirely on their execution/performance/immaturity issues. I have no doubt that when they get used to the requirements of the big stage, someone will emerge even though the coaching stays exactly the same.

            Will be fun to watch when the USC WR break-out game arrives, because it is coming.

          • hoohoolianFUCLA

            “I blame USC’s young WR problems now entirely on their execution/performance/immaturity issues.”

            So do I. (Though Greene should be a mentor now, not part of the problem.)

            I think coaches and experienced players mentoring is significantly responsible for grooming these issues.

          • Michael Guarino

            You made a really smart observation when you, referring to the wide receivers, said “nobody can do it for them.” That’s a thought that doesn’t get expressed enough these days. That said, I wish we had a full time wide receivers coach —-it’s such an important position in our offense that you’d think that would be a no brainer. [And it might be nice too if we didn’t give our tight ends to Coach Baxter].

          • Rabb

            Maybe Tee Martin needs to calls plays from the sidelines instead of the booth. This way he can Coach up the WRs during the game. It can’t hurt this young group, but he can light a fire looking them eye to eye when they are not focused.

          • Brent4c

            I am unclear how blaming a coach for what is clearly and execution problem is fruitful. I’m not defending Tee as a great WR coach, not sure why he would be since he was a QB, but the evidence given throughout this board points to execution. So then one could say okay play someone else, which he has. A collegiate WR is expected to catch a ball put right in his hands. No coach can help them with that. If they runnnig the wrong routes or not blocking down field (which we excel at but the way) then maybe the coach can be faulted.

          • hoohoolianFUCLA

            Not an issue of BLAME, simply a point of possibility.

            As I said: “Tee has proven that he’s great with WRs already…” In 5 years, Tee brought us our first Biletnikoff Trophy, 2 PAC12 Freshman of the year WRs and a PAC12 player of the year WR.

            Now he has MUCH more responsibility as OC/WR coach and the development of our WRs since he became OC has dwindled. Coincidence?

            Do you see me demanding he be fired or demoted? No.

            If teaching execution isn’t under the coaches purview, then what is he there for and why is he called a “coach”? A coach can’t help a WR catch a ball? When Greene and others are turning to run before they catch the ball, there is nothing a coach can do? A receiver who catches the ball with his body (or tries to) and not his hands cannot be coached out of that? W-O-W, Wow!

            Is a coach not supposed to be pounding the concepts of “watch the ball all the way into your hands” and “put the ball away before turning or running” and “If you run your route properly, to the point you aren’t thinking about the route, then catching the ball can be your focus” and “separation helps make you an easier target for the QB and makes the catch easier; here are some things that can help you get more separation” and “turn your hands this way, not that way,” etc., etc.
            Mechanics can help a receiver execute (catch more balls).

            You and i have very different ideas as to what a coach does.

          • gotroy22

            Yep. Good technique grounded in fundamentals leads to execution under pressure in any sport.

          • hoohoolianFUCLA

            Ed Zachary.

            And minor flaws, such as Sam’s throwing motion (named as his only flaw, so far as I have seen), can make or break a player with lesser skills than Sam has. Carr seems to either be a natural pass catcher or was coached to have that ability.

            Tiger Woods had a gift and no amount of coaching would have ever lifted me to that level, or Craig Stadler or Vijay Singh, for that matter. Tiger needed to practice and be coached to go from a 95 to 97 (scale assuming that champions are 90s and multiple champions are 95s). And, no, Tiger wasn’t perfect as a golfer (and a POS as a sportsman!)

            The point being is that we took Velus, Ajene, Uchenna and Wheeler, etc. as projects with potential hoping that coaches could make them great players. We took Blackwell, Farmer, Woods, Lee, Ags, etc. assuming they wouldn’t need too much coaching.

            Well some they do, and some they don’t.

            I really don’t see how my conclusion that our drop off in WR development coinciding with Tee’s promotion to OC is so controversial.

            Maybe I’m wrong. But is the concept really so absurd to warrant an interpretation that I am attacking and blaming Tee?

          • Michael Guarino

            I can’t help thinking you’re on to something big here, hoohoolian. A coach, any coach, can only juggle so many balls in the air at once. I think we just asked Tee to juggle one too many balls this year.

          • hoohoolianFUCLA

            As I said to someone else here: the game will slow down for Tee. Just as Darreus Rogers was he “hot’ guy in Spring three years in a row but failed to live up to that hype until his final year, he did come around.

            I have no problem sicking with Tee, he’s incredibly valuable on so many levels. I trust that he will improve and not need to spend so much time creating the “Tee Martin, OC” “brand.” He has to solve play calling issues each week along with all the other OC duties plus deal with these rookie WRs who don’t have much in the way of teammate-leaders to help.

            After each game new wrinkles are ironed out and Tee will not have to think about what he wants to do when a snap decision is needed, he’ll just do it.

            I doubt that any of us could get into a Formula 1 car and drive it a peak performance in a little over a year.

          • Jack B

            How much coaching does anyone need to learn you don’t turn to run before you catch? That was pre-Pop Warner stuff for our group. And crisp route-running? Freshman year in HS stuff, of course our coach had NFL experience. Not that tough.

            You’ve either got good hands or you don’t. And if you can’t concentrate enough to run solid routes, find the seams and focus on the ball, then you should start listening to your coaches because they are drilling it into you every day already.

          • Michael Guarino

            Which begs the question —-why on earth don’t we have a great, full time wide receivers coach?

          • hoohoolianFUCLA

            NCAA rules allow nine assistant coaches:

            1. TeeMartin Offensive Coordinator / Wide Receivers

            2. Neil Callaway Offensive Line

            3. Tyson Helton Quarterbacks / Pass Game Coordinator

            4. Deland McCullough Running Backs / Run Game Coordinator

            5. John Baxter Special Teams Coordinator / Tight Ends

            6. Clancy Pendergast Defensive Coordinator

            7. Johnny Nansen Linebackers / Recruiting Coord. / Asst. Head Coach

            8. Ronnie Bradford Defensive Backs

            9. Kenechi Udeze Defensive Line

            To add a great, full time wide receivers coach, we would have to get rid of one of the 9 above.

          • Michael Guarino

            Fair enough, my friend. Conceding that all universities are limited to nine assistants, check out how many have wide receiver coaches (and some of them don’t rely on their passing game nearly as much as we do). Personally, I think it makes more sense to have the D-Coordinator double up on duties than the O-Coordinator (I thought Clancy actually LIKED working with the D-backs).

          • hoohoolianFUCLA

            Well, Tee has been great with WRs.

            In 5 years, Tee brought us our first Biletnikoff Trophy, 2 PAC12 Freshman of the year WRs and a PAC12 player of the year WR.

            As for Bradford, we are statistically pretty good on Pass D, 43rd (while Run D is 89th).

            Each game though, I still feel like Iman will give up a long one and commit a PI and that Jack-Jack will fall down, commit a PI and pound his chest several times.

            I was iffy about Nansen moving to LBs as he seemingly has coached all units now, but LBs are our best D unit. CP was coaching LBs in the pros, right?

          • Michael Guarino

            Tee is a great coach —but something is not right with wide receiver development. Dropped balls has been a continuous problem since spring practice. As far as Clancy, I’m pretty sure he ASKED to work with the defensive backs during his last go around.

        • gillyking

          Exactly!! Good example, Jalen Green has given up 3 Pic-6’s from his tipped and not controlled passes right in his hands. Can you say “sure do miss Darreus Rodgers”?

      • Pasadena Trojan

        He needs to open up the play book. He runs the same 10 plays over and over again. yes, Darnold is familiar with them, but there are plays out there that I see that I have not seen USC run. An example is double TE’s on both sides to create an unbalance line and then add a receiver next to the last TE off the line of scrimmage. You can flex the receiver or one of the TE’s out or run from that formation. Matter of fact, I thought of that myself.

        • hoohoolianFUCLA

          Ever notice how, when playing a video game, you make mistakes when learning each level? Looking back you can easily say, I should have done THAT!

          …or even in an argument, looking back: “I should have said ‘THAT'”?

          Same thing. The game will slow down for Tee, but right now, I think he’s still learning. He’s only 15 games into being an OC.

    • gotroy22

      Tee Martin Wonderlic Test Score
      Tee Martin transferred to the University of Tennessee in 1998. Martin served as Peyton Manning’s backup, living through a 17-42 swamping against Nebraska in the BCS National Championship. In his first year as a starter, Tee led the Volunteers to the 1999 Fiesta Bowl and overcame the Florida State Seminoles 20-7. That season, he threw for 2,164 yards at a 19-6 TD/Int ratio. Tee Martin earned a considerably low Wonderlic test score of 11 in preparing for the NFL. He played in the NFL for three years across four teams and currently coaches at the University of Southern California as offensive coordinator.-http://footballiqscore.c$m/wonderlic-score-database/tee-martin

      • USC Heisman 7

        Tee’s team was 13-0 and NC in 98?..

        • gotroy22

          Correct. I double checked Tee’s score ahttp://wonderlictestsample.c%m/nfl-wonderlic-scores/nd they say it was 11 at this site also:

          • USC Heisman 7

            Interesting.. And he’s being considered for a HC job at some point.

    • Michael Guarino

      I’ve noticed the exact same thing, Powerhouse. There is a HUGE difference between the exuberant,confident Tee Martin of last season and the mumbling, unenthusiastic Tee Martin who showed up this year. Is he less involved in play calling? Is there a problem between him and someone else on the staff? If he acts the same around the wide receivers as he acts in post practice interviews, it’s no wonder that corps is hesitant and unsure of themselves.

      • peter

        I know Tysons job description, do he and Tee work well together?

        • Michael Guarino

          The Million Dollar Question, peter!

  • Fred Sampson

    All teams have depth issues, because the talent usually drops off from first to third string, but good coaching staffs have the ability to recognize players who can excel on both sides of the ball, so they flip flop them around a little bit from offense to defense , former USC coach, John Robinson was one of the best at doing that

    • hoohoolianFUCLA

      The depth issues we suffer from are a result of the Sanctions.

      We have the bodies but those bodies lack experience. We have only 12 SRs! We have 20 JRs and 15 Sophs.

      37 FRs. THIRTY-SEVEN!

      With 85 scholarships, the average should be 21 in each class. Even weighted for redshirts, a typical team would have 18 SRs, 19 JRs, 19 Sophs and 29 FRs.

      That leaves us short of 6 SRs-worth of experience and then some.

      • USC Heisman 7

        Chargers are done in LA.. Lol.. USC scared Spanos… NFL is looking to relocate them back to SD once the Raiders are locked in Vegas.

        • hoohoolianFUCLA

          Yeah, uh…I forgot to mention that in my discussion about USC’s depth issues, thanks for covering my back.

          • USC Heisman 7


          • hoohoolianFUCLA

            Did you see the picture of the SF game last night? EMPTY stadium! LOL!!!

            I call it “The Kapernick Effect.” (Not that Katie Perry didn’t drive me away, hard and fast as well!)

            Kneel on THAT, Goodell!

            Sam better declare at the end of the season and get his money while there is still any to be had, because the NFL is D-E-D, dead.

          • USC Heisman 7

            The curse of Colin is in full effect..

  • Trojans 6942

    SW I often get on you about my perception of your football knowledge. But Honestly every time I hear these coaches,the excuses about game film. Think of this, if we take the perspective that against WM they didn’t watch film because they said we had none (wow). Then isn’t it safe to say, the players went into that game unprepared. Now there is perception of speed on film. Joe Pa wore black shoes back in the day while everyone else wore white. He’s reasoning was he felt on film the black shoes made he’s team slower. But as a coach you watch the angle of the opposing teams and how the other team tracks from those angles. Film study seems from their own acknowledgment a issue. That’s mind-boggling.

  • 04Trojan

    I’d be curious to see Tee’s reaction if you actually said something like that to his face. Flow, the ultimate keyboard tough guy.

  • Krystal

    There’s only one thing darker than PAC 12 After Dark….

    • hoohoolianFUCLA

      Katy Perry fan club?
      The heart of a Kardashian/Kardashian fan?
      I can think of a lot of things without even getting political…

      • gotroy22

        Bruin Report Online?

        • hoohoolianFUCLA

          BRO, that sucks!

  • Old Trojans never die

    No wonder Wolf’s column rarely gets outside the Daily whatzit, he cobbles together several snippets from the week for a phone in Friday piece. So I guess we can do the same. So here goes;
    I think we can win without Guston.

    Thank you Mr. Troll. I will give your response all the consideration it deserves and then spread it in the garden with other B.S.

    Tee Martin thinks Texas was faster than Will Farell’s wife.

    I disagree.

  • USC Heisman 7

    It looks like Flowbardi is echoing the great Green Bay Packers coach.. Studying game film is a science, just like recruiting and developing these kids. Some have it and some don’t. The 2 stars are just as good as the 5 stars on equal footing… And there are walk-on that are better than (1,2,3,4,5 stars)..

    These kids are just out of HS and basically learning on the job.

    The depth is there, as shown on the field against Texas, who played us well. We did beat them with a walk on kicker who will be given a scholarship early next week.

    We have to trust the process, we are 3-0 and we have many injuries due mostly to practices that have become competitive liken to the Carroll era..

    We have plenty of the ‘DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH’ they just need a little polishing with in game experience..

    USC 40
    Cal. 21

    • TireBiter


  • jeffrey morse

    Damm Wolfie, we have won 13 in a row since last year and you still nit pick every little nuance of the coaching. Quit your bitching, schoolboy.

  • Jack B

    “There’s only one problem with that: It’s not about them. It’s about you.” So says SW, as though your opponent doesn’t matter. So funny.

    We should just distribute SW’s ridiculous quote to all the CAL players and coaches as proof that they don’t need to worry about Darnold, Carr, Rojo, Green, Smith, Burnett and Jones and all their special qualities.

    According to SW, for the Bears, it’s not about the physical superiority and skill of the Trojans. I just hope CAL decides to walk into this game thinking it’s all about the Bears. They’re about to find out otherwise.

  • Jack B

    SW’s still stuck with DirecTV and can’t watch the Pac-12 Network, What a complete dota*rd.

    Earth to SW. DirecTV isn’t Pac 12 friendly. They don’t like the Dodgers either. Duh.

    I watch the Pac-12 Net whenever I want. Not that tough to figure out.

    • Grammymb

      It’s not that DIRECTV doesn’t like them as much as they refuse to pay the ridiculous price that is being asked.

      • Jack B

        The parties can’t reach an agreement because the Pac-12 wants to retain complete ownership.

        How would you feel about negotiating a deal with someone who insisted on owning a piece of your company, and all that that entails, going forward? Lots of people refuse to sell a piece of the rock for very valid long term reasons. The devil’s in the details here.

        If the Pac-12 works on improving the volume and quality of its content, it will be fine. If it doesn’t, we’ll all suffer and so will the Pac-12.

  • Jack B

    Does SW think Tee should be fired because TEXAS was faster than he thought? Wow. Sounds like a true criminal offense!

    I never knew college film eval allowed for perfect scouting and player evaluation. Amazing!

    We should only hire perfect film scouters from now on. Forget what else they can do. If they can’t tell exactly how fast a player is based on looking at tape, shelve them. Good tip Scott. Please apply for film eval position now.

  • Ed Garrett

    writer up sets me so much but i cant look a way!

    • gotroy22

      You speak so eloquently for all the rah rahs, Ed.

      • Michael Guarino

        I’m not sure who Ed speaks for —-(neither is Ed)…

        • gotroy22

          He is the Voice of a New Generation, like Kenny Banya.

      • USC Heisman 7


  • Pasadena Trojan

    Scooter, what 10 second rule are you talking about? They have 40 seconds in football to get a play off, they have 30 seconds in basketball to get a shot off, so what are you talking about?

    • Clay Russell

      You have 10 seconds to advance the ball across half-court in basketball.

      • Pasadena Trojan

        Thank you, I had a brain fart and I could not remember. But Scooter should have explained this.

        • Clay Russell

          No problem.

    • Michael Guarino

      If only we could get word to Rosen that he officially has 10 seconds after every snap to get rid of the ball this weekend at Palo Alto….

      • USC Heisman 7

        Lol.. Maybe soccer.. Wrestling ..WWF style..

        • Michael Guarino

          Leave it to us to figure out a way of saving UCLA….. Mora can lobby for this next year….

          • USC Heisman 7


  • Evil Robot

    This is getting really confusing. Yesterday SC was supposed to get their best players on the field, in order to beat Cal. Today, they’re supposed to rotate young guys in, to avoid depth problems in the future. Is there some way that SC can line up 13 guys?

    • hoohoolianFUCLA

      We’ve lined-up 10 a few times, so we’re due some balance.

      • Michael Guarino

        Very funny [and it would be a special kind of moment if we actually got to see Helton argue with the officials over putting 13 players on the field by pointing out we only used 10 on the last play]….

  • Rock2112

    Our young receivers are unfocused and that’s the sole reason for all the drops. You can see their eyes coming off the ball before it gets to their hands. That is fixable through coaching but they also need to be more comfortable on the field and that comes with reps. It’s a bad cycle — they get few reps, so they feel too much pressure to make the most of each one, lose focus, drop the ball, and then don’t get more reps. Easiest way to break that cycle is just to FOCUS on the damn ball until the whistle blows, and the rest will work out just fine.

    • hoohoolianFUCLA

      “That is fixable through coaching…”

      I concur, absolutely. Some here, do NOT.

      • Rock2112

        Age old question — can you coach focus into a player? I think, yes. It is a huge part of preparation. But I heard our receivers spent 40 minutes at a time this week on the JUGS machine catching balls, and that won’t do it. Was there a middle linebacker coming at them each time? Were they catching it four yards short of the sticks on 3rd or 4th down and needing a path forward after the catch? JUGS work won’t stop them from peeking away in those situations. You need to drill those moments into their heads, and teach them to focus on catching and securing the ball first.

      • USC Heisman 7

        The WR are young and frightening fast.. These kids want to showcase their speed… Most are anticipating running before catching the ball… The more reps will build their confidence short they all need to run their routes, be in position to catch and run..

  • Ignore_the_trolls

    Texas this year = USC last year. Lots of talent but a new system that is taking a little time to gel. They will lose very few games the rest of the way I would bet.

  • Hector of Troy

    Your envy makes you a pathetic figure. 3rd rate reporter at a 2nd rate paper sniping a wildly successful multi talented fellow USC alumnis. Sad.

  • Gabby

    The theme for Wolf’s 2017 agenda – Blame everything on the coaching staff.