USC Morning Buzz: The Charade Comes To An End At Notre Dame

Notre Dame wide receiver Kevin Stepherson (29), defended by Southern California cornerback Isaiah Langley (24) catches a 23-yard pass for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

USC was exposed after seven weeks of indifferent play and leadership, as I wrote in my analysis from South Bend.

Excerpt: This coaching staff does not improve players. It does not coach them up or dress them down when things go poorly. The Saturday night massacre at Notre Dame was a disaster because there was an alarming lack of emotion on the sideline.

If you cannot win the line of scrimmage, you cannot play with the nation’s best teams. You can prance around the dreadful Pac-12 South but that is hardly the goal, unless you listen to Clay Helton.

Wolf: USC charade comes to an end at Notre Dame

294 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: The Charade Comes To An End At Notre Dame

  1. Is there anyone who’s still keeping the hopes and dreams alive with this team? You must be Helton’s and/or the staff’s family members, relatives, personal agents or business associates if you are. The season’s practically OVAH! Now, just beat the little gutties later!

    • The real problem is that the team isn’t just making errors on personal level, but it’s much more systematic than that. They’re missing tackles left and right. They’re getting destroyed in the line of scrimmage. And more importantly, the team isn’t mentally prepared to play in the real game, which means the coaches aren’t doing their job during the practice. It’s as simple as that!

    • The shot at an NC is over, no question about it. It was a team uninspired, without passion on the field. I didn’t see anyone give it their all, especially tackling. Leadership is not always being the players friend, but telling them what they don’t want to hear also. The staff needs to find a way to instill passion into these guys, the will to win, and so far nobody has been able to do it. They have gone through the motions pretty much all season, and been lucky along the way. I cannot believe the pompous attitude of the blogger.

      • Hey, he took the rish of picking ND big over our Trojans. I thought he was nuts but it turned out he was right once again just as he was about Kiffin and drunk Sark.

          • It’s not about his picking ND, but his pompous bs attitude because he was right for once in his lifetime.

          • What are you talking about? He warned us about Kiffin and drunk Sark. He has been more right than any of those pundits like Chris Fowler on ESPN who drank the SC Kool-Aid.

          • It’s funny. A lot of anger that today should be aimed at Helton, Tee, Haden, Sam and the boys is going to be directed … Scott. Even by smart people who I like…..

          • It was more Herbstreit plugging his idiot buddies
            Kiffy and Snark
            They chased tail and drank together… that’s why all got the boot from their old ladies and all but Herbie keeps getting fired

          • Let’s give the devil his due —that prediction —-which was as much an outlier as his AP votes (which also are turning out to be right), took major ba**s. Nobody was predicting THAT kind of blowout.

          • Even Cowherd didn’t go as far as predicting a multiple touchdown loss —and a USC point total below 20, gt…..

    • Practically? Unless all the teams ahead of us lose 2 games, it is over. We can still win the Pac 12 because, lets face it, there are no great teams out here this year and we will win at home over fuu uucla because they have one of the worst defenses in the nation. Think how bad the Pac 12 is, we are tied for first with basket cases Arizona and ASU. We barely won at home against last place Utah. That is mediocrity, or as the USC SID would spin it, parity.

    • 7 weeks of indifferent play? Have to be more precise, as a journalist – the Stanford game was outstanding. They had one of those in the mix. Can’t leave it out.

      • What’s the significance of that now? Should it prolong Gomer’s tenure at SC one more week as you’re hoping? How much are you getting paid?

  2. It’s unreasonable to expect a team (USC) to play to its maximum without some of its best players fully fit and able to play. You really cannot put a value on Porter Gustin being out for so many games as his disruptive effect on opponents offensive flow is so significant. The defensive line also has real injury problems and the O-line is not any better. The loss of playmakers to early draft (JuJu and Adoree) is something not easily replaced. The projections for this team in 2017-18 were unreasonable; 9-3 and winning the PAC-12 was probably the limit of what is possible this year. The real key is next week against ASU and that I think, is what Coach Helton was aiming at for getting Gustin, Carr, and hopefully Fatu (did not see game last night, not sure he played) back in the lineup. No, next week is the one that will really count to make or break the season, excepting the PAC-12 Championship Game…..if we can win next week…..

    • Are you kidding? Did you watch the game? NBC put up a list of Notre Dame players out for the game that maxed or exceeded SC’s list. N.D.’ Top linebacker was out as well.

      Is this Helton trying to pass as Texas Hoosier?

      Be realistic

      • The individual is clearly disconnected from the reality. Either tactfully or otherwise. lol.

      • No, I am not kidding, and I am not Coach Helton. I have been watching USC football since the Rose Bowl Game of 1962 between USC and Wisconsin, have a Master of Science Degree from USC, Referee High School Football in THE FOOTBALL STATE – TEXAS and really don’t give a damn what Notre Dame’s injury list is. The USC injury list is in spots that were very vulnerable to Notre Dame’s strength’s, notably the ND Rushing Attack which with the graduation turnover and depth of the USC D-Line is really a problem right now. You should follow your own advice and be realistic in terms of what the USC Football team can accomplish this year given the still lingering effects of the sanctions (depth), graduation of personnel off the Offensive and Defensive Line, and loss of the playmakers….and please include where we are played ND and next week at Arizona State. This is at best, a Top Ten team that can get to the Rose Bowl. You just can’t lose two Offensive Tackles to Graduation, two really good playmakers in JuJu and Adoree, most of the Defensive Line to Graduation, then turn around and lose your most experience Offensive Lineman for the season, your #2 Running Back for half the season, and then on top of that, your best defensive player and #2 guy on the team, Gustin, for what seems to be for half the season and against the most important opponents (Washington State, ND, Utah, and maybe, Arizona State). Yes, USC has yet to find an identity this year, continues to flounder in mediocrity, but this is not 2003-2007, this is 2017 after a devastating and deserved set of NCAA penalties and all you have to look at to see how long the effects are is simply ask where is SMU these days – THIRTY YEARS later.

    • The big test for USC was last night. Every team has players out. The problems were much deeper than injuries. It was heart, lack of pride, passion, and desire. They ended up looking like boys playing against men. They were actually flat out looking scared to go out there. That is all accounted for in lack of leadership. Helton is their friend, but not what they need for inspiration.

    • If injuries were like hockey penalties and we played 11 on 9 I would agree with you.

  3. writer and cortez was laffed at and rediculed all year by every one for they opinions like by jack b and that girl gabby, said they had no brane and was bruins and only write what they do to stir the soup, looks like writer and cortez was actauly right all a long, will jack b and that girl gabby admit they was wrong and writer rite? will any one think b4 they be so meen to an other person on the innernets? smdh!

    • Okay! Here goes. Scott was right. Vegas held steady at USC plus four points —-and Scott predicted 21 points (he didn’t foresee twice the usual number of turnovers—or he would have gone with 35 points).
      If I were the Next Coach at USC, I would hire Scott as a consultant —-just to get him off the Daily News & keep him from pointing out deficiencies that no one else is seeing.

  4. The Charade didn’t come to an end and it’s not going to come to an end anytime soon either. Lynn Swann is nothing more than a figure head, a Max Nikias “Yes Man”, he holds no power or authority to make the necessary changes needed in order for the Trojans to be able to compete for National Titles. If USC wanted to compete for national titles they wouldn’t be in the habit of hiring unqualified assistants, they would have hired a head coach with a proven track record of winning. If USC wants to win at a high level then it needs to hire Chip Kelly. If USC is content with being mediocre then stick with Clay Helton. That’s the bottom line, that’s what it comes down to…everything else and all other excuses for this latest installment of a charade is just B.S.

  5. So, who should replace Helton? SC coaching search missed out on Franklin & Herman last time around. Would Hue Jackson be a good fit?

    • Oh, I wouldn’t worry the least about the replacement as I’m absolutely positive there will be better coaches than Helton out there. I would worry more about getting rid of Helton first.

      • Ya, I think LS has been looking for an opening so he could pull the trigger on releasing Helton of his duties. Nottre Dame is his opening!

        • I agree, but we need to have a replacement ready to step in. No ship with out a captain

          • No embarrassing long slow coaching searches where coaches use us for getting raises from their current employers.

        • Swann is intelligent and savvy enough to know not to fire Helton mid season, unlike Haden who did it to cover his miserable butt. Helton will resign by his choice if he continues to lose. That is the type of person Helton is. Who they hire after that I am sure will not come from anything said on this blog. I just hope it isn’t someone that “knows” USC. Those days are over. It for sure would never be someone with the name Dabo or Jimbo.

        • Maybe you could make more money playing the fiddle at the metro station if you wore a sweater vest.

        • Again. I brought up his name three years ago. I think he would be perfect because he would instill toughness and accountability. If USC loses two more games, which is a distinct possibility, then Swann needs to pull the trigger.

    • There was never a search. Hiring Helton was the final piece of the Pat Haden puzzle to destroy USC football.

  6. Winning the line of scrimmage has not been a priority at USC since Pete Carroll was coach, and it’s because the administration keeps hiring coaches, with the exact same philosophies, but expect different results . It’s time to scrape the residue of the three previous coaches off of the SC program, and go hire somebody that builds team from the inside out, and understands physical football. Clay Helton knows how to talk about physical football, but has no idea how to coach it, that’s not who he is .

    • Fred, this began with the Sarkiffin era. For some reason they think the game is 7 on 7, and it has continued with Helton. Let’s face it, the Pac-12 plays patty cake football, we saw that last night, and there is no way in hell we are going to compete with the likes of the Bama, Georgia, LSU; that’s right I said LSU, Coach O has won three in a row, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State with this philosophy.

      • Exactly, and btw, Ed Orgeron was smart enough to surround himself with some of the best coordinators available, unlike Clay Helton, who opted for friends, that wouldn’t threaten his position as head coach.

        • From what I hear, the O-line coach is an old fart who coaches from a golf cart and is constantly ragging on his players instead of teaching them. Can we get back Tim Drevno?

        • The funny thing is this Fred: Any coach who hires second raters to avoid being replaced by an insider is SURE to be replaced by an outsider.
          We’re at a VERY bad place when fans are saying “oh, no—now we’ll never get in!” if the refs give us a 3rd and goal from the two instead of a first and goal from the two. And, let’s face it, that’s what we were all saying after that holding call against Notre Dame in the endzone. [The one where Helton was fighting mad because he wanted 3 more seconds on the clock—-not a first down!—-the fricking time to be screaming was when the refs gave the ball to Notre Dame ON OUR FIRST PLAY IN A TIE BALL SITUATION—-on that play Darnold and Helton just looked off into the sky as though they were both on beta blockers ]!
          Interesting question: Is the coaching staff and team on some kind of medication to calm early game nerves? They sure coach and play like medicated zombies.

    • These Sark type recruits are a recipe for disaster especially with a Gomer coaching these small dumb hood rats

  7. My own quiet observation over the season to date was that the coaching staff wasn’t comensurate with the scale and potential of the program. Last year’s run was nothing short of stunning, but that was last year. The author is correct: USC is not improving. That falls on the coaching staff

    • USC after getting smacked ran through a weak PAC 12 and teams with losing records. They did that by telling a talented kid, Darnold to go out and improvise. It acted like pulling out a single game vs PSU was the national championship. If we felt that was stunning I guess pulling out games against the like of Western Michigan U was breath taking brilliance. It’s not our fault; that’s how low they took our expectations.

    • After the storybook finish things started to go the other way beginning with the feminazis sacking of our reliable kicker and culminating in the injury bug wiping out our OL. Now the Rose Bowl seems years ago.

  8. Out of hundreds of responses only Texas Hoosier had a positive ring to it, and then the SC bandwagon “fans” jumped all over him.

    Get over yourselves. It was only a football game. The boys went up against a superior ball club, that’s all. And they made mistakes immediately to get behind, and that was that. And that is all there is to it.

    Even Swann has said the SC goal every year is to win the Pac-12 South. So let’s win it, and get to the Pac-12 championship game. There is no doubt in my mind that the Trojans will rebound although every game will be a dog fight, including the SUCLA game.

    And what happened to all the Trojan “fans” when SC had that great run last year and won a wonderful Rose Bowl game to be the No. 3 team in the nation? Truth is, Nos 1 and 2 were superior, so even last year there was work to do, and Troy lost a lot of key players. And teams figured out Sam. And our lines just are not strong enough against Alabama and now ND.

    But I would take a Pac-12 Southern title. If you are only happy with a national title then you will be unhappy most years, and will try to make everybody around you miserable as well. That’s what cry babies do.

    So beat Arizona State!

    • I’ll tell you just one thing. How can a true “fan” not be angry and frustrated about a filthily played game like that? I’d say YOU are an unusual “fan” yourself feeling positive about it.

      • He sounds mature enough to have been around the block before, seen it and done it before. Time to put life into perspective, yes it was just a game, and we each took it differently from our own perspective. The sun came up this morning, time to move on. Helton is back at work looking at films I am sure. Nobody is getting fired today. Helton just needs to get transparently passionate about what he is doing.

        • It’s the week before Halloween and SC is eliminated from national championship consideration. That is unacceptable. The sun is obscured by the gloom of failure for the rest of the year.

      • How can a true “fan” not be angry and frustrated about a filthily played game like that?

        That’s been my position after every game except Stanford this season.

      • He is the Sunshine Pumper type of fan who likes to go to the tailgates and shake his pom pom at the game and accept “parity” just like Pat Haden and Nikias.

  9. I was hoping the Stanford game was a potential indicator and the 2nd half vs Utah…WRONG…and wolf is correct… obviously the sham practices in shorts and flipflops, Calif style are the real problem and have been. The ‘O; line neither run blocks or pass blocks, and we have no secondary vs even an avg passing q/b…There is no reason except coaching style, that is the problem. Both schools recruited these athletes out of high school, only one prepared them to be a real potential top college program…it is ND.SC may not even beat the Arizona schools….

    • Gomer let’s his hood rats dress like fools with their cut off pants

      • Thank you. I mentioned that on TOS and it is embarrassing to USC. This crap started against Utah with the black socks. Since when does USC wear red rights under their uniform? This is another example of a lack of discipline under CCH and it needs to stop.

          • I’m too lazy to do the research, Cortez —-but I don’t think Larry ever took it up the shorts as bad as Helton (well, maybe once against a real good Cal team).

        • Jones looked absolutely ridicules in those short pants. He needs to be grown up real quick.

          • I, for one, am sick and tired of his act. It started last year when he said he was a Heisman candidate. Really? All this kid does is run his mouth and celebrate every time he does something remotely positive. He is exactly like the Jackwagon at UCLA, Wadoo. But he had a great game last night. Gets burned for a long. TD and fumbles a punt inside the ten.

  10. Gomer was dressed like a Washington St coach … which is funny he couldn’t coach there either

  11. We are officially Tennessee – Domers made SC quit – and what’s worse laughed about it all night on the sidelines & field – Trojans were physically abused – Any recruit wavering between SC and ND had their mind made up for them last night.
    Non existent tackling again….. No fundamentals on either side of the ball.
    Trojan secondary was scared you could just look at them and see it.
    Didn’t want any part of tackling ND qb or rb’s.

  12. Chip Kelly is NOT the answer. His team’s do not play defense and defense wins championships

    • No one plays D in college football … even Saban gets his torched when he faces a real qb

      • Kelly is not the type of guy Swann will hire. Look who Swann played for, McKay and Noll, not exactly Kelly types.

      • Some truth but it’s a matter of degrees. D is needed and Chip’s brilliance is doing more with less. He doesn’t know how to run a team that needs to more with more. We need the West Coast, fb, te, smash running, throwing the ball all around on quick passes til boom the long ball or bam a big gash of a run. It’s ball control, it protects the d while scoring and still being explosive.

    • Or could Chip play defense when he was forced to use smoke and mirrors to win with 2-3 star recruits? Look how bad Oregon is without him.

  13. We are a banged up football team with a QB that’s like a Ferrari, on about 3 plays a game, and like a pinto on about twice as many plays a game. Does anyone really think this staff coaches to lose? Are they drawing up plays knowing they will not work? No. Most of these coaches are interchangeable, they all go to the same clinics, share thoughts and ideas, etc. this year our guys are either hurt or not quite yet ready, or unfortunately over rated. Ask Jimbo fisher how he is doing with his injury situation. I assume before this season started everyone on these boards would have loved to trade coaches with FSU. Now I am sure that guy is a bum too and can’t coach. I am myopic too, I thought we would win this game. But if you are mad about only having the chance to win the PAC 12 and play in the rose bowl, you have expectations for this team that do not line up with reality. This isn’t 1975 anymore. Fight on!!!

    • Never the less, it is well known that there are really great coaches, and really average coaches. I believe we are stuck with the later. The play calling is cringe-worthy much of the time…you groan and ask yourself, “WHY did they try that AGAIN?!” As for the players, everyone knows about the injuries. Anyone paying attention knew before the season how thin the team was/is in the key positions that made SC great last year. The Ferrari was gutted by the NFL.
      Injuries are what they are. Great coaches adjust accordingly. I’m holding back on calling Darnold “Sam The Sham” but he is proving every week to be a shadow of his former self. Can’t pin that on the coaches…unless they have negatively influenced his style of play or mindset. Who knows?

      • I agree. I am a Helton fan simply for his character. We had 2 clowns prior to Helton. He provided some stability when we needed it. I had hoped he would be the guy, most likely he is not. Although if we win out and go to another Rose Bowl, good luck getting rid of him. Once some of these younger players mature, especially at line of scrimmage, we will be a better team. Sam cannot carry a team, he is way too turnover prone. Ironically we need to play like ND. We need to run it 60% plus. Right now, that can’t happen, our line cannot manage it. So we will rely on a QB that will make mistakes. Sometimes it will be great, and there will be days like yesterday. I expect them to win out with a whole bunch of ugly games.

        • I’m cynical as hell now. I expect them to lose to ASU at Tempe next week, and either Arizona or ucla. Yes. ucla… it’s their bowl game.

          • It’s hard not to be cynical, but I honestly think Helton will try and rally the troops. They did not quit last year, here’s hoping.

          • They sure quit yesterday. Helton couldn’t rally a boy scout troop, he’s in over his head, always has been.

    • Bruin here. That argument doesn’t hold water: even with injuries, Southern Cal still has the best overall talent in the conference. Coaching matters – welcome to our world.

      • Jim Harbaugh a great coach? He lost a ton of talent too. How’s that playing out this year. Young talent is not even close to the same as experienced talent.

  14. Where are all the people who spouted a win is a win”? The flaws were obvious and yet a large number of people here were attacking wolf (and to a lesser extent, me) for pointing out those flaws.

    When you win ugly time after time, that ugliness eventually keeps you from going to the big dance.

    I don’t love USC football to see the team be bowl eligible. USC wins championships. Anything less than contending for the NC is a FAIL! We haven’t been playing NC football except for possibly the 2nd half of Stanford and the 2nd half of Utah. Even PhDs attacked the truth of our flawed football program like it the Milankovitch theory (sorry, look it up. Yeah, call me a denier that 2016 USC football has been ready and qualified for the CFP).

    Swann was correct after the Rose Bowl last January: If we were back, we would be playing for the NC.

    You people can call for Helton’s head, but that isn’t going to happen unless we lose 3 of the final 4 or more.

    • Losing 3 of the final 4 is a real possibility, I think it can happen with 2 losses

        • We should beat UA and fuucla in the friendly confines of the Coliseum. Next week will be the test if Helton has lost the team and Tarmac II happens. I think we bounce back and Helton saves his job.

          • We’ve had trouble down in Tempe. My first heartbreak there was in 1978, losing our only game and almost costing us the NC because our #3 C was not prepared.

            We smacked Alabama — in their house — but ended up sharing the title with them.

          • I for some reason don’t think a win over AZ is going to right the ship. They can go through the motions again and probably win, but the USC football team has little heart, little emotion, and zero passion.

    • I thought we were going to be like the 69 Wild Bunch that won ugly, but I was wrong. The Wild Bunch tied ND and never quit.

  15. EXPOSED!

    Gomer has been a joke since the beginning.

    Trash talking Jack Jones (Toast jr) was burnt deep, fumbled a punt on the goal line and was called for holding which erased a good defensive stop.

    USC looked lost as they have looked all year…ND was able to have their way on both sides of the ball and on special teams.

    Gomer should resign this morning…


  16. I just did the calculations and we’re not out of the CFP: We just need 43 losses between the teams ahead of us, and since our offense is improving every week, we can back into the CFP with pride.

    Even if we lose one more, a total of 519 losses between the teams in front of us might still get us in.

    Regardless, at least we don’t wear baby blue and yellow.

    • As revolting as it sounds, we need to get back our swagger to beat the guys in baby blue. We need it back fast. Luckily, we have Coach Helton to toughen our guys up with talk like “I still love these guys —they’re sad and hurting right now, but they’re still my heroes.” That ought to do it!

      • The only problem with that is that beating the mediocre Pac 12 and the defensless f uuclans is nothing to swagger about. Winning last night would have been something to swagger about.

        • Agreed, marv. But I’m worried we might not even beat the bruins. Helton needs to do the one thing he hates doing —-act like a Head Coach and give this team hell —-not a quarterback coach who gives his mentee lots of love.

          • Don’t worry fuu ucla has many more problems than we do. They really are bad with no defense and no depth. At the Coliseum we will roll.

          • Time for someone in leadership of this team to get REALLY pissed off and chew some serious butt, sit a few players, and get some discipline going.

      • I thought there was NO chance that…

        –Miamiscum would skate on the worst corruption ever exposed in college football.
        –UNCheaters would skate after 2 DECADES of academic fraud.
        –Dupe would keep the 88 racist professors on staff who said they don’t care if the white boys (lacrosse) were falsely accused, they are still scum because they are white.

        There is ALWAYS a chance. (There is no Karma)

      • Stats are great (not as great as wine, stats never got me a woman!) Stats are what they are, hard to spin numbers to tell a lie (unless you’re promoting Man-made Global warming).

        As a teacher, I have always wanted rock solid facts when putting things into print. Stats have always been there for that.

  17. We’ve all been BLASTING Wolf for his observations and opinions of this year’s SC team. Now, as it turns out, he’s been right all along. The team came apart like a $9.99 plastic crash car last night. SC football will be going nowhere with Helton and his stooges at the helm. Alas…

  18. I’m glad all our guys are non abrasive now!
    I’m sure other coaches really respect that in a staff. Opposing players too!

  19. All right, all right I agree! As much as I feel it would hurt the team I think it’s time again for Tarmac and feathers.
    I saw a team go from bottling up the Irish offense to surrender in one play.
    Why was there a bad snap? That must be practiced a thousand time per week and yet our college senior cannot pass the ball between his legs? Nevermind the thought that refs took the ball away and gave it to the other team. It was the act of giving up based on that one play that sticks out.
    The Trojans earned their moniker by fighting like like Trojans. Last night they earned the new name “abused puppies.”
    I hold the coaching staff directly responsible for this unprepared showing. Refs, injuries, quitters and blown assignments are just excuses. These things are fixable but our “coaches” do not seem to know how. Time to move on from the feel good nice guy era and hire some leadership. Limp on abused puppies.

          • Sam has just been “a guy” this year. Contrary to what the blogger and some posters believe, the defense has been covering up for Sam’s mistakes all year and mostly carrying him. All it took was a big, athletic, physical team to make a defense repeatedly put in bad situations, break. There was more to the loss, but we would’ve had to play error free against that team to win.

          • A while back, you correctly pointed out that Sam, like Johnny Manziel, needed to play with more discipline to compete at a higher level. At least Johnny Football’s deficiencies didn’t show up until he got to a higher level.

          • I think Sam was looking over and thinking about the defense and the snap was a sharp one. If you’re focused on getting the snap, you don’t react late and push the ball up in the air like that, you catch it. It’s a small thing, but the small things kill you. Sam’s game has not refined and it’s been clear since opening day. Again, there was more to the loss than Sam, but we had a picture perfect start to that game and Sam got the snowball rolling downhill in a big way. You can do that against Utah and get away with it, but not with Touchdown Jesus watching.

          • Fink bobbled one of those errant snaps too. There is obviously an issue at center. They switched to using a leg signal at one point which means they were trying to fix the issue during the game. Hahahaha during the game! Who needs practice?

          • The snap from center was an issue the first couple games of the year too. Still, I expect you to catch the snap that hits both your hands at shoulder height.

          • I believe that to be spot on. Even yesterday the defense kept us in it for a while, but there was zero production from the offense. Sam being the main reason. We all know what SW thinks of Sam, greatest QB in program history, but it is not the case. the defense is continually behind the 8 ball and when healthy, they answered the bell. Yesterday they got tired and wore down. The best friend a defense has is a running game and an offense that does not turn it over. That’s just not Sam or the offense right now.

          • The offense that Stanford runs is the type that best fits Sam’s skill set. It’ s a proven system, especially when you go against under-sized front 7’s. If Sam played at Stanford I could see them competing for nattys. I see a lot of parallels between Sam darnold and Andrew Luck.

            We all remember the success Stanford had when Andrew Luck was running the show

          • Never thought of it until you said it, I think he is like Luck. The only difference is luck can throw it through a brick wall, Sam does not have the same arm. But I sure wish he would get under center, with a fullback, and run it right at teams. Play action, bootlegs, tight ends who can block and catch, and throw it over their heads. Any chance we can wrestle Shaw away from the farm?

          • BINGO!……sam’s arm strength is better then a majority of current NFL plays, accuracy is a different story.

          • So true. Now it’s in his head and the team’s collective psyche. We’ll need to pull the nose up.

        • It was 90% on Sam. He looked asleep on the bad snap. Seriously. And he walked off the field without even disagreeing with a very questionable turnover call. The NBC cameras gave us a look at a very resigned Sam and Head Coach on the sidelines. What does it take for these guys to get pumped up?

          • The loss was definitely on the coaching staff, marv [I was just referring to losing the snap on the first play —–and bobbling the ball in the air like a Warner Brothers cartoon character].

          • I’ve re-watched the fumble several times, Clay. A lot of guys would’ve saved possession on that play —maybe even most guys. I really wonder what’s going on with Sam —-he seems shot. Even hobbling off the field and, then, yelling at the trainers “I’m fine” and trotting back out —-seemed in keeping with the weird mind thing he seems stuck in.

          • Once the game was lost he unnecessarily risked aggravating his injury and not being available next week. Helton should have sat him and let Fink play the garbage time.

          • Looking back, when it got to 28 to nothing, maybe we shoulda just put in all the subs and started thinking about Arizona State….

          • It was actually the 2nd time he got up limping. I could see why he was limping after seeing what happened to his foot that 2nd time. I think Sam is trying to process more information than he was last year. I’m hoping that most of this is just growing pains.

          • Please don’t get me wrong on this one, Clay. I didn’t mean to suggest Sam didn’t think he was hurt or that he was playing for sympathy. Any time you come up from a tackle feeling pain in your ankle the dumbest thing you can do is ignore it. I was referring to the way he was acting on the sidelines. The time to shine was over. The opportunity to rally the troops was over. If you had some doubt over your ankle ONE minute earlier, call it a day. It just seemed like a weird time to start getting pumped up for the game.

          • I get what you’re saying, but I think that was more about the duty of leadership. Guys are looking to Sam to lead them and I think their faith is well placed.

          • Was there ever visual evidence Sam lost the ball before hitting the ground? He did have solid possession of it.

          • I have a 120″ screen, from my perspective, I could not see the ball secured in his arm. For the original called to be reversed the official would have to have seen, from video replay, that the ball was in his arm and clearly had control of it

          • The ref was calling it a turnover before the play was over! And Sam and Helton just took that ruling without even a wince. It wouldn’t have made a difference on that play—-but, in my opinion, their passivity set the tone for some weird calls after that.

          • The play was over when the whistle was blown, whether there was still progress or not. I couldn’t hear a whistle, did you hear one?

          • I get it, Gabby —-but have you ever in your life seen a ref giving the bobbling sign and blowing the whistle before the quarterback was fully on the turf? I never have.

          • At the time I was freaking out but later I realized we just were flat for some reason. ND dominated us on both sides of the line.

          • ND is a last second FG away from being undefeated. They have the schedule to make it to the playoffs

          • When they lost to Georgia I didn’t think much of it but now that game was very much an indicator of both teams.

          • Georgia and Alabama are on a collision course, if the game is close the loser still might get in only because it’s the SEC

          • …or, as they say in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, “blood under the bridge…”

          • Frankly, my friend, I think Churchill is more what we need this week. Is he available?

          • Yeah —something’s wrong —it should be easy to laugh at Lawrence O’Donnell when he’s having a she-fit cuz he’s ‘hearing noises’…..

        • One small problem with that dream if Sam is dreaming it: I don’t think that’s what Khalil Tate or Josh Rosen is dreaming about.

          • Relax, you`re forcing it…..walking on the beach is a good tension reducer……are the trade winds blowing?

          • I think all the great ones have that dream when things get tough —it’s what gives them that special edge. [Sorry for the facetiousness, Gabby —-I hear you—I just know that in all competitive fields there comes a time when you have to say “catch fire!” to yourself —-and postpone—not abandon— daydreams of days past with mom at the beach].

  20. This is the kind of loss I expected during the reduced scholarship/sanctions era. A loss to Washington State and a performance like last night’s at ASU is what got Kiffin fired in 2013.

  21. A team with a ton of talent, but inadequate leaders, can occasionally pull it together, as they did against Stanford. But most of the time, they will underachieve, look lost, display lack of discipline, make the same mistakes over and over again, flub relatively simple tasks. What this team does the rest of the season will be purely on the players, because they know there is no leadership coming from the coaches. The players are on their own out there. If they win from here on out, then it will tell us more about their heart, and whom among the players can lead. Can you imagine being one of the players, and watching your coach smile and put his arm around Kelly at the end of the game, after having your a** handed to you?

    • The win over Stanford was Fool’s Gold. They lost to San Diego State who was drubbed by Fresno State last night.

      • Tedford has worked a miracle at Fresno State in his 1st year with them. 5 wins and 2 losses (Washington and Alabama) with a team that was 1-11 last season.

        Some do more with less, while other do less with more. (My choice over Helton was one such coach at Utah).

        • Whittingham’s comments after the USC loss showed which team has the smarter coach.

          You would probably have preferred Peterson, but USC could have done a lot worse that Whittingham.

          The TCU coach campaigned for an interview.

          I was under the impression that Franklin was interested.

          I thought Chip Kelly would do very well with USC’s recruiting power. There is speculation now that he might get a call from UCLA, and IMO, that combo might be bad news for USC. USC has built-in recruiting advantages over UCLA, but a fanatical renegade like Kelly attracts players because of himself, not his school (can’t really say that about Mora or his predecessors, post-Vermeil).

          All speculation…as it the more imminent issue: Nikias will probably get fired over the med school scandal. If you were Swann, how would you play it, regarding CH?

          • I would be happy to see Nikias go. He and Haden made a mess of USC Football.

            I think Helton needs to stay for a while simply because rolling over coaches (4 coaches in 5 years??? No!) is not good for a program.

            Hey Ben,

            Expectations are why we are angry with Helton. Had we gone 8-5 last season — especially with Darnold being a little less heroic — we wouldn’t have expected the playoffs and Helton wouldn’t be on the hot seat.

            Say we start the season without Darnold being hyped as the Heisman front-runner and likely #1 pick in the Draft, and the team a shoo-in for the CFP with the consensus being that we have a good shot at winning the South and likely going 9-3 or 10-2. Even with the inability for any single unit to play a full game does not look so horrible with us being 6-2 at this point.

            Helton was not just chosen to get the victories. He was also chosen for stability and maintaining a moral team — the last point I railed about when Osa and Hill got booted. (Boermeester was railroaded). Another reason why Kyle Whittingham (not to be confused with Tyrone Willingham!!! How I wish HE were still coaching our opponents!) was my first choice to replace Sark.

            Helton needs to bring the hammer down on Tee and Clancy, all the other coaches AND the players.

            –Clancy’s D has been mediocre and inconsistent. This is ANOTHER major blowout loss with his D. USC should not be allowing 40 points to anyone. Refusing to rotate has us playing kids who are less-prepared than they should be.

            –Tee is obviously not as good an OC as he is a WR coach. As I have said before: I believe he is overwhelmed with the requirements of an OC; he has neglected the WRs, the play calling and his responsibility to push the coaches under his rule.

            — The players are back to “playing for Clay” they way they did the first time they “played for Clay” — Colorado 2015.

            No one had a problem with any of the coaches in July. Even the D’s performance in The Rose Bowl wasn’t an issue. But every game this season — including Stanford — has had some pretty ugly stretches for at least on unit. This IS a coaching issue. Doug Williams had one brilliant quarter and it just happened to be in the Super Bowl. His Moment in History. Maybe the final 9 games of the 2016 season were Clay Helton’s Moment in History.

            I ask again: Where are all those people who were spouting, “detractors of Helton’s hire were OBVIOUSLY wrong” now?

          • I think that the PSU team was better than I had thought at the time.

            I am not as clear as you purport to be regarding Clancy P. He seemed to thrive under Ed O., and not to do horribly on his return. Is he “THE D Problem” or is it more complex than that? I’m just not 100% sure about that. Do you blame Clancy for USC going down 21-0? If not, I can see how things spun out of control after that, regardless of Clancy’s coaching. Injuries to the front seven have been severe.

            It’s hard to take issue with your critique of Tee, or of Coach Baxter.

            I think Swann is in a tough spot. Nikias’s job is probably shaky. How does that impact Swann?

            Plus, if he lets Helton stay on for “continuity’s sake”, and works with him to clean house on the coordinators, what happens in a year if Helton remains a problem? The next coach likely cleans house again. Expensive, and that discontinuity shakes up recruiting again. IMO, it’s become tricky. It would have been much shrewder for Haden to have let Coach O run his course, for better or worse, and it it turned out badly, to start over with a totally new leader who inspired maximum confidence? Sark did little of that from the very start…

          • Certainly total yards are a part of being down 21-0, too (actually 14-0, then JackJack). Their first 11 drives:

            Drive #1 Stuffed. Good start.
            Drive #2 1st TD: 3 plays, 51 yards.
            Drive #3 2nd TD: 10 plays, 79 yards.
            4th drive STUFFED.
            After we miss aFG, They fumble.

            At this point, the game is sill very winnable for us.

            3rd TD: Jack-Jack made a flesh wound (14-point deficit) into a lost limb.

            The D could put a tourniquet on and save our lives and maybe set up a miracle finish, but:

            Drive #7 4th TD: 7 plays, 59 yards.
            Drive #8 Run out the clock before halftime.
            END 1H
            Drive # 9 5th TD: 8 plays, 65yards.
            Where are the halftime adjustments?

            …the wheels are completely off
            Drive #10 6th TD: 1 play, 84 yards.
            Drive #11 7th TD: 5 plays, 52 yards.

            I think Ronnie Bradford should be the first to go. #70 in the country in passing yards yielded won’t fly in the PAC12. BUT Pendergast is a DB coach and he doesn’t intervene? Iman and JackJack are not improving? Bradford is the easiest head to roll first. Was Adoree destined to win the Thorpe regardless of coach or was Bradford significant?

            As bad as the OL is, at least Callaway got the OL together in 2016. And Callaway has had injuries galore to deal with. When was the first time the Toa, Brown, Falah, Viane and Chuma played together this year? WMich? Not in Spring and I’m not sure they played together at all in Fall. Falah and Brown are the only ones to play all season, too. So I find it reasonable to cut Callaway some slack (not much).

            Right this minute, I’d be looking for a WR coach (to give Tee less responsibility), fire Bradford and give the DBs to Clancy.

      • Yo, Marv. It’s matchups, not rankings. Stanford had an inexperienced front 7, and USC’s front 7 was healthy.

    • On the plus side: Helton didn’t kiss Kelly on the lips (like he looked like he wanted to do…)….

  22. Using a four man front on the first series, having split backs at times, and having Jack Jack to return punts smelled of desperation. Under normal circumstances those 3 ideas might be good strategies, but when the team is trying to cover up these obvious areas of deficiencies, it is easy to smell out and exploit. I give the staff credit for trying. The poor execution and the lack of discipline needed to implement shows that the staff isn’t connecting with the players. Can see why Kenny Bigelow retired.

    BTW Jack Jones is a baller that had a bad game. Steven Mitchell shouldn’t be addressing the ND crowd with a Fight On after having scored but still down 20+ points.

  23. “I’m embarrassed,” USC safety Chris Hawkins said. (ALL TROJANS SHOULD BE)

    “I don’t think that’s the case,” Martin said. “We’re getting better and better every week.” (DELUSIONAL)


    “We were fighting for our dignity (against Notre Dame),” USC linebacker Cameron Smith said. (DIGNITY WAS LEFT OUT ON THE FIELD)

    “There’s still a lot to play for,” Helton said. “We control our own destiny.”(DELUSIONAL)

    “We’re going to sulk and look at the film for a day or two,” USC quarterback Sam Darnold said. (THAT’S THE FIGHTING SPIRIT WE ARE LOOKING FOR!)

    Brian Kelly said, “This game will be won by who’s more physical.
    I think when you run for 370-something yards and you hold them to 70-(something), I think we know who the more physical football team was.” (UNDERSTATEMENT…WE KNOW A GOOD OLD FASHIONED BEAT DOWN WHEN WE SEE ONE)

    Brian Kelly said, “Those guys that were there in that locker room decided that what was most important was to bring Notre Dame football back to the standards that it needs to be at.” (CONTRAST THIS WITH HELTON’S LIMP WRISTED COMMENTS)


      • They should except they always have this choke gene that kicks in right when they are ready to take that big step to national pominence.

      • Helton isn’t lazy. [ Notice I’m not commenting on the rest of your post]……

  24. Enough is enough.

    USC needs to go back and have full contact full speed practices. Only hitting on one day when the NCAA permits two days is just a dumb decision.

    If USC wants to be a tough, physical team, then they’ve got to do it at practice.

    Otherwise, a game like last night is just going to happen again.

  25. Hey blogger, ask Helton tonight if he would consider adding another full contact practice.

    If he hedges on his answer, then we know for sure that Helton doesn’t want to be a physical team. Just ask him about making one more day about full speed and full contact.

  26. BTW: Where are all those people who were strutting around last December and January spouting: “All of you who doubted Helton were CLEARLY wrong”?

    My response had been and still is: We will not know if Helton was the right choice for at least 10 years. The right choice is someone who has USC contending for NCs like Saban and Meyer does.

    Last December, I also said: I don’t care if Helton wins 10 games every season, without NCs, we are nothing.

  27. We aren’t mathematically eliminated from the CFP yet. I added, and subtracted, so there.

  28. 0-4 in the next four games is a possibility if we play the way we did last night.

    Helton needs to review the film with the team and teach the players how to fix the mistakes they made and the practice those things so they don’t happen again.

    This season is starting to feel like a repeat of 2012. I hope it ends differently.

  29. I have a different theory after watching the game. The team is demoralized by compound events outside their control. When the referees don’t blow the whistle fast enough on the first USC play and hand the ball to the opponents, the players recognize this is going to be yet another rigged game. They figure, “how can we win with multiple players out with injuries and the refs calling the game against us?” It’s called “the luck of the Irish” – translated the cheating of the Irish. Same thing happened at Washington State – a game with three days to prepare and the Pac-12 refs calling the game to keep whoever is losing to get back into the game — for TV ratings. U. of Washington has a cupcake schedule. Notre Dame was given two weeks to prepare to USC. USC should seriously consider forming a difference at large conference because this sort of cancer has infected the whole game. It is reflective with what is happening in the rest of the country – especially with kangaroo courts replacing our legal system (witness Matt Boermeister and Title 9 corrupted by Federal money, or Restraining Order Courts that issue restraining orders with no evidence once again because of Federal money, or environmental courts for farmers to plow over a pond on their land with fines of $100,000 per day or month for despoiling a small patch of land that could never sell for $100,000). It’s called “social justice” but it is injustice.

    • You gotta love the blame game scenario. Just point your finger at everyone else and that absolves you from any accountability. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. What is your excuse for the poor WMU game, the lousy Texas performance, the anemic effort against Utah, and the ill prepared effort at WSU? The first thing that everyone involved with this team should do is get a mirror, and look right into it, because that is where they will find their biggest problem. Accountability starts with improving yourself. Excuses are for losers!

  30. USC will still win the pitiful P12 South, unless the players decide to just start mailing it in. I doubt that will happen.

    As long as we’re playing teams that are weak in the trenches we are fine and capable of our Winning Ugly ways.

    We’ll still romp all over the baby bruins in the Coliseum on 11/18 and Helton will pronounce all is better after the glorious victory, hugs all around. We might still even play for the P12 championship, but this USC team and staff can’t play with the big boys.

    Hopefully, Swann forces Helton to make some serious staff changes. That’s our only hope, in the short run. In the long run, USC needs a HC who’s not just a cheerleader still talking about controlling our own destiny. Helton’s own destiny was changed forever after USC’s worst loss in 50 years last night.

    Fight On! Beat the Sun Devils if possible!

    • As a kid, I remember the 1966 USC – ND game. 51-0. This one, however, was much worse, as Trojans never competed last night after that first defensive series.

      • Ya, we wimped out big-time last night from start to finish. The dedicated Trojans I watched the game with lost interest at 21-0 and only occasionally watched the rest of the game, which looked much worse for USC than the score indicated IMO.

        That was some beat down. eh?

        Got to give SW credit for the call here. I thought going in USC would probably lose a close one in South Bend. but I had no idea of what was about to unfold.

        • Yep, the score didn’t completely indicate how bad it was. I kept watching with the hope that they would pull it together. It just got worse. All the way to the end, where Helton practically hugged Kelly with congratulations, warmth, and smiles. This, after Kelly ran a 4th quarter flea-flicker type play just to humiliate the Trojans.

          • There could be some payback for that in the future. Kelly kind of made a bad decision on that one play that may haunt him years from now.

          • The bellicose Kelly’s got his own problems. USC just wasn’t ready to compete at any level last night.

            I think we did enough humiliating of ourselves without worrying about Kelly.

            At least now I can say I watched USC’s most miserable loss on TV. Actually saw it happen. I missed the 51-0 slaughter because I was playing in a Pop Warner game.

            Helton took about as big a step back as you can take in one game with this one. Hopefully Swann gets in his face about it but I doubt it since it wouldn’t help really and since according to Helton, we still control our destiny. Things look bleak from here when talking about USC’s realistic level of expectations.

          • I was driving home from the watching the debacle with the Atlanta Alumni Club so I missed the fourth quarter…. Kelly really did that? What a d*ck move. That kind of class puts him right up in the Mora Hall of Fame.

          • I’m glad you noticed that hug, trojan_1972. It was what you expect from a hostage survivor. Can you imagine McKay or Carroll bending over like that after a late rout flea flicker? Not in a million years. They would’ve called Kelly on it —if not with words, with a fast slap of the hand and a hard look before they turned away. No wonder the team plays soft.

        • I thought you were wrong when you said it was gonna be tough and I thought Scott was crazy for predicting a rout. I owe you BOTH big apologies! [But I thought it was kinda funny that all the trolls were screaming at you last night for saying it was going to be an easy win —-when it was me who said it]……..

      • Before the 1966 game, my brother and I went down on the field and I threw a miniature football to him in the end zone. We always kind of blamed ourselves for sullying the field and causing the loss.

        • I remember listening on the AM transitor radio in the back yard and wondering how things could go that bad.

          • Believe me, it was not easy to watch, gt…..sorta like yesterday. Again, a bunch of guys let themselves be used by Notre Dame as they made a point for the polls. McKay swore things would change —and they did. Following year we beat them in South Bend. Assistant Coach Craig Fertig couldn’t hold back the laughter when he told me, “We beat the hell outta them.” Clay Helton doesn’t have what it takes to make McKay’s vow.

    • In addition to staff changes, Helton needs to change the hitting /physicalityculture, and do it quick.

      USC needs to hit more and have more full contact practices. The NCAA allows two days of full contact. USC only has one day where they do full contact.

      I think it’s no surprise USC got outmuscled last night. That’s directly connected to the practices.

    • I see Swann giving Clay another season but with a new OC and DC and that both of them pick.

    • Well look at who crawled out of the Bunker!
      Welcome back, Dummy!
      Hah, hah, hah, hah, hah.
      Nice prediction of victory over ND!

    • ND’s Kelly changed all his coordinators after 2016. But Kelly had already proven himself to a much greater extent than CH has proven himself.

      If Nikias survives the med school scandal, the fix must be in.

      So if you were Swann, what would YOU do, all things considered?

      P.S. ASU’s last two wins were Wash. and Utah (AT Utah).

  31. The refereeing was shady for sure, but Notre Dame would have won anyways. Darnold is turnover machine, and coaches failure to prepare the team is evident with another slow start, except this time the offense never got going.

  32. I hate to say it, but I’m not worried about recruiting with this coaching staff. Even if we get 25 5*s, this staff will not develop them.

  33. I’ve watched every game this year and last night was
    weak, sorry a** football…
    That was sorry football…
    Sorry-a** Football…
    The players have been cheated by Helton The Kentucky brain trust.
    Weak, soft, sorry a** football…
    Weak, sorry football.
    Not even close to being ready…
    ASU has athletes…
    USC looks soft…
    ASU is licking their chops…
    There is nothing worse than playing soft… USC is soft…
    Maybe Swan will meet Helton after the game on the Tarmack next week?
    Weak, Soft, Sorry a** football…

  34. There were bad snaps, boggled kick returns, boggled field gold snaps and kicks, blown assignments in the secondary, LBs not flowing to the ball, the WRs TEs RBs and OLs all didn’t know who they were blocking, the QB threw one into double coverage, the WRs got confused on what route they were supposed to be running, a few off side penalties… The one thing at least was not an unnecessary roughness penalty but then again, the last thing the team has been taught is roughness. lol

    People may miss the Pete Carroll days but the ClaySarkiffin habit of not having physical practices makes sense though if ya know you’re not developing players so you’re afraid of injuries. -_-

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