USC Morning Buzz: Some UCLA Candidates And Report Card

USC Trojans safety Chris Hawkins (4) sacks UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) during the second half of an NCAA college football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. USC Trojans won 28-23. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

First, here are my 10 candidates for the UCLA coaching job.

10 candidates to replace Jim Mora at UCLA

And now on to the USC-UCLA report card:


Sam Darnold was far from perfect and he should not have allowed the clock to expire on his run to end the first half. At the same time, why didn’t USC have any timeouts left? Was that Darnold’s last game at the Coliseum? Clay Helton better hope not.



Ronald Jones, who has gained more yards than LenDale White and Reggie Bush, cannot average more than 4.4 yards per carry against UCLA? But I blame this more on the offensive line than Jones. He usually is ready to play but gets hard-done-by his linemen. And whatever happened to the running back rotation that Clay Helton said was so important? And why not give Stephen Carr a few carries?



Can anyone defend offensive line coach Neil Callaway? The offensive line schemes are pretty bad when USC can’t rush for more than 153 yards against a defense that surrenders 302 yards every game. How many times does it feel like a running back gets the ball and is immediately facing defensive linemen who just slipped past the line schemes? We could talk a lot longer about Chuma Edoga and his personal foul.



They put some pressure on Josh Rosen at key times and Uchenna Nwosu broke up two passes, as usual. Nwosu also was offsides once, as usual.



How many times did UCLA throw a short pass over the middle and get a long gain? I think it’s fair to say sometimes this position gets overlooked for some poor performances.



Instead of getting better, the secondary is getting worse. Jack Jones has given up 4 TDs in the past 2 games and did not want to speak to reporters after the game. He also gave up a 41-yard pass against UCLA. But he isn’t the only one. The fact is every corner is average . . . or worse. But the biggest problem is Clancy Pendergast will not adjust his coverages.



That was a great trick punt return executed by Michael Pittman. But what about the four penalties on special teams including two personal fouls on the kickoff team? That should not be happening in Week 12.



USC committed 11 penalties for 115 yards. How is this happening in the 12th game? When will Clancy Pendergast switch coverages to protect Jack Jones? USC could not run against UCLA! A five-point win over a 16-point underdog?

Clay Helton must make staff changes. Or Lynn Swann must order them in a more likely scenario.

The fans spoke with their silence at the end of the game. Everyone is tired of desultory performances week after week.


110 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: Some UCLA Candidates And Report Card

  1. Maybe if UCLA spends 7 million to hire a super coach and UCLA starts challenging for the national championship each year and we go 8-4 and lose to ND and the Bruins each year and we start seeing planes flying above LA with banners saying ‘fire Max Nakias’……….maybe then we’ll get serious about football at USC.

    • UGLY is delusional. They will never have a football type of culture. Their idea of a successful season is going 1-10 with the 1 win being a victory against USC. They are that pitiful. Its a loser mentality.

        • Squatter, just a reminder, Rosen is 0-3 against USC, you are drunk as always, and yes I have paid my tax bill so ugly can exist. Wish I didn’t have to pay that tax bill.

      • I heard they were offering Kelly 7 million. You don’t need to offer a coach 7 million for a 1-10 season.

          • I never said it was true. I don’t know whether it is true. They are paying a lot of money to get rid of him. They owe him 12.36 million and then they have to hire another coach. They’re going to hire a good coach for $100,000. All I was saying to Ray is that you don’t need to do all that stuff just to get a 1-10 season.

    • You are correct. Max is a real issue. He could care less about football. I hope Swann can make the changes he wants w/o having to take it to Max. I thought Sample really got it, and I think he would have fought the sanctions. Max is a politically correct axx.

      • I still want to give Helton a chance. What he has done so far has been positive. This guy is still learning on the job. He might evolve into a great coach. But if he doesn’t work out then you must go out and hire a winner and the fans, boosters, doners, and alumni must put pressure on Max and his politically correct BOT’s.

    • I would give money for that but it would have to be as you say, to “Fire Max.” For those who don’t care about athletics just look at what he did to the medical school. There is no point in looking for good coaches until, as the students like to say, the culture changes.

        • Jackov,

          Pretty soon, you’ll start missing Mora and Slick Rick because your new coach will be even worse than they were.


          • Poor Owns —he says the program is doing “much better” now that Mora is gone. Really? How many games have they won since Sunday?

          • Yeah MG, the little gutties must be full of hopes and dreams that their miserable football team will be world beaters with a new guy, but the history will repeat itself and they’ll always come up short of winning anything meaningful. LOL!

  2. Of all the candidates mentioned, Kelly is by far the most attractive one with the most illustrious coaching career thus far. Probably too much so for a football team that’s mediocre at best, such as sucla. And some big questions need to be answered: Does the team have the personnel to learn and execute his style of fast-paced offense? Will his notoriously thorny personality mesh well with the culture of the team and his superiors? And the answer to those questions? Questionable.

    • It was Chip Kelly who brought soft finesse football to the PAC 12, because it was easier for him to recruit skilled players, as oppose to big talented lineman . Kelly has failed miserably at his last two jobs, because defensive coordinators have figured out how to slow his offense down

        • The wishbone? I knew you were limited, but that takes it to a new level……..and I thought you were ready to takeover the coaching duties

      • Fred, your point’s well taken, but I still think Kelly would be the most dangerous hire against us by sucla mostly because of his experience both in college and the NFL. And because of his connections, he might be able to lure some quality assistants away as well.

  3. While I am a longtime, super-dedicated fan, this team has lost me and so has Helton. I am a fan to enjoy games and not to look at wins alone. How could I possibly be angry after beating UClowns?

    Winning ugly is not enough; that is for bandwagoners and shallow people. The old saying “It’s not if you win or lose, it’s HOW you play the game” should be (for USC) “It’s not if you win, it’s also HOW you play the game.”

    USC may be serving steak in the win column, but they’re serving it with ketchup. Sam (that final play of the 2H was a Chris Webber time-out) and Jack-Jack were simply embarrassing. Tee should be demoted to WR coach, Callaway and Bradford should be replaced immediately.

    Tee unsuccessfully running the same unsuccessful dive the first 3rd-and-short opportunity he had was the death-knell for him in my book. What’s the name of that play, “get stuffed”? Does anyone have an audio of Sam actually barking out those words at the LOS before the play?

    • “It’s not if you win or lose, it’s HOW you play the game” should be (for USC) “It’s not if you win, it’s also HOW you play the game.”

      So, you’re saying reaching a goal is less important than giving your best effort. Compared to winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.

      You want cake and ice cream….enough is never enough

      • No, I want quality cake and quality ice cream. CHAMPIONS GET QUALITY CAKE AND QUALITY ICE CREAM. We deserve store-bought mass-produced cake and tofutti (the absolute lowest, most repulsive ice cream-like product made) for our play.

        And yes, I’d rather USC play good football and lose than be Miami Thugs and win, or by having the refs call fake fouls on the other team.

        Integrity matters. And hope matters too. Looking at this team, the way the players under-perform and how the coaches seem to excel at getting them to under-perform — no one in their right mind should have hope that we will win our next game. (Uchenna and Budrovich are perhaps the best two performers as far as consistency goes — and that’s still not been 90% with them either.

        I matters so much to me that we win that watching us beg the other team to humiliate us week after week is not enjoyable.

        Being a fan means enjoying the product. SO NO, WINNING IS NOT ENOUGH — especially with 2 losses. I might have a different attitude if we were not an also-ran, but we aren’t we are the worst 10-2 team and we could lose to anyone on any given day.


  4. Got caught in a downtown traffic jam and did not make it to the game, and did not watch it on t.v.

    Instead, I watched the 40 minute version, down from the 3 1/2 hours it took to play the game. And in the 40-minute version it was an exciting game with a lot of big plays. Scoreboard wise, SC looked as if in command all the way.

    I guess seeing the game live takes its toll with all of the time-outs, the working out of penalties and of course the commercial beaks.

    Next time, try the 40-minute condensed form. You’ll like it.

      • Are you saying they edited the game to make USC look better. I knew you were limited, just reached a new low

    • Great idea, but unfortunately it would mean giving up the radio broadcast “sync’ed” to the live television broadcast, plus Pete Arbogast is easy on the ears and John Jackson is very insightful. Many times last Saturday JJ mentioned “take what the defense gives you,” which is probably also true in the courtroom. P.S. I always enjoy your take on things.

  5. Wolf already had this article written in case the Trojan’s lost and he was calling for Heltons head. This is like a whos who of Scottie’s brain.

  6. UCLA can’t afford James Franklin, but if he did decide to leave Penn State, then he would definitely out recruit Clay Helton, without a doubt

    • Wasserman can afford anyone, that’s who paid the bill for Mora to be shown the door. Just Google Lew Wassernam-ucla, his name is all over that school.

      • It’s now his son Casey Wasserman. He and Troy Aikman are heavily involved. Aikman and Chip Kelly have tge same agent, who is also a Bruin. Always thought getting Kelly was a pipe dream but maybe not. We will see.

        • Are you alright with Chip despite his history of “creative” recruiting and being reprimanded by the NCAA for those shenanigans?

          • From what I have read, they appear to have been minor. No probation. No bowl ban. Loss if a couple of scholarships. Nothing like Jim Tressel. I think it’s worth the risk. I don’t think UCLA has ever fired a coach during the season before. Tbe program needs a total makeover.

            Terry Donahue has always been thought of as a good guy. Mediocre coach, IMO. UCLA was on probation under him for more serious stuff than Kelly. We will see. Florida was in New Hampshire to sign Kelly and he didn’t sign, so something’s up.

          • Kelly could be playing UF for even more money, just like Belotti and Erickson did to Iron Head Garrett

          • That’s one of 2 scenarios. The other is that he prefers the West Coast because of familiarity. UCLA has departed from their norm by firing Mora right now rather than a week from now. The only explanation is that they think they have a legitimate shot at Kelly and need to get to him before he signs with Florida.

          • ucla could have easily just told Kelly they were going to fire Mora, they didn’t need to actually do it right after the USC loss.

            Kelly should take the job at ucla where the expectations will always be far less than at ucla. That’s just a fact. At UF, he has to win big. At ucla, he doesn’t.

            If anything, ucla fired Mora right after USC (a ucla tradition) because they need to start talking with a lot of candidates, not just Kelly.

            When I saw Mike Norvell at little old Memphis beat you guys, I thought he should be ucla’s HC. It’s a big gamble, because he’s so young at 36 and inexperienced. But he was at ASU for a couple of years too. If he wanted the job and interviewed well, I’d take him.

          • Usually the SC game is UCLA’s last, until the last few years. So, while your statement is true after the SC game, it also is the first time I can recall a coach getting canned with regular season games left. Guerrero actually fired him the same night as the SC game back on campus. Not quite the tarmac, but pretty close. I didn’t think Guerrero had the stones to can Mora at this point, but from what I have read it was because of Kelly and his impending deal with Florida.

            UCLA does make sense for Kelly in that he knows the league and going against Saban makes it more difficult to win the conference and get to a playoff than it would be at UCLA if he can do what he did at Oregon in Westwood. We will see.

            Norvell is an outstanding up and coming coach and was a fine OC at ASU for Todd Graham. This was also his first year and he is winning with the players left by Justin Fuente. I’m sure he is on the list of candidates. Wasserman and Aikman are heavily involved. Maybe it’s Wasserman that is the wartime consigliere.

          • They were Minor only because LSU was using the same Lyles guy and the Infractions Committee didn’t want to touch them.

          • Hypocrites! The ruin fanbase were the most outspoken regarding Pete and the sanctions

            How it’s OK if you have a checkered past

      • Oh I’m familiar with that family, they cut the biggest check for UCLA’s athletic facility

  7. Kelly’s agent is UCLA grad and several of that company’s executives are UCLA grads. I believe he is coming to Westwood. He has a big enough ego that he thinks he will make UCLA better than SC.

  8. No one on Wolf’s list scares me as an SC fan because we have Gomer & Co to run us into the ground.

    Look for ucla to go after the Memphis guy, he’s cheap. Kelly is a weirdo, he’s perfect for the UC system

    So Wolf’s grades for Gomer & Co for the regular season are

    Even in today’s grade inflation era, that’s a FAIL !!!!!!!!!!!! Swann, eject him from his job !!!!!!!!!!

    • I’m sure Lynn Swann will make his decision based on Wolf’s grades for the coaching staff throughout the season.

      Based on those grades, one would assume the team was somewhere around 3-9.
      Also, it would seem that all we have to do is hire a coach with a C- average and we will never lose again.

      • Swann knows this staff is a joke, he’ll demand that Gomer fix it and if he resists he can fire him, wouldn’t that be wonderful !

        • Same comment 553….quit watching, it’s playing havoc with your blood pressure…O’wait that might be a good thing…

  9. I know he is not popular on this site, but Nueheisel had some very interesting comments yesterday. He said yesterday and for sometime now that a major factor in the success of Alabama ( he did not discount Saban) was its TOTAL commitment to football. Resources were and our poured into every aspect of the program. They have the allotted 9 coaches, but also have 30+ staff that are tasked with evaluating players, analyzing film & developing nutrition and weight programs. and on & on. Every whim & desire of Saban is satisfied without question. They are run like an NFL operation. Clemson is copying the model and everyone else is committing more resources, but very few schools are ALL IN. USC doesn’t lack for much, but many on this site have lamented that the “backroom” support isn’t as strong as it should be–and with the $ resources USC has there is no excuse not to be ALL IN. He didn’t come out and directly say it, but Rick implied that UCLA, while it has upped its commitment to football , is not ALL IN.

        • Of course we should be as committed to football as Alabama. Studies have shown that there is a direct relation between commitment to football and advances in the Theory of Everything —which will harmonize Quantum Mechanics with the Theory of General Relativity. If we want to advance as a species, USC needs to realize this before it’s too late.

    • Bottom line, get players that can control the line of scrimmage , because coaches seem to be running away from that format . Alabama puts more lineman in the nfl then they do skilled position players, there’s no secret to Nick Saban’s blueprint

      • I agree with you Fred. However, I think Kelly has the ability to get the skilled player as well as the big nasty linemen here in the So Cal player rich market. He also has the gravitas to attract some very good assistant coaches, unlike Helton. These abilities coupled with his creative football mindset could take UCLA to much higher levels than they are presently. At the minimum, with our existing array of football coaches, from Helton on down, we would be in for a tough fight. I am just hoping Kelly is using the UCLA opportunity to get more salary leverage for the Florida gig.

        • Kelly doesn’t care about defense, never has never will. Defense wins championships.

        • All things being equal, I bet Kelly would like the Pac 12 a bunch better than the SEC—ALMOST regardless of how much Florida offers [obviously there is some magic number that could bring him into the SEC fray—but it will take a lot].
          But enough about UCLA. If Kelly is coming back, USC needs the best young NFL defensive coordinator they can get. And they need to pay him as much as he wants —up to
          $1 dollar less than Helton is making (along with promising him he’ll be next in line—whenever that is— if the USC defense stops Kelly and Arizona next year).

          • The college game may have caught up with Kelly since he left. He’s not ahead of the curve in CFB any longer, so just where is his big advantage? Play caller? That didn’t work at all in the NFL.

            Kelly’s a bigger gamble than people think. Plus he’s very prickly, and ucla just got done with Mora the prickly pear. Does ucla want that annoyance again?

          • All smart observations, Jack. But —with the right quarterback to run his offense —-Kelly would be a big pain in the butt for USC.
            [Whether or not the UCLA Athletic Department could put up with his superior, smart alecky attitude for more than one season is another question….]

          • Kelly’s also a proven cheater.

            He blatantly paid off a Texas scout/friend to recruit players for him into ORE and was caught red-handed. The NCAA didn’t want to hammer ORE and Phil Knight, so they didn’t. But they did show-cause Kelly.

            Kelly, who also hates to recruit, wouldn’t worry me as much as other candidates. I agreed with LAT’s Plaschke here.

          • I hope you’re not bringing up the “proven cheater” fact as a reason UCLA wouldn’t hire someone.

          • ucla’s super desperate to fix their football program and will take in a cheater to do it, despite their always holier-than-thou attitude.

            USC’s big Coliseum redo has even put more pressure on ucla. Every single luxury box at the Coliseum has been sold, except maybe 1, and the money has really rolled in. ucla raised ticket prices and their product was tanking and they don’t have any luxury box options at the Rose Bowl. ucla stood to lose a lot more $ by keeping Mora than by paying him off. It had to be done, and now.

            When the USC job last opened up, Kelly wanted the Trojan job bad, and he loves L.A. per Colin Cowherd. But USC didn’t bite and part of that may have been Kelly’s NCAA trouble. USC just couldn’t afford to go there. Now USC, Helton and Swann need to react to ucla with a new coach and the hire probably won’t be the typical ucla on-the-cheap job. Very interesting times ahead.

          • Good point. I think he’s viewed as someone who can bring in great assistants. People don’t feel that way about Helton, right or wrong.

            And at ucla, he can bring in a lot more talent right off the bat than at ORE. ucla is always talented. They just don’t know what to do with it – ever.

            Their two most talented QBs, Aikman and Rosen, could never beat USC (0-4). Hundley took care of USC when the Trojans were on probation. Big difference between handling USC then and now with a full roster, even though USC’s coaching needs addressing.

          • MG, good comment. You are probably right, why jump into the SEC snake pit when you could almost have your way in the PAC12 with its current make up. By the time the PAC12 got its act together, he may have resurrected a dying UCLA program, won several PCC12 championships, possibly a natty, and rehabilitated his reputation for a second run at the NFL…sort of like Pete did?

          • You have more than adequately described USC’s worst nightmare, David. And it’s possible it could come true. On the other hand, I think Jack B. COULD be right about defenses being better equipped to handle Kelly’s fast break offense than they were on his last go around. And remember this everybody! The rules have changed since Kelly introduced his 105- play- a- game offense —-now the refs slow the action down to ensure everybody’s set before the snap.

          • Agree, chip kelley knows the conference and high school coaches, and the pressure to win early is not gonna be as great at UCLA. Expectations are different, and he knows he can do enough to be better, quicker than most programs in the pac 12

        • I don’t think Kelly’s offense will be as potent this time around for a number of reasons. 1.) People have caught up with this type of offense and know how to defense it. 2.) The rule changes on substitutions will not let his offense go as fast as he wants. 3.) Offensive lineman in this scheme cannot be earth movers, they have to be mobile, and that means not carrying that much weight.

      • Fred I agree. One thing I noticed was ucla would have 10 players 3 yards off the line of scrimmage. 10 in the box and the staff has no audible for that?

    • Neuheisel is absolutely correct. Here’s a tweet I found on this.
      Matt Zenitz ✔ @mzenitz
      Asked if he’ll use any former players on the scout team this week to help prepare for Deshaun Watson, Sabans answered, “Yep”
      2:12 PM – Jan 4, 2017

    • I listened to that last night. He also said that Larry Scott needed to basically pull his head out of his butt and do exactly what the SEC does when it comes to scheduling. That means 8 conference games, a buy in the middle of the year, and a cupcake before rivalry week. Why this clown cannot figure this out is beyond me.

      • Spot on! Every year talkings heads make excuses or fallacious arguments about cupcake being necessary for small school’s budget. Bad enough more cupcakes, but in November should count as half a loss minimum. Since it’s not, we should do the same.Play ND and the rest Trade Tech high.

    • You are not telling us something we don’t already know. But with this current administration, you are wasting your time thinking this would ever happen right now.

    • Those Alabama players are taking a lot more PED’s. If you noticed during the playoff game between Washington and Alabama, the Tide cornerbacks and WR’s were as big if not bigger than Washington’s Linebackers. Saban has been known to have his players juiced since he was at Michigan St. Saban plays up the angry coach bit, whines and complains about everything and the NCAA looks the other way. Alabama has been caught using steroids and the NCAA doesnt care. Not to mention al the recruiting violations they get away with. Alabama’s football program…big time cheaters. If anything, they’re underacheiving if you look closely at all their cheating that gets swept under the rug.

  10. sw gives RoJo a C+. He gives the OL and Coaching D+”s. How does RoJo earn that grade if he ran for over 100 yards, despite the bad performances by the OL and OL coaching?

  11. For once, I agree mostly with SW. The secondary was atrocious, as we made another average receiver look like Julio Jones. And he’s right about Fancy Clancy. Man is he stubborn. But losing Brownie and Radio Rasheem hurt, and of course, not mentioned in the grading process. Cab Callaway has to go too.

  12. It’s funny how the media feeds people GARBAGE, because more then once, I heard the announcers refer to USC of having one of the best offensive lines in college football. Does anybody do their homework anymore, because that’s the farthest thing from the truth? Unbelievable!!!

  13. Just wondering with Mora off the payroll is Justin Wilcox now the Highest Paid State Employee in California? And Scott Wolf’s taxes help paying for it…at least $ 212.25/year ?

  14. Rocky Long would probably be within the budget UCheapLA would be willing to pay. But if they would do us all a big favor, they should go after Pat Haden’s boy: Clay Helton. That way, Neil Callaway would then go over there and continue his legacy.
    Having said this, it would be quite interesting to see if a big name coach was brought in across town, if that would give Swann the incentive to match that hire???

  15. So little Jackie Jones did not want to talk to the media after the game. Boo frickin hoo. This tells me everything about Jones’s character. I guarantee you this, If he had played a great game he’d still be at the Coliseum running his mouth about how he is the best corner in the country. He is a front runner, plain and simple. I’ve stated this since last year that players like Jones will get you beat in the big games, and it almost happened against UCLA. For the last two years he has shown us nothing, except for getting turned sideways by just about every receiver in the conference and N.D., and getting fifteen yard penalties for running his mouth. Anyone remember in the Rose Bowl last year when he got beat twice on the same play at the end of the game and McQuay was there to bail his sorry butt out? Best thing to do is sit his butt down for the rest of the year until he figures it out, because right now he is a liability.

  16. The timing of mora’s firing tells you they must feel like they have a good chance at Kelley. I’m not afraid of chips x’s And o’s, I’m more afraid of the buzz he will create in recruiting. I can see him getting mark helfrich as o coordinator again, and or keeping Jed Fisch as either coordinator or quarterback coach, and talking Rosen into staying another year. If he has a turnaround first year, it gets the recruiting ball rolling. Perception is everything

  17. The thing I miss about pete’s System is that his practices were like games. He created competition for every position every day. There was intensity that I don’t see with this team. Pete had guys flying to the ball, not just sitting back and reacting. You can’t be afraid to have player’s tackle hard in practice for fear of injury. Pete had players and backups prepared and ready for every game because guys knew games weren’t gonna be much harder than practice. That breeds confidence. Clancy is aggressive, which I like, but if he doesn’t like to disguise coverages by switching from man to zone more often, then we are easier to scheme against, and our db’s are gassed from playing man to man all game. I also wish he would rotate players in more often to get guys experience. Anyway, whoever UCLA chooses might be an upgrade, and we need to make sure we have the kind of motivational and good technique teaching assistants that can kick butt, and be different from nice guy clay. I hope clay has the courage at years end, if needed to make the necessary staff changes

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