USC Morning Buzz: Clay Helton Reportedly Promoted Bryan Ellis

Clay Helton is going to promote Bryan Ellis to quarterbacks coach, according to multiple reports. Ellis was already on the staff, previously worked at Western Kentucky and called pass plays in the Cotton Bowl.

So in that sense, it is not a surprising move. Maybe the surprising part is that athletic director Lynn Swann is allowing it. Or that Tee Martin, a former quarterback, is not going to be moved to quarterbacks coach. As usual with USC, many questions arise from a coaching hire.

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  • GOMER HELTON

    What a joke.

    • USCDAN1986

      Helton obviously has no street cred.. And I’m sure Swann is allowing this so he doesnt hire and fire a ‘NEW’ qb coach after one season..Next HC will have cred and bring in guys that will be around for more than one year.. Thats my take on the hire..

      • GOMER HELTON

        I thought Swann would force Gomer to make some changes, now it looks like he’ll just let him hang himself with his horrible hires and staff

        • USCDAN1986

          Thats how it will go down.. Swann’.. Clay was helpful in getting the football program back on its feet, I am grateful as are the USC family.. Unfortunately due to decisions on and off the field, I have decided to make a change. Clay did a great job but it was time to go in a different direction with a different voice..

          • GOMER HELTON

            Yeah, it will be some politically correct PR bullshat

          • Michael Guarino

            There are a couple of things we need to consider here, USCDAN. The first has been discussed ad nauseam on this site —-Helton has no contacts and, therefore, has no choice but to promote from within. The other thing I’d suggest is more disappointing, however—-neither does Swann. We’ve all been naively assuming that NFL Swann could step in and save the day any time he wanted to. If Ellis is the new quarterback coach, that obviously isn’t true.

          • GOMER HELTON

            Swann’s hands are tied. Gomer has won, Nikias likes Gomer, not much Swann can do. Gomer’s contract is good until the end of 2018, after that he’s done. Dan’s right, it will be some ” Gomer is a fine man, righted the ship after Sark, blah blah, but we’re going in a different direction ” That’s if Nikias allows it.

          • Gabby

            Is there anyone with a hard-on more massive than yours when comes to Helton. You might want to get a medical opinion. I’m sure it’s quite distracting

          • steveg

            Any time over 4 hours you should see a doctor. Great advice Gabby.

          • Michael Guarino

            Here’s my question, Gomer—why would a legendary figure like Lynn Swann want to be an empty figurehead? People with far less money and talent turn down jobs like that every day.

          • GOMER HELTON

            Have no idea, maybe he was bored and he got this gig to keep him busy, who knows.

          • Jack B

            Ya, sure. Swann just wanted to twiddle his thumbs at USC, take a few naps and help sink the program that launched his entire future. Sure. LOL.

          • Gabby

            Another lame response….no one does it better

          • USC jojo

            Have no idea……. maybe he was bored……..got this gig to stay busy….Is this you sw?

          • steveg

            Maybe he has learned a few lessons through his years, patience being one of them. There is no doubt he has contacts all over the football spectrum. This time next year we will have definitive answers to a lot of questions. They still need to hire the 10 coach, if they can afford it. I am wondering how much budget is influencing what is not happening on the staff. Building a huge bankroll?

          • Michael Guarino

            Interesting last line, steveg.
            #YouKnowWhatSchoolsDoWithBigBankrolls…
            #TimeToComeHomePeteCarroll?

          • Carra Strand

            I am hopeful AD Swann is using his well developed management skills and football acumen to assess and to wait for the right moment. To me, keeping HCCH is better than another Sark or Kiffin mistake which leads to another firing and hiring. I think stability is foremost for the program since we have not yet recovered from that Haden fiasco. I am hopeful much thought, planning and research is being done in an effort of finding the right fit for SC. I think we need a big name coach, but we need to be sure he has the right goals for SC’s future. I also think with signing day just a few weeks ahead, no one wants to bring questions into the minds and hearts of recruits and their families. This is not a prime time for change.

          • steveg

            Bingo, I kind of think that was the plan from the beginning.

        • Fred Sampson

          I doubt if any credible assistants would join Clay Helton’s staff at this point, because they know more than us, and common sense says, Helton is a sitting duck

          • GOMER HELTON

            That’s very true. Now, will Nikias even allow Swann to can Gomer at the end of next season if he goes 7-5 ? Time will tell

          • Fred Sampson

            Lynn Swann hasn’t shown he has any teeth, because all of his hires so far, have been extremely WEAK

          • steveg

            Does this sound like we are going into the 3rd year of a 3 year deal? Perhaps Helton knows the show is about over. Reading about Ellis, he has paid his dues, he may be an asset. Kind of like our D line coach.

        • Sylvester

          And we all suffer next year.I’m siting here looking at my season ticket invoice that exceeds $12,000.00, and wondering if I really want to bother.

          • USCDAN1986

            Same here..

          • Michael Guarino

            All depends, Sylvester —-did you stand in line to see “Titanic”? Wasn’t it fun (until the ending)?

          • GOMER HELTON

            You and probably thousands of others feel the same way

      • FranklinTrojan

        The sad thing is I don’t have any confident that Swann will make a good hire after firing Clay. Just look at the hires he made so far, new women’s basketball coach is a rehire, new women’s volleyball coach went 15-15 at Portland last year…We will most likely end up with Jeff Fisher, JDR or Tee Martin…

        • Fred Sampson

          Exactly

          • Gabby

            ” careful what you wish for”

            ……is the grass always greener

          • Jack B

            Swann will knock it out of the park if he has to move Helton after 2018 and he knows it too. Swann’s a pretty sophisticated manager and his enormous football contacts, cred and experience would guarantee a strong football hire.

          • steveg

            Glad you think so Jack, I hope you are right, but it seems USC cannot get the american idol head coaches everyone wants. Remember PC was a roll of the dice and he broke everyones hearts going back to the nfl. We hire an nfl coach then we will always have the possibility of him going back at first offer. USC is going to need to refigure their football budget because nobody is going to come cheap. Coaches salaries are skyrocketing and the COL in So Cal is pretty expensive along with the state grabbing all they can get. Not sure what the best path to a new HC will be.

          • David Keeling

            They don’t want to pay the big bucks Steveng. Otherwise we would be looking at a top HC.

          • David Keeling

            I am praying you are right Jack.

        • Gabby

          PC pulls a Jon Gruden and returns…..LOL!

          • FranklinTrojan

            You meant to say he pulls a John Robinson and returns, lol

          • Gabby

            OK!

        • Jack B

          Our new women’s VB coach comes in very well-recommended (by Karch Kiraly no less) and completely resurrected the Portland program from bottom feeder. If Kiraly, the greatest name in the history of sport by far, likes Brent Crouch, that’s good enough for me.

          • FranklinTrojan

            Thanks for the info, good to know.

          • Steve B.

            The record speaks for itself with Crouch. He had no where to go but up, and has flattened out the last three years. It is a weak conference the WCC. Who cares about Karch ‘s endorsement. He was a ‘ruin, and where is he coaching these days. He pushed for Nygaard another ex-‘ruin who is a loser in his own right.

      • Michael Guarino

        Here’s the unwritten headline, USCDAN: “With all it’s protection problems, USC gives a big YES to Neil Callaway as O-Line coach for 2018!”
        There is no way in hell we bring Ellis on as QB Coach and let Callaway go. They are joined at the hip. Ellis played QB for Callaway. Our new QB will have the services of a bright but totally unproven QB coach and an uninspired curmudgeon as O-Line coach.
        #GenerallySpeaking,InbreedingIsn’tGood……

        • steveg

          Ellis does have some cred at coaching. He didn’t just come out of the secretarial pool.

          • Michael Guarino

            He’s talented and smart —no question. He probably doesn’t have the kind of experience they’re gonna need to prepare Sam’s replacement, though.
            #IPromiseToKeepAnOpenMind

      • David Keeling

        You got that right. The better coaches may be turning him down and all he has available are non-big five coach wannabes. Pretty sad….

    • Paul Muad’dib

      I was thinking the same thing. Can we please stop the nepotism/inbreeding? This isn’t the SEC!!!

  • Porfirio666

    Scooter sees intrigue and has questions. News at 11.

  • GOMER HELTON

    Stand up and cheer
    Stand up and cheer
    For dear old Western
    For today we raise
    The red and white
    Above the rest
    Rah-rah-rah
    Our team is fighting
    And we’re bound to win the fray

    We’ve got the team

    We’ve got the steam

    For this is dear old Western’s day

    • Gabby

      Get back to your room, tool-time is over.

  • Gabby

    FYI…. Mark Helfrich was hired as new offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears

  • Fred Sampson

    According to Colin Cowherd, USC won’t be ranked in the top 20 next season, because Sam Darnold is leaving, and it was his talents that won 7 games last season. No quarterback on the Trojans roster has the talents of Darnold, so there will be nobody to bail them out

    • USCDAN1986

      6-6 7-5.. is about right!

      • Gabby

        Name the 6 losses?

        Lets see if we all agree

        • USCDAN1986

          Wins:
          UNLV
          Washington State
          Colorado
          Utah
          ASU
          OSU

          Losses:
          Stanford
          Texas
          Arizona
          Cal
          Ucla
          ND

          • Jack B

            No way USC loses to CAL, ucla or ARIZ. ucla and ARIZ will be better eventually, but not right off. CAL won’t beat USC in L.A.

            I’d say STAN, TEXAS, ND and UTAH are the likely defeats.

          • USCDAN1986

            8-4 season ?

          • gotroy22

            Still good enough to when the weak Pac 12.

          • GOMER HELTON

            Maybe, but I think Gomer goes 7-5 6-6 next season with a new QB and the same pathetically coached OL

          • gotroy22

            Utah always manages to blow it.

          • GOMER HELTON

            The PAC 12 South usually blows, period.

          • gotroy22

            Would Swann dare fire the Pac 12 champs if they go 8-4?

          • Gabby

            Go hangout around the heads at the 5 guys, it should help improve your football IQ. Wolf seems to think it’s improved his……just saying

          • USCDAN1986

            Lol.. Our goal is to get rid of Helton.. Keep at 5-6 wins. Above that he stays.

          • steveg

            No I don’t think so. USC got a real bargain and is getting what they paid for. Unless the BOT is happy with mediocrity, then we are another generation away from greatness.

          • Jack B

            And probably back to the old Holiday Bowl, where it’s a coin flip if we win.

          • steveg

            Utah always the trap game, especially at Utah. Stanford may not be much better with their turnover. Texas is a maybe, depending on what kind of offense they have against our defense. ND is ND, any team could win. Just so long as they don’t bring what they brought in the last game. Could be interesting without Sam, the offense would need to find a way to give the qb some time.

    • Jack B

      It’s not just all Darnold. The word is out that USC can’t run the ball against anybody good and USC’s current OL is experienced but was still horrible this year. Going into last season, everyone thought USC would be much stronger on the OL than it turned out.

      Now, USC isn’t viewed as a physical, running team that can dictate tempo and control. We can’t. Helton said he was gonna take USC back to its physical roots, but it’s not happening with its scheme, coaching or OL talent. Hence the lower 2018 expectations, even though our D should be exceptional. It’s not all just Darnold.

      • Fred Sampson

        Exactly!!

      • Carra Strand

        you are right. It’s not just darnold. however, the bad coaching and practice is still destroying the talent we do have. i feel badly for the OL. I’m sure the young men want to be successful. However, when they are improperly trained and given poor practices, they are doomed by their own program.

    • LamontRaymond

      Some pretty definitive statements. You know for certain that JT Daniels is not in Sam’s league? He may have a learning curve period (like Sam’s fumbles against Utah last year), but he’s a stud – and one of the smartest QBs ever to come into our system.

      • Fred Sampson

        Of course he could develop, but he certainly won’t be playing like a number one draft pick in September, I guarantee that

        • Cloud Shaman

          He could be our Jake Browning who started as a true freshman. He is the same size.

      • Carra Strand

        But look at the wonderfully great experienced coach helton is providing for his training.. what a joke!!! Helton is a disaster. Thank you pat haden. Your legacy lives on

    • Pasadena Trojan

      alright in my books. Let them earn it or play into the rankings.

  • Pasadena Trojan

    Scooter, I am laughing my a#s off with your last line. You are the journalist, go ask the many questions that you are thinking. In other words, DO YOUR JOB.

    • Gabby

      “Do your job” would mean getting off the couch… ain’t gonna to happen

    • Emil Calomino

      I read his columns all at once, one time a week when I have a few free minutes, for a good laugh. He’s an asshat. I know his main defense is “hey I went to USC” but I swear to God somebody did something to him there to hurt his feelings because he never has a kind word to say about a USC sports team.

  • Pasadena Trojan

    Scooter,
    There is no reporting on the USC win last night against Colorado. What happened, did your 1974 Ford Pinto break down once again so you were not able to attend?
    I will tell you, USC won, Benny Boatwright was a ball hog, Usher played lights out, Aarron had a good game, some Laker dude was there, and Alex Stevenson the former forward for USC was there. He is currently playing in China. The soft serve Ice Cream machine is not there.

    • 04Trojan

      Boatwright is sooooooft. Good luck getting drafted in the NBA. He whiffed on at least 2 potential offensive charges. That’s weak. Thornton looks like the heir to J-Mac, and I’m cool with that, because he looks solid. And that’s no knock on J-Mac.

    • gotroy22

      The soft serve Ice Cream machine is not there???????????????? STOP THE PRESSES!!!!!!!

  • Jack B

    It’s a QB coach hire, not anything to get all shook up about. This frees up Tee to focus more on OC and this move was undoubtedly based on what Darnold said about Ellis. USC always likes to save money too, so it fits.

    The real problem is that Helton looks like he’s gonna keep Callaway, Bradford and Baxter, who all had very rough years.

    BTW SW. Coaching hires don’t generate more conversation or questions at USC than they do anywhere else.

    • Rock2112

      We’ll see on Callaway, Bradford and Baxter after Signing Day. If those guys aren’t gone, it will be clear that someone is content to let the clock run out on Helton.

      • Gabby

        Lets hope not! I’m living for the 2018 season not 2019

        • Carra Strand

          Good luck.

      • Jack B

        I don’t see how Swann has any other alternative. You simply can’t tell your HC who he has to have on his staff. No HC with any self-respect is gonna allow that. Swann hopes the Helton clock won’t run out. But if it does, he will have given his advice and guidance and that’s really his job.

        • Carra Strand

          Well when you mention self-respect, that opens the door for helton since he obviously has none by the way he weakly performs or doesn’t perform.

      • Michael Guarino

        Rock —-there really is zero chance that Helton picks up Neil Callaway’s protege (and former QB) and lets Neil go. The writing is on the wall. Our fledgling QB is in the hands of Callaway and Ellis. Not the worst situation in the world —–but not optimal either.

        • GOMER HELTON

          It is the worst situation. A freaking grad student coaching QB’s at one of the top football powers is a freaking joke

          • Michael Guarino

            Bryan Ellis is way more than a grad student —he’s a very smart but very inexperienced QB coach. Clay is taking a big chance. But he took an even bigger chance making Kennechi Udeze D-Line coach and that turned out great (in my opinion). The biggest problem looming for USC in 2018 is that it looks like Clay is gonna give Callaway another go —-and I don’t think any QB —-or QB coach —-can look like Superman in that situation.

          • Rock2112

            If that happens, it will be a clear sign that Callaway has pictures of Helton spending “private time” with a farm animal. There is no way anybody fairly and objectively evaluating our O-line performance versus the available talent can feel like Callaway is doing a good job.

          • Michael Guarino

            Rock —I don’t see what’s wrong with enjoying time with our friends from the animal kingdom. Oh, wait a second……..
            #…IGetIt…..

          • GOMER HELTON

            This is the ” very smart ” coaches bio

            Was an offensive quality control coach in his first year at Western Kentucky in 2014, assisting quarterbacks coach Tyson Helton

            Ellis was WKU’s running backs coach in 2015

            In 2016, Ellis was the Hilltoppers’ wide receivers coach

            Before that, he was an offensive graduate assistant at Alabama-Birmingham, his alma mater, for 2 seasons (2012-13)

            He had an injury-plagued career as a quarterback at Alabama-Birmingham (2007-11), playing for head coach Neil Callaway (currently USC’s offensive line coach)

            Typical Gomer hire. It’s his dad’s buddies ex QB who was an assistant with Gomer’s kid.

          • Michael Guarino

            I know, Gomer. I’m not saying I’m unconcerned —or that I think Bryan Ellis is the very best possible choice for QB coach. But listen to his 5 minute interview on YouTube. He comes across as smart, savvy ….and pretty green.

          • Carra Strand

            Doesn’t it speak volumes that daddy helton is so intregal at sc. two for one still doesn’t make a single quaity hire like Tom herman

          • steveg

            Other than the fact that they will go nose to nose if the qb isn’t getting any protection. QB coach will be protective of his guys, at least I would hope he would.

          • Carra Strand

            SC should not be an On the job training program. Another year of failure, another year for Chip kelly to build ucla

          • Michael Guarino

            The operative words in your post are “should not”, Cara. You’re right —it shouldn’t. But it is.
            #BiggestOnTheJobTrainingProgramInNCAA

          • Carra Strand

            amen!

        • Carra Strand

          really, what’s worse

          • Michael Guarino

            Gosh, that’s an easy one —–Bob Connelly and Clay Helton.

          • Carra Strand

            I guess we are talking about the better of a bad lot. Not sure that will transport SC to victory.

      • steveg

        Out of all of them Bradford goes 1st. Callaway goes if there is a decent replacement who wants a one year gig in college ball.

  • Raised By Wolves

    All of Helton’s coaching hires smell of cronyism. This is USC for crying out loud! The coaching staff should be loaded with talent like the roster usually is. I’m afraid the program won’t return to greatness until a real AD and head coach are hired.

  • Sas

    Callahan, Pendergast and Bradford are all staying?

    • AtlDDS

      Sh*t, it sure sounds like it. Yeech!

      • AtlDDS

        I guess I can live with Pendergast. But God Almighty—Callahan stays?

        • Jack B

          Sad. We’re gonna have to hope he has an off-season brain transplant.

      • Sas

        Looks like they were told they weren’t going anywhere.

    • schammer47

      Nuts. How in the world does this no-name pathetic OC/2, Bryon Ellis, keep from getting sent home ? Promoted ? This is not good. Both Fink and Sears have unlimited potential. A quality QB Coach must be hired.

  • Cloud Shaman

    I have been a supporter of Clay Helton but if he doesn’t upgrade his coaching staff and has a mediocre season I will join those who will see him to the door.

  • Trojan4life_

    The quality of coaching does not affect the team you put on the field??? Is USC now satisfied with not being in the college championship conversation??? AMAZING!!!

  • Ted

    As usual the WOLFMAN is right again!! As usual the rah rahs will try to counter the Wolf and end up holding their crotch in the ditch!

    • USCDAN1986

      6-7…

  • David Keeling

    Helton is not going to win with a staff full of WKU wannabes being overwhelmed coaching 4&5 star athletes who want results vs sloppy play and who are expecting to make the playoffs. It just won’t work. Maybe Swann is letting Helton hang himself as a HC.

    • Linkster

      That is exactly what he is doing. Giving him all the rope he needs to hang himself. He can’t can him now but at the end of 2018 and a 6-6 years with his hand picked assistants, the party is over. Swann gets it but his hands are tied now.

    • Carra Strand

      problem with letting helton hang himself is that he takes the team with him………..i worry about recruiting

      • David Keeling

        Yes Carra you are right, it will affect the program some. But this is an administration decision more than anything and if it won’t support you sufficiently, then you have a hopeless situation.

        • Carra Strand

          It’s really not about me. I have a life away from SC football. What concerns me is the program and the young men who committed to it. I want them to be successful.

  • William Sequeira

    Helton has a penchant for surrounding himself with friends and family , this could be his undoing. Coaching at a school like USC is surrounding yourself with the best, first and foremost.

    • Carra Strand

      thank you! that’s the only path for success

  • Pasadena Trojan

    This is an easy solution. It will take a year but results will be honest. If they do a good job, they stay, if not, they go at the end of the year. However, with the renovation going on and with SC shake down everyone down for all of the nickels, dimes, and quarters to renovate the stadium, it might be that they won’t let Helton go.

  • Carra Strand

    This decision should be the last nail in HCCH’s coffin. This defies logic. The best QB in the nation committing to USC and we get some cowboy from western kentucky who played for Calloway …what a testimony that is! Calloway should be removed from his job and put out to pasture instead, we are adding his students!!! Yikes!!!
    My head is pounding. Once horribly bad decision after another from Helton and his bosses are stopping him. This is dereliction of duty.
    Do Nikias and Swann think the fans and donors like this???? We are heading for the bottom of the pac 12 with these decisions. We NEED proven talent, not a playground for friends and family.

  • Steve B.

    Another in house move that is lame. Why not inquire about Carson Palmer who is retiring from pro ball. You would think W. Kentucky was some power program with all the connections on the staff. The only real good hire was the running back coach Deland McCullough who now might leave for the NFL.

    • Carra Strand

      We should have known when CHHC picked Max Brown over Darnold that he didn’t have the skill set, strength, intelligence & courage to make wise decisions to BUILD the team. He seems to sink to the bottom where it’s comfortable for him. I’m sure UCLA is laughing and rubbing their hands together. At this rate, the Bruins will rule LA. Yes, at least ask Carson. He would add skill, experience, dedication, and excellent habits. Really, western kentucky!!!! What’s next Girl Scouts of America to replace McCullough if he leaves?