USC Morning Buzz: It’s Time For The Friday Notes Column!

The Friday notes column is back. Did you know two players were involved in an altercation after a Cotton Bowl practice? Or that a player is rumored to be transferring? It’s all in the column below.

Wolf: Does USC coaching staff prefer ‘yes men’ over experienced assistants?

90 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: It’s Time For The Friday Notes Column!

    • With this last incredibly destructive hire of Ellis, a lightweight, rather than an experienced talent is is absolutely clear that helton needs to be told what to do or he needs to be replaced. He is ill fit for an elite program He served a purpose after the Sark fiasco, but it appears he has hit his ceiling. If SC wants to be a National Champion contender, they need a coach who can take them. Helton is too weak and too inept to achieve that goal. It’s time the fans let Nikias and Swann know we want a change. We are giving the coach and his hires a NO CONFIDENCE vote. I will provide the phone numbers and emails for Nikias and Swann. I hope everyone sends their concerns and asks other Trojan fans to flood their emails and phone with messages of NO CONFIDENCE.

        • Lynn Swann, AD

          (213) 740-3843

          There was only one N in swan on the lists I researched.

          3501 WATT WAY
          Building #16
          Los Angeles, CA. 90089

          The fan base MUST let administration know we are unhappy with the direction of the football program and we need QUALITY,, EXPERIENCED COACHING. We shouldn’t be a good ol boy on the job training center while other programs are hiring staff to succeed.

          • It seems USC was planning to keep Helton through 2018 when his contract expires.
            Nikias should be told that academics and athletics can go hand in hand, but USC will have to open the purse a lot to get someone decent at HC

            Swann I feel is competent enough to know what he has and where it will go. There again, budget is in play big time.

            What if Ellis turns out to be another KU? If he fails in 18, he will be gone, as will Helton.

          • Why can UCLA pay off Mora and poor SC cannot pay off a pittance by comparison to Helton? I ask this because I really don’t know. Perhaps, you have some information I have not seen. I wish I knew what was really happening and why. From the outside looking in I can only look at reporter articles, see a team that did not reach its potential last year, and see questionable hires all causing me serious concern. In addition to talent on the field, management is important if we are going to ever make it back to the National Championship.

          • No, only what I have read, like yourself. I think USC did play to its potential last year. If you don’t block, nothing seems to work.

      • Coach H has also made social work projects more important than “fighting on” (or as one commenter put it: “faith, family, football but no ‘fight on'”). And why is “football” last of the Three F’s?

        He has tried to make Martin into an O coordinator by learning on the job at the expense of the team and undermining morale.

        He has inserted blind longsnapper Jake Olson into games by asking opposing teams to not block on the play and, in return, USC would not block on one of its PAT’s. What message does this send but non-competitiveness. To compound this issue Helton has made Olson the center of some after game media interviews over other players who who made much more of a contribution.

        He has brought in Udeze as an on the job trainee at DL coach.

        He (laudably) helped OL EJ Price transfer to another program and helped him with his personal issues.

        These are all laudable efforts but some of these people he is paying millions of dollars to as trainees and this has undercut competitiveness in games such as Notre Dame where the players gave up because they knew there would be no consequences and the game was a “throwaway” game that didn’t count against PAC-12 standings. Pendergast and Baxter are his only stand-up coaches.

        Coach H hires a great RB coach, has this coach recruit a powerback from the Midwest, then lets McCullough leave after one year, leaving the recruited player with a busted social contract. It is reported that Coach H was fighting to keep McCullough, but then why didn’t he originally sign McCullough to a minimum 2 year contract?

        Coach H wants to be loved, not feared. But to be loved you first must be feared (as a parent, teacher or coach). It is OK that Coach H does these wonderful acts but they should be backstage and not highlighted or glorified. Nor should he ask his team to slack off and give up PAT’s so a blind player can feel good. Nor should grad assistants from other programs be brought in to take important roles at USC (and no doubt handsomely paid).

        What message does all this send?

        • Are you kidding me? What Helton did for Jake made the news globaly. Not one bad thing has ever been written about it till you come along. What a terrible post. It showed not only USC, but college football has a heart for people, obviously something you do not have. Shame on you.

          • You said it, I didn’t. I was very proud of USC for doing what they did, and so was everyone I talked to. You talk it down. There again, you need to be feared before you can be loved. I would rather not be feared, and I didn’t need to be feared when on staff, but I was respected. Power through intimidation? Sorry Wayne, I disagree with you, and I have very high reading comprehension.

            What I read they fought to keep Deland. Would you turn down a pro offer? Not likely. Not when the HC has one year left on his contract.

        • You make good points. I remember Pete Carroll was great about helping disadvantaged kids. However, he coached first and coach he did!!!

          It appears to me that Helton is over his head and he feels comfortable with people who cannot or will not confront him with better ideas. it’s clear CH is insecure. As a manager, I learned to hired the BEST I could so I had more time to do other things and still my department was humming because staffing was better than I.

          • I do agree, hire the best you can and let them shine. You are only as good as the worst of your help. But then on a football staff, with personalities as they are, iron sharpens iron.

  1. Excerpt:
    “And, if he stays, will Martin have to share play-calling duties with Martin next season? The early answer is yes.”

    Who is the editor for the Daily Snooze?

  2. Somehow the journalist got lost. First 2 paragraphs factual, 3rd and 4th paragraphs based on opinions of some on here. Martin has been quoted as saying he does not want to coach QB’s. Not sure if that is pro or college. Then I guess Martin will share play calling with Martin according to Wolf, explain that one to Martin. When did USC become the place of on the job training? When they hired Helton, then KU. So Ellis won’t be the first.
    The truth is every OC or DC has a big ego and very usually an A type personality. What part of when Martin said “I call the plays” did you not understand Wolf. Clay is HC and every HC has the right to over rule a call or not.

    Pizz poor writing, could have been phoned in from out of the country seeing so much of it was based on what the posters on here have to say. Is there a journalist out there anywhere?

    • According to wolf he doesn’t read the comments on this blog…….LOL!

      Good stuff, steve!

    • Keary Colbert will be hired as receiver coach and Ellis will coach QB. Both are actually good hires. T will not leave until he gets a head coaching job. Scott is just a squirrel looking for nut.

      • Ellis is a joke hire, Colbert might be an upgrade over what was there, but it won’t matter anyway, Gomer is gone at the end of 2018 and all you rah rah Gomer cawksuckers will be devastated

        • Ask JT Daniels what he thinks of Ellis? Ellis was QB coach for Brohm who is considered one of the best offensive minds in football. Brohm tried to get him to come to Purdue. It was great move by Helton to get him to work as GA for a year. He had lots of other options.

          • Ellis told Darnold not to leave the pocket against OSU, brilliant advice.

            He’ll have other options after the upcoming season, he won’t be at USC anymore

          • Darnold actually had happy feet in OSU game. There where many times where he should have stepped up in the pocket over breaking the pocket. Ellis would be hired tomorrow as QB coach if he left USC. Plus he’ll be a great recruiter.

          • That is a strong possibility with him being young and able to relate to the players and families.

          • Definitely think Darnold’s pro coaches will work with him staying in the pocket longer. Can’t believe this kid qb-coach was the first to point this issue out.

          • Peaceful Warrior —not that I doubt you, but could you cite one recognized source for Brohm wanting Ellis at Purdue?

          • No because it never became official. Ellis left WK as OC to come to USC as GA. It was always understood he would move into a regular coaching position after 1 year

          • I don’t want to sharp shoot you —-I think Bryan Ellis is a smart young man who knows his football—-but I believe the reason that Ellis isn’t at Purdue is that Jeff Brohm wanted his brother, Brian, to be co-offensive coordinator. I don’t think Ellis was ever really in the mix.

      • Peaceful Warrior, please let me know the qualifications of Bryan Ellis. I do hope he will be a quality QB Coach. At this time. I know nothing about him. Thanks !!!

    • Swann’s earlier comment “It’s not about how many wins you have, it’s about the Quality of Opponents you beat” was very telling. Even another 10-3 Pac 12 Title losing to Texas, Notre Dame and a Bowl Game will finish this off.

      • The Ball, Helton’s Trojans will beat Stanford, Texas , and ND this coming year, convincing AD Swann that Helton is the Man. The Ball, you are nothing but a “deceived !” member of SW’s SWAMP. Chuck it.

  3. Great information, but i think most people knew Clay Helton only wants “yes men” around him , and I can’t wait to see who that 10th coach is going to be.

    • The 10th coach will be someone from W Kentucky.

      Sounds like the assistants don’t want anyone around to question them either.

      What a total clusterphawk of a staff and head coach

      • Jealous you didn’t get the job? I’m sure they were looking for someone with more than Pop Warner experience.

        Hang in there and troll on

      • I just read that Tee Martin interviewed for the receivers coach position with the Raiders yesterday, so that says it all . Because nobody goes from a offensive coordinator at a major University, to a position coach in the nfl. Martin knows he’s a figure head on Helton’s staff, and I guarantee he’s not being paid a coordinator’s salary

    • Don’t they have to fill the 9th. coach (and maybe 8th. if T. Martin leaves) before they add the 10th. coach?

  4. Well it’s obvious at this point that next year will be make or break for Clay. If all the fears here are true, he’ll be gone. To sit here and rehash the same old stuff over and over and over and over is numbing. The fear I have is that if all the bad is true, and Clay still manages to win 7 or 8 games, he’ll be kept around because the powers that be (read Max), don’t care about SC football. It will be the ultimate death of the giant.

    • I agree with the part about over and over and over and over. Same people saying the same thing, probably myself included. People that hate Helton can’t talk about anything else it seems, like they are consumed by it, reminds me of the liberal media with Trump.

  5. This recent hire appears to me as if Swann is going to let Helton hang himself. Obviously, the new kid will not make too much money, so when Swann fires the staff at the end of next season, USC will not be on the hook for too much money. No matter what we all think about Helton’s coaching abilities, there was no way Swann could fire him with his record. Swann has eyes, he can see what a clusterfk the staff is, but if he is going to fire Helton, Helton needs to lose. What kind of coach could Swann get after CH if that future coach sees he could get fired coming of back to back double digit win seasons? Yes, we expect and deserve better, but let this thing play out so we can see if Swann actually knows what he is doing…

    • SoGreg, You wouldn’t be able to understand the game of America Football if it came up and bit ya. This Blog deserves wise, aware commentators. You don’t fit. Helton’s Trojan Program is soaring, certainly the envy of the PAC12. If we stay healthy this coming season, America will envy The University of Southern California. FIGHT ON !!!

  6. “Multiple sources tell me”

    According to beefcake, the source was a horde of mice who regularly steal donut crumbs off the basement floor. The 10 year old boy from the 5 guys missed his regular Thursday evening dump

  7. SW missed the easiest solution — have one Martin take QBs and the other Martin take WRs!!!

  8. 4 out of the 5 top teams, in the final CFP Poll, have 2 OC’s, with Georgia being the exception and having only 1 OC. I wonder how crazy their ”sw” is going right now.

    Who decided to make the QB change for Alabama at halftime? Was it one of the OC’s or was it Nick? If it was Nick, are his OC’s a bunch of yes men? Any rumors of Alabama coaches, OC’S or Head Coach, fighting it out at halftime?

    Did Pete Carroll have Ken Norton jr learn ”on the job”?

    • The Kiffer came out and publicly said that it was the assts insistence on switching QBs that prompted Saban’s move. While Saban is truly an autocrat, he’s also a big-time listener and has proven this, as well as his ability to share credit, over the years.

      I’m not defending Helton. He’s got some work to do here before I’m in that boat. But more than one person contributing to play calls isn’t wrong or bad. Lots of teams do it, and very successfully.

      • I wanted to show the same thing, that sw doesn’t think before he writes.

        Other teams are doing what he condemns CH for.
        Good info on the Alabama coaching decision at halftime.

    • Thought I heard Saban say that they discussed it prior to the game and the team coaches were all for it if necessary. Nobody was taken by surprise.

      • Good to hear that’s how it came about.

        I was on a cruise with the familia. I was watching the game from the 2nd half and on. During the ot, when Georgia faced a 3rd down, the satellite lost reception on the ship. No!!!!! A worker came over and gave us the final score.

  9. Did John McKay have HC experience when he got promoted? John Robinson? But these assistant coaches had years of showing they knew how to coach football. What did Helton do as an assistant coach here? He was the QB coach pretty much only because Kiffin & Sark called all the plays. So Clay just stood back and watched being a yes man. So what did Pat Haden claim when he named Clay Helton as the new HC? He has a calming influence and the players like him. Oh, OK Pat, that is what we need alright. Max Nikias “giving” Haden the AD position as a thank you favor for supporting his hiring as president and gave Haden the power to run it as he liked is the reason this football program is where it is today.
    So, is Max Nikias another;Norman Topping? John Hubbard? James Zumberge? Or Steven Sample? You tell me…

    • Anybody who learned offense under The Kiffer had great exposure to one of the best offensive minds and play callers in the biz. That’s undeniable any way you look at it.

      Nikias gave Helton the job (not Haden who was headed out) as a hedge against any further drama that was threatening to hamper his fund raising efforts. Simple as that. I don’t think Helton was ever viewed as a long term solution. Darnold gave Helton as shot at a longer term. Now we’ll see if he can pick up the ball and run with it.

      And Haden didn’t originally want the AD job. He was already rich because of his venture capitalist deals and Nikias had to talk him into the job. Haden put the screws to him for money, of course, but Nikias begged Haden to become AD because Nikias didn’t know where else to go. And after the toxic Mike Garrett, Haden was a healer, comparatively speaking.

      • Alabama is a ready made steroid induced national champion caliber team. Lane Kiffin is a second rate coach who took the offensive coordinator job with the Tide at a time when, any clown with half a brain such as yourself, but with the exception of your other boy Steve Sarkisian, could have called plays and won.

        As for this past season, your boy Kiffin is still a second rate coach who’s team is in a second or third rate conference and that’s all Kiffin will ever be.

        You are 0 for 3 in your backing of the Trojans recent second rate coaching hires dating back to after Carroll left and everyday you come to this blog heaping praise on all three of the current and past two former knucklehead second rate Trojan head coaches you prove just how clueless you really are.

        • The only knucklehead around here is you Spanky and you’re also a big-time liar about who I back. Either that, or you’re just another idiot who can’t read. Keep your bib on at all times pot*ard so you don’t get your screen wet.

    • The difference between when Topping was President and now is that the success of the football team doesn’t mean shat when it comes to fundraising and Nikias couldn’t care less about the football team anyway..

  10. Maybe the answer to yes men is yes. Look at what the QB coach did to Darnold this year. I mean he could have a Heisman candidate but they coached him down. So perhaps this graduate assistant is a place holder. He is hardly a kid. It seems many rats are jumping ship maybe we should wait to cry Wolf …oh wait that would be normal for this blog.

    • If we remember last year at this time, Sam was going to get some coaching on his mechanics. His balance and throwing off the balls of his feet instead of his heels and also his long pass game. Guess that is why Sam had such a tough start and the famous phrase by Wolf, “Let Sam be Sam” came from. It threw of his whole game and by the 4th game he went back to being his old self, throwing off balance from his heels and doing better. I don’t think he ever got over it and that is why he seemed to regress in 17. Wonder what the professionals are going to do to him.

  11. Sources tell me that Helton’s 10th coach will be WKU’s big red blob mascot.

  12. Kevin Bruce wrote his ”Defensively Speaking” article on the Cotton Bowl. It’s a good read.

    we are sc .com/defensively-speaking-cotton-bowl-and-more/

  13. USC has another Ted Tollner/Paul Hackett era on it’s hands right now. Here’s the thing, nobody really remembers or attributes the mess those two coaches created to USC’s A.D. at the time, but with social media being what it is today, Lynn Swann will forever be remembered for having led USC football down the path to mediocrity.

    • Paul Hackett was 19-18 with a Sun Bowl loss in 3 years at USC and his team disliked him, generally.

      CH is 21-6 with a Rose Bowl win and two top 10 finishes in 2 years at USC and his players love him.

      Try again for a numbskull comparison that isn’t ridiculous.

      • Your boy Clay Helton is crap vs quality teams just like Tollner and Hackett and the beat downs USC is suffering because of Clay Helton’s second rate coaching are getting worse the longer he remains head coach of the Trojans.

        That’s all there is to it, unfortunately for you, you’re too clueless to recognize it.

        It ain’t rocket science, but apparently it is to you.

        • Don’t be bitter. Try not to get so worked up. You better wipe the slobber off your face before your boss walks in, Spanky.

          • Did you come up with that one all by yourself or did you have help from your boy, “the Kiffer”?

            “the Kiffer”? LOL!

            How stupid


  14. Why would ANYBODY who had a hand in coaching Sam Darnold this season be PROMOTED???!!! The kid went straight downhill this year — the more coaching he got, the worse he performed. He started the season as the Heisman frontrunner and ended it out of the conversation — against mediocre competition. And yet — the NFL is ready to make him the NO. 1 overall pick which shows the problem was not Darnold’s talent but the coaching he received! I would call anyone who touched coaching him into a room, fire them all, and start over with Daniels. But no, Clay promotes pals.

    • He got some coaching outside the program from “experts” during last offseason. Remember back, they wanted to fix his mechanics.

  15. tick tock helton is on his way out Usc is too scared of losing recruits they already have three coaches in mind to take over. be patience lets signing period go by and let swann and crew pull the trigger. coaches coming in wil make a lot of people happy.

    • Don’t hold your breath about any coaching changes coming the Trojans way, Lynn Swann isn’t that smart, not to mention the fact he isn’t anything but a figure head with no authority to do anything regarding the Trojans football program.

      Lynn Swann USC Trojan…what a major disappointment he turned out to be.

  16. A 6’6 310lb 4 star offensive lineman is transferring. Not like we need him.

    I tell you what we really need. Another small speedy receiver or a small running back who can’t catch. If we can’t get that we need a slow corner-back who hypes himself. -_-

    USC is not competing for national championships. Ever since Pat Haden the fb program and athletics in general have lost their way.

    • Helton will probably replace that lineman with a 2 star cornerback and the Sunshine Pumpers will say, “Remain calm, all is well”.


    • When was the last time USC lost a transfer that actually hurt the Trojans? This should be good, if you have a clue.

      The last thing USC’s needs are crappy OLs who want to transfer. And stars don’t matter once you get to college and neither does 6-6, 310 if you can’t play well.

      • No one knows what impact a kid will make so that question doesn’t make sense. Brice Butler for example was an excellent WR but our coaches thought otherwise. Jarvis Jones wasn’t cleared and didn’t want to wait for the second opinion that SC doctors wanted to give which could have taken most of his season so he vamoosed. EJ Price already is being touted at UK but the jury is out, we’ll see next year but we could have used the body.

        As for crappy, he played for us, but I would think that the OL coaching is what’s crappy. All of our starters for the last few years who graduated are in the NFL but they were a sieve of a line while here and everyone ragged on them. Anyway….

        • USC always has WRs and Brice Butler, whom we did fine without, needed to maximize his potential elsewhere. USC doctors didn’t want to play Jarvis Jones and it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to physical health. EJ Price, a very unpopular player, was a cancer on the team, and tried to get players to leave. No loss there. He should have never been at USC in the first place.

          I’m sure USC will do just fine without this mystery OL you are referring to. It makes no sense to keep unhappy players on the team. The sooner he leaves, the better, so we can bring in someone who belongs at USC.

          You sound like a typical nervous nellie who thinks USC should never lose players via transfer. That’a not the real world and a player who wants to leave shouldn’t be taking up space better used by a player who fits better into USC as both a person and a player.

          • Pete Carroll used to talk about recruiting your team. Saying that losing Roy Hemsley, a talented kid is okay is ridiculous considering that everyone is talking about OL play. As for Price sometimes a kid is a problem, but it goes to environment. Anyway, according to you, Gomer and this crap coaching is okay, so I don’t know what to tell you because it really, really isn’t and the vast majority of fans, press, etc. see it.

          • I never mentioned Helton once. Learn how to read. Try again.

            Losing Hemsley is no big deal. Weak and slow. He was always a project from the get-go who never made an impact. Should have never been signed.

            You mention PC, for whatever reason. Pete now has the absolute worst OL in the NFL and Seattle is officially a sinking ship. Maybe he can beg slugs like Banner and Mama (who both didn’t play in 2017 or were on the practice squad) to come to Seattle. Fat chance (pun intended).

            The supposed terminally homesick Price caused all his own problems, not USC, which did him a big favor and kept him in school long after he was any use to the program. Should have never been signed and left as dead weight before enrolling at perennial SEC doormat/basketball school UK, losers of 5 of their last 7. Good pick for Price. He should fit right in with the Wildcats. Once again, no loss for USC.

  17. Bryan Ellis really did a wonderful with Darnold who regressed quite a bit in 2017. Give me Carson Palmer who knows how to play QB if he wants to coach right away after retirement. List the schools who were after Ellis to give an indication of his worth.

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