Coaching Dilemma

Would you rather be USC defensive line coach or San Francisco 49ers assistant defensive line coach? Kenechi Udeze interviewed with the 49ers earlier this week. It might seem like a no-brainer to stay at USC but Udeze has not always seen eye-to-eye with defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.

76 thoughts on “Coaching Dilemma

  1. If offered the opportunity, he needs to take it, because the 49ers organization appears to be stable, and Clay Helton will probably get fired after his 6-6 season next year.

    • You can win 6 games by accident in the Pac-12. Throw in the Vegas scrimmage and 7 is in hand.

      • Oh LR, I think Helton’s 2018 season will match or exceed his 2016 and 2017 season. Games 2 and 3 are going to be dicey. U. of Texas is going to bet the State that they can beat us.

        • The truth is, TEXAS CAN beat us in Austin. It’ll take a great USC effort, or we are going down.

        • USC can play with Texas. Don’t turn it over and play tough pass defense. Everyone talks about how bad USC without Sam is , when the emphasis should be can Texas score on that incredible USC defense.

          • USC doesn’t play as well away. Austin will be a huge challenge. TEXAS will be bent on revenge too. I think that’s gonna matter. We hurt them very bad in the Coliseum last Sept. I’m not sure we’ll be ready with our brand new QB for what they have to dish out. Will be very interesting to see who Vegas will favor.

          • Can you use the same logic for the ND game at USC home? QB just needs to throw to those outstanding receivers, and the rpo is already in the playbook, we will have a QB that can run fast. Things look better all the time.

          • steveg, You nailed it. We will have the talent come Sept 2018, to put points on the board against the tTxas while our Defense, which could be and should be AMAZING come Sept,, rips the H#ll out of the Horns.

        • Really? Man you truly are an addict if you actually believe in your mindless blinkered assumption Helton will top 2017.

      • Hard for me to believe that so many have given up on a season before it even starts…sports sure have changed since my youth.

        • Face it. The P12 stinks. Only people who don’t buy that are P12 fans. The real world saw enough last season as the P12’s best team, USC, got annihilated by both ND and OHIO ST, two teams that couldn’t even make the POs.

          Lots of people are sick and tired of winning ugly against mediocrity and getting absolutely woodshedded by superior teams.

          Things really haven’t changed much actually. USC fans wanted McKay out bad before Topping stood up for him and insisted he was solid.

          • You can win ugly or pretty, they don’t give out style points, like you said mid season, it’s still a win.

          • Oh, but they do give out style points, if you’re talking about POs and rankings. Teams like the Trojans definitely got dinged big for winning ugly snd losing very bad. I know you don’t care about rankings as much as some of us, like me, do. It’s great to win and look good while doing it, at least to me.

            And aside from rankings, winning ugly like USC did so much of the season can be a very dangerous approach. We could have easily, very easily, lost to TEXAS and UTAH. Had we done that, and possibly ended up losing 5 games in 2017, the Helton narrative would be pointedly more angry than it is right now. Most of us are in wait-and-see mode. Tack on a couple more losses and a Vegas Bowl appearance and who knows what Swann of USC fans would be thinking now? I don’t think it would be pretty, do you?

      • There are only three losses on the schedule: at Stanford, at Texas and hosting ND. With the Pac 12 at its worst in its short history, there is no excuse for Helton not going at least 9-3 and winning the South.

        • I don’t think there is a solid “not a chance in heck of winning” game on the 18 schedule. I keep saying if the QB can complete 60-65%, if we can get 100+- yards on the ground, then the defense is going to lock down the opposition. I think SC is going to have a very good year. I would love to see a fullback in when we are inside the 5 yard line. I don’t believe our O line will be any worse than last season, so they have nowhere to go but up.

          • True, I am giving a worse case scenario of 3 losses.If Mike Fink the King of the LA River comes through we could run the table!

    • Stable? Okay. He is doing great where he is and will get better and eventually end up with a D line coaching job instead of assistant.

      • All Fred’s saying is that the 49ers are universally viewed as an up-and-comer and everyone respects their coaching. Everyone.

        USC obviously doesn’t draw that same respect from the football world. That’s just the way it is. Most think Helton is on the hot seat. That’s not a stable position, even if he isn’t gonna be fired tomorrow.

        Mora was in Helton’s position last year at this time and many bruin fans wished he’d been unloaded prior to 2017. He didn’t make it through the year. I’m sure Helton will make it through 2018. But after that, I have no idea.

      • The 49ers coach, and general manager have five year contracts, that’s my definition of stable. Clay Helton’s going into next season with three years left on his deal, and will probably get relieved of his duties

        • Actually Fred, I should not have posted. I hate the nfl and have not followed it for years except to see how certain players are doing.

  2. Well I hope he stays, everyone on the line played better during the season. The freshmen to the the seniors. Plus he’s proven to be a nice recruiter .

    • Whereas Pendergast can’t and won’t recruit worth diddly squat.

      If USC loses KU, the negative handwriting for this staff is on the wall, though I’m sure many Trojan rah rah faithful will just write it off as no big deal, just like losing McCullough was no big deal either.

      • Or losing coach Robinson to LSU last year? The loses are always worse now than then, huh? But then we asked the same thing, who’ll replace him? And we did.
        I don’t want to lose BKU either, and I don’t think we will, but if it happens, then on to the next. I remember some that weren’t so sure BKU had the experience or skill to teach when he was hired, and now many of the same are bemoaning his departure before its even happened.

        • But McCullough was a lot better than Robinson IMO. Our next RB coach won’t be a lot better than McCullough, I guarantee you that.

          I always thought BKU would be good. Pure ability often over-ranks experience in my book.

          I still say, if we lose BKU, he won’t be replaced with nearly an equal coach. It all adds up and I’m not in favor of the “on to the next” solution. A coach like Saban or Meyer or Swinney can operate in that way. A coach like Helton has nowhere near the juice and contacts to pull that off, unless you like living in La La Land.

          • I’m not sure that he was much better, very efficient and effective for sure but that usually happens when the message and methods change and fundamentals are strong. Perhaps it is LaLa land as I think there are many who can coach…and I’m still not convinced BKU is leaving.
            Also, this whole he recruits or doesn’t recruit thing is a bunch of Huey in my mind too.. however Clancy has done it, this will probably be the best defensive class since PC and maybe before. Now if Clancy gets the blame when we don’t get someone, then he should get credit when we do…anyway, my point is recruiting requires teamwork from the entire staff and this staff has certainly shown that it’s capable and willing to get it done..however you feel about the x’s & o’s.

          • So you’re saying it wouldn’t help at all if Clancy could really recruit. We’ll agree to part ways there.

            And if there are so many who can coach, why are Callaway and Bradford, the leaders of USC’s clear two biggest weaknesses, so hard to replace?

            The bottom line is USC has staff weaknesses and we’re losing instead of improving in that area.

            But I’m sure you think we’re actually getting better. More power to you.

          • I don’t put words in your mouth, and I’d appreciate you not putting words in mine. I said nothing of the position coaches you mentioned. Although it is funny that Bradford is the lead recruiter for several of the dbs..

          • Too bad Bradford can’t coach. If teams just won games on paper, we wouldn’t have to worry about actually watching USC’s corners trying to cover anyone.

            You seem to be overlooking the USC brand, which is so heavily involved in the Trojan recruiting success. We’re unanimously viewed a the biggest football power west of the Mississippi. If Bradford were at Fresno St or SDS, he’d be getting his clock cleaned. But he’d probably recruit very well at ucla too.

          • Of course it’s the brand, has nothing to do with the coaches, until someone finds out they don’t recruit then that’s a major problem, whatever..hope the season sucks for all you who are waiting for it…such good analysis deep perspective.

          • Don’t put words in my mouth.

            I’m hoping for a great season and a long USC career for Helton. I know I’m not nearly as deep as you are, but cut me some slack.

          • These guys are exhausting. They know everything about every coach except they really know nothing about them at all.

          • Rah! Rah! Rah! You Rah Rah’s are so much smarter than anyone else. Congrats on your expertise. It’s compelling.

          • I suppose my mindset is a bit healthier then writing off the 2018 season before spring ball has started.

          • Nobody wrote off the 2018 season idiot. You should learn how to read before you post Rah Rah.

          • Hey Debbie downer you and your cadre have been on here for a month with your woe is me act and it’s old. The rest of us are tired of your crap. We’ll be fine in 2018 and if your only borometer for success is a NC then we’ve had dozens of really crappy years in your book.

          • Show me where I said a NC was the only measure of success? You can’t, and never will, because I never have Rah Rah Boy. You’re wrong and not man enough to admit it.

            As I said, learn how to read before you post.

            And if I bother you that much, block me idiot, or can’t you figure that out?

            Otherwise, deal with the fact you Rah Rah’s make a lot of us middle-of-the-roaders sick with your saccharine acceptance of many things which USC needs to address. You don’t like it, too bad.

        • Or losing Coach Wiilson a few years back to Alabama. The better coaches just don’t like the atmosphere around SOCAL where the HC isn’t breathing fire. Helton nor Sarkisian breathed any fire. Haden didn’t want to be upstaged either.

          • Wilson was losing his job with his HC and DC, not because of his own choice..revisionist history.

      • I’ve been accused of being a rah rah and a brainless one at that but I recognized both McCullough and Udeze were quality assistants. It was obvious that their units were among the strengths of the team.
        McCullough earned the NFL job and he will be missed. I hope Udeze sticks around for at least one more season

  3. USC should do all we can to keep Udeze, even if it means shipping off Pendergast. I’m sure that won’t happen but if USC loses KU, Pendergast himself is gonna find out excellent DL coaches are worth their weight in gold.

    Pendergast isn’t easy to work with but CH loves him, just like Callaway. Interesting times at USC. I said long ago that this time period through March will define Helton’s Trojan future. What’s next Clay?

    • If KU has 1 year left on contract ,it will be more in Swann’s hand’s. I know he offered a raise and extention to Deland. Much more at play than what Clay wants.

      • Clay’s a big boy. If he doesn’t want these problems, he should learn how to stop winning brutally ugly and getting blown out by the powers. That’s his fault and nobody else’s.

        I’ve got no sympathy for him. He was literally handed the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s up to him to seal the deal and he still hasn’t done it.

        Personally, I hope he succeeds. But if 2018 is more of what we just went through in 2017, then I hope Swann pulls the cord so we can graduate to a team that doesn’t look so damn discombobulated and sloppy all the time.

        • I agree with much you have said,however I think the problems go up the chain .Swann and above.If 2018 by Trojan standards falls short.Helton is let go, will Swann and administration do what’s necessary to make a exceptional hire ? I really am not confident they would .

          • If Swann drops the ball on the big football hire which may be to come, he’ll be deserted just like Haden was. Haden only hired one coach – Sark. It killed him.

            Swann’s a big-time football guy and he’s playing hard ball with Helton and staff now because he wants to be able to make a financially prudent switch if he has to and not pay out 12 mil like ucla did to get rid of Mora.

            I predict Swann will go big-time if he has to. If he decides to play small ball and brings in a mediocre dude, it’s over for him. He won’t recover from the biggest task a USC AD ever has if he flops at football.

          • I agree that Swann is laying low and postering for a switch the end of this next season. But he better make his big hire as you say for 2019 or he will be exposed as another Haden.

    • I would almost prefer to see Clancy leave than KU. Of course what kind of replacement could Helton get tends to nullify that idea also. But it USC were to lose one of the two I would prefer it be Clancy. There are DC’s out there. KU is a diamond being polished. SF can see it.

      • It would be scary to see Helton replacing Clancy with someone no one else in the Big 5 conferences would hire. And that is just the kind of coach Helton would bring in too. I think Helton would panic if he lost Pendergast.

  4. USC should fight tooth and nail to keep KU. The fact that he and Clancy don’t see eye-to-eye is actually a good thing. Coaches need to exchange ideas and argue them out. Iron sharpens iron.

    • But if it becomes a real personality conflict, as developed between Baby Helton and Tee, it’s no good, which is why Swann stepped in and issued orders.

      I doubt BKU will leave because of Pendergast. The Niner opportunity could be just too good to pass up in terms of a pipeline to an NFL OL asst spot and I would imagine many college assts want to move up to get out from under the all-consuming recruiting task.

  5. The real dilemma is losing a good position coach versus holding him back. I wouldn’t want Kenechi to miss an opportunity, but I don’t like the repercussions either.
    What’s missing from the story is which position is better for him. A lateral move isn’t a great move unless there is truth in the statement that he doesn’t like Pendersast. Has anyone besides Scott mentioned this rift?

    • Not seeing eye-to-eye in a coaching staff is quite different than not seeing eye-to-eye with a friend. Two type A personalities testosterone filled generally leads to some interesting yelling contests. It works.

      • I am wondering about the timing of this rumor, our adversaries trying to scare off some of our recruits?

        • Or websites driving their click numbers up? Still the interview happened and there is difference of opinions…is it terminal? Don’t think so.

  6. Not one team has come calling with any interest in Clay Helton or Neil Callaway.

    Second rate coaches aren’t in demand, except at USC.


  7. Wolfman,
    What did you get Jacquie B for Christmas.
    That guy is a guaranteed double digit post every single time you sneeze!
    Sure, it’s probably because this is his primary social outlet but, hey, a hit is a hit.
    He is money in your bank and you should be sure you get him something he can use, like a life.

      • Poor little hillbilly troll, 10pm on a Saturday night and you say I’m here all the time, business slow at the still…
        You’re the most anti-SC poster here. Never a good thing to say about the school or the alumni, poor jealous troll, you’ll never get it.

  8. Hope he stays, a consistent pass rush had been missing for a long time before he came.

  9. The bottom line is that 2018 success will fall upon 4 players attributes. If Cam Smith/ Porter Gustin/ Steven Carr/ & the single biggest Question Mark Iman Marshall have break-out seasons in which all 4 are capable of it would greatly reduce the stress & pressure off of Sears/ Fink/ Daniels. My Two greatest concerns are 1) coaching staff – selecting the right Quarterback 2) Tee Martin play calling ( getting the ball to Carr in open field) i.e. wheel routes/ screen passes. An additional concern could become pass- protection ( West Coast offense comes to mind ) quick passes to receivers/ three- step drop allowing the receivers chances to break tackles. I’m hoping & praying that this time next year ( I’m eating crow & owing sincere amends to Helton/ Martin) It’s possible ?

  10. Clay Helton has the folksy personality to attract good athletes. Parents must love him in the living room. He doesn’t have to sell his underachieving coaching staff but just polish the USC name to most California football athletes. But Clay Helton is another Terry Donahue at UCLA. He would win just enough to keep his job for some administration that just wanted to be competitive enough but doesn’t care about National Championships. Just beat USC every other year or so. Helton should have gotten in across town where he would have endeared those fans. Maybe that is where he winds up????

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