Is USC Like Michigan?

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USC special teams coach John Baxter was at Michigan last season. He said this week the Trojans resemble the Wolverines, who went 10-3 last season.

“I felt like this is the kind of team we had at Michigan last year,” Baxter said. “We lost to Utah and got better and better and better every week.”

USC is 1-2, so they would need to go 9-1 the rest of the regular season. Or maybe he meant USC would lose to Utah too.

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USC Morning Buzz: The Botched Quarterback Derby

browne-ala-3If I were USC coach, I’d have picked Sam Darnold to start from Game 1. But what happened this week demonstrated how Clay Helton botched the quarterback derby, as I wrote in this analysis.

Excerpt: Any practice observer could see Darnold was more talented, possessed the stronger arm and quicker feet. Why couldn’t Helton? Because he wants to please the players too much. Adoree Jackson wants to run track and skip spring practice? No problem. The players want to switch practice times? Fine.

And pleasing everyone meant being loyal to Browne.

“I went with the older kid,” Helton said. “I’ll never regret that decision.”

It blew up in Helton’s face, though. He burned Browne, who could have transferred a month ago to any school without sitting out. He wasted three games not starting Darnold.

Helton said Browne is not the reason USC is 1-2 and he was not being made a scapegoat. But who else lost their jobs? What about the offensive linemen that false started all game? Preseason All-American Zach Banner false started in every game this season but his job is secure.

Full story here

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Can You Believe This?

USC had eight men on the field for an extra point more than once against Stanford. Seriously.

“Some guys were not paying attention,” special teams coach John Baxter said. “They’ve all been fired.”

Meanwhile, Clay Helton confirmed offensive tackle E.J. Price has transferred because he is homesick. Helton said Price never punched him.

“I wouldn’t be here,” Helton said. “I’d be dead.”

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E.J. Price Drama

Offensive tackle E.J. Price has disappeared from the football program, which I mentioned last night. I have checked and no one knows anything about any alleged incident with Clay Helton, which some websites reported.

I can confirm Price had a small incident with a football staff member, which seems to be overblown on the staffer’s part. So no alternations. But Price looks gone. And Clay Helton will address it tonight. I know for weeks Price has been homesick.

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Put A Tent On The Coliseum Too


Why is anyone going to a Rams game? Does USC even care about the public-relations nightmare it is enabling each home game?

Go read Deadspin here about the Rams-Seahawks game. The Coliseum ran out of water as early as the second quarter in some areas. Paint from bench seats rubbed on to people’s clothes, people were smoking in the concourse. Oh, and the requisite fight above. I’m moving to London, where I can experience all these things at a 15,000-seat soccer stadium instead of 90,000 mausoleum.

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The Latest Line

I wondered if the line for the USC-Utah game would move after Sam Darnold was named quarterback, so I asked Scott Cooley of Bookmaker.eu. Utah opened as a 1.5-point favorite.

“The line is now Utah -3. It really isn’t so much the oddsmakers moving the number because of the quarterback change, as the two are essentially equal in terms of value, but moving it based on public perception. The public bettors believe that any time you make a move to the backup it doesn’t bode well for the team. And in most cases that may be true, but not all the time, especially when you’re talking about college football.”

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USC Morning Buzz: What Happened To The Quiet Period?

mccaffrey-stanfordWasn’t Clay Helton supposed to be a no-drama hire? There was a change at quarterback Monday just three games into the season even though I remember Helton saying he would wait at least a month with whoever won the job back in August.

The heat on Helton is red hot, however, so the change is understandable. My analysis here is on how slow Helton’s been to make changes this season. Then highly rated offensive tackle E.J. Price supposedly left the team.

Finally, there’s been a picture on twitter of USC defending an extra point against Stanford with only eight players on the field. Someone claimed at the game it happened three times. Why not?

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