Clay Helton complimented Alabama coach Nick Saban by saying he was “maybe the best in our generation”
That’s a no-brainer. Except, of course, in USC circles. So what do you think? Who would you take? Would Carroll have been more successful if he remained at USC? I think if Lane Kiffin were asked, he would compliment Saban more. But that’s because he and Carroll had a falling out a few years ago.
Jordan Schakel, a 6-foot-5 guard/forward from Bishop Montgomery, committed to San Diego State on Wednesday night. His other choices were USC, Cal and Stanford. Normally, a recruit picking another school is not that newsworthy. Except . . . both of Schakel’s parents went to USC. Except . . . his mother is former USC All-American volleyball player Stefanie Bodison. Except . . . she is also a doctor at USC. Except . . . Schakel said he wanted to go to USC before this summer. Except . . . any time a star athlete from the South Bay doesn’t go to USC it is a surprise. This was a tailor-made recruit for Andy Enfield, who also lives in the South Bay. USC assistant coach Tony Bland, who came from San Diego State, cannot be too happy about this. C’mon Enfield!
Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel, who has radio show on SiriusXM, thinks UCLA could bolt for the Big 12 Conference.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see UCLA say, `You know what? This deal with this USC thing? We’re gonna go and be our own guy, rather than always tied to the school here in Los Angeles.’ It wouldn’t shock me at all. I don’t have any inside information. I’m just saying from outside looking in. UCLA just left Adidas for cash. They went to Under Armour. Right? If there were a reason to do it.”
Yes, it is crazy. But it also reinforces the idea that from a UCLA perspective that “this USC thing” overrides almost everything.
USC and UCLA have one thing in common: Offensive coordinators who never called plays before. Who do you trust more? Tee Martin (USC) or Kennedy Polamalu (UCLA)? Each one dealt with the sometimes frustrating style of Lane Kiffin. Polamalu did not call plays as USC offensive coordinator (2010-12) and got into an altercation with Kiffin in El Paso and was fired about five weeks later. As for Martin, Kiffin repeatedly said the former Tennessee QB would signal in the plays for the 2013 season. But when the season started, freshman QB Max Browne signalled in the plays.
One year ago, Adoree Jackson said he wanted to win the Heisman Trophy. But Jackson’s sophomore season was probably worse than his freshman year, so I asked him if he still thinks he can win a Heisman Trophy.
“It’s still one of my goals,” he said.
And how did he feel he performed last season? “I felt like I stayed the same. It wasn’t like I was terrible or trash.”
There are some professions in Southern California where USC’s always had a strong presence. For example, up until USC eliminated physical education as a major, you could go to any high school and find a coach who was a Trojan. Same with dentist. And for the second time this month, another lion of Los Angeles sportswriting has passed away. Mel Durslag died Sunday at the age of 95.
Durslag worked full time at the Los Angeles Examiner while he was a freshman at USC in 1940. He covered 10 Olympic Games, 35 Kentucky Derbys, 30 Masters golf tournaments, 34 World Series and 25 Super Bowls. Here’s a good obituary from his Herald-Examiner colleague, Doug Krikorian. Earlier this month, Sports Illustrated reporter and USC graduate Joe Jares also passed away.
To give you an idea of the scope of Durslag’s life, the USC coach during his freshman season was the legendary Howard Jones. That’s a photo above from the 1940 season when USC played Notre Dame.
Showtime, which did a weekly docu-series on Notre Dame last season, will do Season 2 on Florida State beginning Sept. 6. USC was approached by Showtime last year but could not reach an agreement. One potential issue was the Pac-12 Networks have exclusive access to its teams but USC felt it could solve those problems if it chose to a do a documentary series. Perhaps the bigger issue going forward was the potential for a train wreck if Showtime chronicled Steve Sarkisian’s meltdown. Clay Helton is no drama but maybe that doesn’t appeal to Showtime either.