The last time USC played Utah in Rice-Eccles Stadium was two years ago. Did you know that during that game, former athletic director Pat Haden went into the coaches’ booth and wore headsets? At least we know that won’t happen tonight. Hopefully.
I’m wondering if USC turns it around this week. Sam Darnold is at quarterback. JuJu Smith-Schuster should be more involved. The running game should be better. Utah should be less imposing than Alabama and Stanford. This should give USC a good chance for a victory.
On the other hand, what is the offensive line going to do in a noisy environment? Will the defense forget to cover anyone? Will the special teams have eight men on the field?
Petros Papadakis went off on USC during his show Wednesday, starting with the incident involving offensive tackle E.J. Price and a football staff member. He was incredulous that a secretary is even around the team at a road game.
“How and why a uniformed player has a disagreement between the sideline and locker room with an administrative assistant from the football office is beyond the pale for me. I’ve never heard of anything like that. I’ve never seen anything like that.”
He also turned his sights on Clay Helton and the administration.
“Clay Helton has been reading off prepared index cards at his media sessions. Why not get Clay a teleprompter. USC’s administration is becoming creepy and meddlesome in many affairs where they have never been before.”
It’s time for the weekly notes column, where I mention that win or lose, Clay Helton needs USC to look organized under the watchful eye of new athletic director Lynn Swann.
Excerpt: You cannot keep your job with eight players on the field for an extra point. Or by forgetting to cover Christian McCaffrey. Or committing six false starts.
There needs to be a mindset change. That puts a lot of pressure on freshman quarterback Sam Darnold because he seems the only available savior. Full column here
Defensive tackle Noah Jefferson, who has not played since the Alabama game because of a shoulder injury, did not practice this week because of a personal issue in Las Vegas. He will not attend the Utah game.
Helton spent five minutes after practice with Adoree Jackson reviewing offensive plays. It’s desperate times, man.
With USC scoring one touchdown its two real games, you might think fans would rejoice at a QB change. But I’ve seen and heard a lot of support for Max Browne. The poll below confirms fans believe the change was sloppy. People feel like Browne was treated poorly. He waited 44 months and didn’t even get three full games. That seems to be the fuel of this backlash.