Public enemy number one within the Head Coaches of college football is so far trending with our beloved coach Clay Helton. I personally think he thrives on this as we enter the restart to the natural order for a football season post-pandemic. What he is like off the field in managing all this negativity has to be a work of art for him and his immediate family. Never easy but they get paid well to take this all in stride whether the fans like it or not.
The summer camps are now within reach for the players and USC is getting to full strength in numbers and in most cases health-wise. There are many changes impacting all football programs at the college level. The NCAA has issued major changes to the contact side of the practice schedule. The infamous, "Oklahoma Drill" has been removed and is now disallowed for all schools. Actual contact practices this fall have also been reduced from 21 to 8 so USC is facing a double edge sword as under Helton this team was not physically developed. He focused on more non-contact drills and we all remember, "No Pads November" and how well that did going in to the championship weeks. The summer camp itself is very limited to the coaches and what is really a player-run camp. I love the summer camp as it's a time where players develop their command of the team and leaders start to show their skills and desires to become the voice of the team from all the different levels of the game. While spring camp is important I put more weight on the Summer to Fall camps. Summer get's that ahh it's player-run tone but to me, this is where the line in the sand is drawn on attitude at the player level.
Summer Camp should and usually does bring out the best in those players who have that extra gear in their minds on just how peers should be performing. Summer Camp rules in my book as when Fall Camp comes it's no looking back and no time to waste on getting ready for the season. It's this camp that defines the fall camp and at that point, the huddles or at the line communication has a different meaning. I have always heard the line, "this is where they separate the men from the boys". Well, I tend to agree.
So who will the Trojans see emerge this summer. Has Kedon Slovis stepped up to the plate to lose that California Kid look and earn the role of a true leader versus the QB-1 role he clearly has? We shall see.