Many readers of this article will not be happy with the content. You are forewarned. Clay Lucky Helton may be just that. The luckiest Coach who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. He inherited a magical season with Sam Darnold. Even though he tried to lose that season by awarding the then most tenured QB, Max Browne with the starting QB position during the end of Fall Camp. Max is a great guy and was was a huge star in high school that got caught behind the iron man Cody Kessler. It happens. But during the spring and fall camp many believed that the new kid on the block was more deserving skill set wise than Max. Clay chose loyalty. Being loyal to Clay is a huge lever. In Max’s case though it was more Clay being loyal to Max than the other way around. Outsiders disagreed and then the season started and it was clear after the beat down in Arlington Texas at the hands of Alabama that Max was not ready for the big stage. He eventually transferred to Pittsburgh where he finished his career.
Sam Darnold went on to make Clay a hero and beat Penn State in the Rose Bowl that year to finish off an amazing season for the team but also Clay as he was on the hot seat for the first four-five weeks. When Sam eventually opted for the NFL early Clay Lucky Helton went on to a stunning 5-7 season. Most coaches in the past at USC would have been shown the door but not Clay Helton. In fact, his boss was fired. Lynn Swan was tossed out on a leisurely stroll one Monday morning from fairway to President Carol Folts office. Packed and gone that day. But not Clay Helton. He remained under watch and kept that obnoxious goofy look stare and smile gong throughout the entire process on his way to one of the worst seasons in USC Football history.
But what seemed simple that year was clearly not. The odds on Clay remaining at USC after his 5-7 season were less than a 10% chance. Well silly media he fooled you all. His new boss Mike Bohn coming all the way from the University of Cincinnati with a Clay like resume was perfect for Helton. In similar Helton fashion, Bohn took 11 days to even consider firing Helton while the ramp to recruiting season was closing in on the new AD. What a position to be in you say? Agree. Big Mike makes the big announcement of Clay is being retained and then he spun it like there never was an active search. Clay wins again. But in this case, Bohn made a huge mistake, the USC fans know better. The 11 days to process the end result and then to insult the fan base with a NO search conducted tone was the worst thing Bohn cold have done. He went from being well received to getting a seat on the Fire Helton bus.
So we fast foward to the 2019 season and Clay beats all the weak teams and loses to all the tough teams. Simple simon. It’s Clay at this best. He can spin a loss like no one else on the planet with his charm and good looks. Pure Hollywood. Finishes the season with a butt kicking and worst bowl loss in USC history since before the 1950’s! He is retained and is allowed to fire his coordinators and coaches. But not Clay Lucky Helton. He is now Power Helton. Fight On! Clay or maybe the AD Mike Bohn go out and get a pretty decent support staff to prop up this weakness of a head coach. Today the USC staff looks pretty good overall and is getting ready for the start of Spring 2020 and on to Summer and Fall camp until they have to board UAL to Arlington Texas in September.
So, I can see how this article may upset many. I was pissed off just writing the truth. But we all know that this talented team and now rebuilt staff reporting to Clay Lucky Helton may just have a run in 2020. Time will tell. But if this imposter of a head coach wins 10+, the South and the PAC-12 he may get a Lynn Swan like gift from AD Bohn in the form of yet another extension and given the horrible recruiting season just completed this is the rub. He will get yet another pass when the 2021 season is going 5-7 possibly.
USC Fans are divided but I dare say it isn’t down the middle. I can see this run of luck for Clay continuing and then like every Ground Hog season he returns with the Film Review Sunday comments during the 2021 season.