On the heels of the early recruiting season and having several new additions to the coaching staff under Coach Helton we take pause to reflect on what happened and what may need to happen to make 2019 a season to remember for all the right reasons. Shedding several assistant coaches was one level of the healing but Athletic Director, Lynn Swann is taking a career risking decision in not sweeping the entire staff. Is USC trying to follow the very successful turnaround at Notre Dame under Brian Kelly? That’s the most similar of comparisons however, Coach Kelly ripped the cord completely where Coach Helton kept two key coaches in Baxter in Clancy. Not sure we can really expect a 180 degree change just yet and a comparison t Notre Dames bold move is also a stretch.
The 2018 season ended in great disappointment. Every Sunday the press conference was a repeat of the previous weeks open mic with the media. Coach Helton acknowledging fixes are needed and they knew what to do. Well if they knew what to do then perhaps they don’t know how to fix things when they are broken and that’s what coaches are paid to do. 2018 showed a team that sometimes started slow but generally had a good first half. Never blown out. But clearly losing ground as the game went on. Conditioning comes to mind both physical and mentally. Big area where change has not officially occurred.
Special teams under Baxter was so-so. Not where we have been in the past but lets not forget who we have had on Kickoff and Punt returns with Adoree Jackson. Not a big fan of Baxter as progress did not occur during the year. Looking at Clancy and the defense Im more lenient here in fact I would argue that the defense fought through key injuries throughout the year. No complaining just next man up mentality. Say what you want to say but the defense played better than I had hoped with all they went through. Not going to hang a big negative on Clancy but next year we should be stout.
All hail to Kliff. The fanfare and potential for an exciting offense is in the air. Kliff has a deep and innovative look at the offensive side of the playbook. Is he a head coach in waiting? You bet. Clay doesn’t have a year five if the program stumbles again as it did in 2018. Kliff needs to make the QB-1 a true competition. J.T. Daniels should not be the anointed starter for 2019. Sears and Fink and who knows who will enter the frey should have equal access to the Air Raid tempo. This should be a key area to watch next year as Clay was unable to be objective as he is way too close to the Daniel family. Will Kliff have that authority?