The day after an old fashioned beat down is very reflective. Flying home to San Jose was a long flight home today. Only three hours but enough time to vent and reflect. All the things that seem so obvious and have been building for months, if not two years, was seen in front of a record Texas home crowd. One plug for the Texas Longhorn fans I sat with, they are extremely knowledgable and echo’d a lot of what will leave my keyboard flying home on the Southwest Airlines flight home.
Did the USC Trojan football team play to it’s potential? Yes they did. They plaid to the potential that they were coached. Did they play to their true potential, hell no. This team has talent. They didn’t get to USC and we found out they were frauds. These kids can and will play to their potential if given the right coaching staff to make it all come together. No ifs ands or buts. Just plain common sense.
Clay Helton is one of the most respected and loved human beings that have graced Heritage Hall. It’s not his fault that this is happening. He is learning on a job where there should be no Trainee’s at the helm of one of the most visible sports programs in any sport. USC means something. It does not mean win the PAC-12 South and win the PAC-12 Conference title. Those two items are expected. The law of attraction has always benefited USC with stellar recruiting. In fact, this staff is very good at recruiting if we judge the most recent 3-5 years. Can’t argue that as top 10 recruiting has been a strong play for USC. This is the candy that sticks to the staff. This is the addiction that the program has fallen off course with. Just like your best sales men or woman are not always your best Managers so true is it that great college recruiters translates in to great coaches. Mistake number one and a big one for Lynn Swan to navigate out of now.
Clay Helton and staff lack any imagination. We did actually go in motion on 4-5 plays last night which was an improvement. But playing four quarters and resulting in negative ground yardage? USC? Anyone? Anyone? Didn’t Texas just give up 300+ yards to their first two patsy games? Boy were we a patsy in waiting. Last spring and in to summer and fall camp Clay Helton preached physicality. He talked about a run first offense built on that very foundation of power running and physicality. Come on man, this is not a physical team. Even the take down of the Texas QB by Porter Gustin in the second half was not proof of any transformation to this much pumped up promise by Clay. He talks about we need to watch the Film before we comment on games. Maybe he needs to go back further and listen to what he preached about the upcoming season and physicality.
Big observation by the Texas fans last night who I was sitting with. The Trojans give away their offensive alignment by getting to the line of scrimmage and staring a their coaches for help or maybe a play. Hard to tell. Many of the Texas fans, who were quite knowledgable, pointed to the timeouts where Coach Herman had his team huddled up on the sidelines while USC would stand at their appointed line of scrimmage and kind of wait till Texas came back. Very obvious in my view and opinion. Why not huddle up at least. We are not in any sense of a hurry up tempo hiking the ball under 10 seconds remaining in play clock. So why not show the defense where they should be lined up with 30 seconds to make adjustments while they await the next snap fully rested and aware of their assignments.
This was a total break down of a team in Texas. This was a team that showed great promise week over week in the first quarter only to snap back to their old habits and go scoreless after their great start. Scoreless. It wasn’t their conditioning. It was something much deeper. The lack of physicality is directly related to how this team prepares each week. “Mastery Thursday” per Clay Helton is what he calls the Thursday practice now each week. Mastery of what? No pads outside of maybe Tuesday. And a team that loves their coach not for what he is coaching but for who he is. I get that as I can relate to him on a personal level and he is genuine in his beliefs and how he manages the team on a personnel level. A+ for Howdy Doody and the Mr. Rogers show as this he excels in .
USC will not move in a positive direction this year. The PAC-12 South is not a Power 5 performing division of the Pac-12. Let’s not forget this conference of champions when 1-8 in last years bowls. How ya like us now Larry Scott? Even if they win out the south it doesn’t mea anything. It will actually hurt their standing as patsy’s beating up on patsy’s reduces your power ranking. And it should. The USC Trojans have fallen further now with more than in the darkest days of the NCAA Sanction era. Their ability to right this ship and maintain this staff is less than 0%. The recipe for failure is quite obvious and now it is damage control only to be fixed with a clean sweep of new staff at the end of this difficult season.
Fight On Trojan Fans. Support the kids as they are the future and Lynn Swan will fix this mess when the timing is right. Buckle up for a long and cold Fall to Winter season.