Who would have thought that the USC Football program would be in this level of disarray so far removed from the NCAA Witch Hunt? Really? We have actually fallen backwards to a point of ineptness and three strategic levels of the program and university? How does this happen? Well, Im glad you asked. It happens when a program is being managed by individuals who are a combination of interns and interim managers. They all lack either experience or have long term responsibility for the entity they are responsible for in the form of interim President.
The perfect storm has hit the campus of the University of Southern California. A President removed and a now an interim leader who has fires burning in multiple key areas of Trust and Respect. A football program that is trying to keep a rich recruitment of star athletes out of high school who, for the most part, do not reach their expected level of performance.
This is not a get rid of Clay Helton story in my humble opinion. He is the least of the problems. He delivered on a need to stabilize a program that was out of control in many areas of the program. But if you dig deeply into the last 2-3 years there are still many players who have departed the program either at their own choice or were removed from the team and or university against their will. So, effort and results under Clay Helton clearly look blurry but again I don’t see Clay as the problem. He was in the right spot at the right time and was given the keys to a rich history and arguably a program poised to rise. Early on it did look like Clay was on the right path but he was gifted with something even he didn’t realize in Sam Darnold. He is a deeply committed person to relationships and his first and most importantly lesson learned for the fans and donors of the program was his insistence in going with Max Browne over Sam Darnold. The safe choice? The honorable choice for choosing loyalty and Max’s commitment and support behind Cody Kessler all those years. But it turned in to a disaster on a National scale with the Alabama game. He was not the right choice.
This key moment in time was to repeat itself over and over but was masked by the incredible skills and leadership of one Sam Darnold. An athlete and individual that comes around once in a generation to coin a phrase often used. USC has seen many of these gifted individuals and the law of attraction has been good to USC Football.
Athletic Director Lynn Swann has been the KEY to the overall lack of performance and growth of the program. He inherited a Pat Haden designed football program. He chose to stay in it’s shadows and went so far as to extend a contract with head coach Clay Helton at a time when it really didn’t require the move. A rookie mistake and someone who was showing all that cared that he lacked the tenure and thus skill to be given the keys to a blue blood program such as USC. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again. Well folks the USC Football program is insane by that definition if you agree. It needs to take a serious look at a complete cleansing of those who have walked through doors to make an impact. Bring in those to USC Football with deep resumes at this level. Stop the revolving door policy to former players and even former coaches. It doesn’t work anymore.