As we embark into another new year, it’s appropriate to delve deep into our cardinal and gold souls and resolve to accomplish a new inventory of 2019 New Year’s resolutions, and a WeAreSC Happy New Years to all.
* I resolve not to spend too much time wondering if Clay Helton knows how fortunate he is that Lynn Swann is his athletic director and not UCLA’s Dan Guerrero, who on New Year’s Eve Monday morning fired Bruins head basketball coach Steve Alford right before the opening of the Pac-12 conference schedule.
* I resolve not to question myself how Clay Helton survived being the Trojans’ head football coach for another season after athletic director Lynn Swann told the nation that he acknowledges his coach’s football program has “deficiencies in areas that include culture, discipline, schemes, personnel and staff.” In his firing statement of Steve Alford, UCLA AD Guerrero said, “While Steve led us to three Sweet 16 appearances, we simply have not been performing at a consistent level and our struggles up to this point in the season do not bode well for the future.” The keywords: “Consistent level” and “future.”
* I resolve to keep an open mind on Gentleman Clay Helton’s future, but one can’t dismiss the fact that Dan Guerreo’s Alford firing statement and its timing could ominously foreshadow Helton’s own future, considering the degree of difficulty of the first six games of the Trojans’ 2019 football schedule coupled with the 2018 results.
* I resolve not to wonder what Trojans football might have looked like prior to Clay Helton if Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, who was fired on Monday as Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator, had never been hired as successive USC head football coaches.
* I resolve not to lament remembering current Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (Hawaii) and running back Najee Harris (NorCal), two West Coast guys, walking the Trojans’ campus not that long ago as recruits, and now thinking that if the Trojans had their act together both on and off the field, this might have been the starting USC backfield heading into 2019.
* I resolve to give Kliff Kingsbury’s “Air Raid” offense a chance even though I know that if you want to win a national championship, you’d better be able to run the football against those powerful SEC and ACC defensive fronts.
* I resolve to try and blot out mentally the fact that everybody and their Uncle Johnny seem to play in a bowl game, and these Trojans couldn’t even get to a 6-6 record to become bowl eligible.
* I resolve never again to complain what future bowl game the Trojans are playing in… unless it’s the dreaded Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.
* I resolve to let it go when the media and fan base are told that the Trojans will be a balanced offense and will feature a power running team. Perhaps after three Clay Helton seasons of lacking a power running game, this still remains a possibility but don’t count on it.
* I resolve to continue to eat Kettle Korn in the Coliseum press box during games. Is there anything better than freshly made Coliseum Kettle Korn?
* I resolve not to focus on the toughness of the Trojans’ 2019 schedule, which could easily bring about a repeat of 2018.
* I resolve not to become melancholy when I see Washington in the 2019 Rose Bowl and not the Trojans playing Big Ten champion Ohio State. On second thought, maybe playing Ohio State wouldn’t be such a good idea when I think back to last season’s Cotton Bowl.
* I resolve not to have reoccurring nightmares of quarterback JT Daniels running for his life after his offensive line was being abused by another physical opponent.
* I resolve not to have nightmares at the thought of the Trojans next offensive center snapping the ball over the head of whomever is the USC quarterback.
* I resolve not to complain AGAIN that the one thing future Trojans teams could use is a little – okay, a whole lot – of old school John McKay discipline. Given the huge amount of penalty yardage and personal fouls again this past season, the wrath of John McKay’s ghost may soon be upon us.
* I resolve AGAIN in short yardage and goal line situations to remind myself to “silently” scream, “Put in a lead fullback, two tight ends, take the snap from under center, and run the damn football.”
* I resolve not to believe that Western Kentucky is the Trojans version of a Triple A farm team.
* I resolve to never second guess defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast when his defense gives up over 30 points a game.
* I resolve not to slap my forehead when the Trojans are AGAIN penalized after coming out of a timeout and line up incorrectly. What would McKay say?
* I resolve not to slap my forehead in 2019 when the Trojans mismanage their timeouts in the second half of games. What would McKay say?
* I resolve not to slap my forehead after the Trojans can’t score touchdowns in the second half of games. Of course, I, too, need to go home and look at “the film” to understand why this is a perpetual problem. What would McKay say?
* I resolve not to slap my forehead when I see Trojan players laughing after a loss. What would McKay say?
* I resolve not to slap my forehead when I see a group of players snapping an iPhone photo on the field during a break in the action, then it shows up on social media. What would McKay say?
* I resolve not to complain that the media must make the long walk from the Figueroa and Exposition parking structure to the Coliseum media gate, a healthy walk when lugging a computer.
* I resolve not to complain when television dictates a 7:30 p.m. kickoff, which means that I’ll get back home around 2:45 a.m.
* I resolve to be objective when the Coliseum renovation project is finally finished in time for the 2019 season. Let the final scrutiny begin!
* I resolve AGAIN to continue to get goose bumps when the Trojans Marching Band performs “Conquest.”
* I resolve to continue to get chills when Trojan fans chant “We Are…SC” which means the pride is back and the Trojans are having a successful season. Oh my, how those days are missed.
* I resolve never to dismiss the goosebumps I get every time I walk either up or down the legendary Coliseum player’s tunnel.
* I resolve to believe that there will come a time when the Trojans will be in the College Football Playoff, probably an expanded eight-team playoff, and hopefully be alive to see it.