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O/NSO: A matter of coaching compromise or status quo edition

The Obvious: In a recent Zoom media conference, newly hired offensive line coach Clay McGuire and tight ends coach Seth Doege gave a rundown of their coaching past, close relationship with Trojans offensive coordinator Graham Harrell (photo above), and position philosophies, which may need some compromising with the current Trojans OC, who may just prefer the 2019-20 status quo.  

The Not So Obvious: In the Zoom conference, McGuire said that there are certain situations where a quarterback should take the snap from under center. Okay, we believe the new O-line coach, but in the end, it will be Graham Harrell’s decision. This should be interesting in the spring to see if that’s part of the predictable offense or more likely we’ll see when Harrell starts calling plays in the fall.   

The Obvious: Clay McGuire said in the Zoom conference that the pass blocking he teaches is “old school” and not the same as most schools teach or use today, but it’s the running game philosophy and McGuire’s input regarding that special portion of the Trojans offense that is the most intriguing.  

The Not So Obvious: McGuire said, “Well, we’ll meet with Coach Harrell, and we’ll have a run game that fits and is complimentary to what we’re doing in the pass game. We know we were talking about it at length yesterday, every time that we’ve had a really good offense, or a really strong football team, the run game has been really good.” Okay, let the negotiations begin. Again, Harrell is under the credibility gun or does he even care about adjustments to the running game? Yeah, he might throw McGuire a bone and incorporate what the new O-line coach is selling, but we’ll see about that.

The Obvious: Clay McGuire said in the Zoom conference that you have to have a physical running attack if you plan on getting to and winning a national championship. McGuire said that in establishing the run early, it will help the Trojans passing offense for the balance of the game.  

The Not So Obvious: And where have we heard that before? Clay Helton has said it. Graham Harrell talks about it, but we have yet to see a commitment to a physically dominating running attack. The O/NSO suspects the third season of Harrell’s run-game philosophy will solidify the reality of the controversial OC’s core beliefs.

Trojans fans are cautiously optimistic regarding comments made by new offensive line coach Clay McGuire (photo above) as it pertains to running the football in concert with the Trojans Air Raid offense.

The Obvious: In his Zoom conference, Clay McGuire invoked the names of Tony Boselli, Bruce Matthews, and Anthony Munoz as it pertains to the long history of legendary USC All-America offensive linemen.

The Not So Obvious: Well, kudos to McGuire for acknowledging the storied past of USC offensive linemen. To be honest, it’s questionable if any of those three would have come to Troy to play in the current Trojans passing offense. Here’s hoping that McGuire can work miracles in 2021, but a number of notable linemen from yesteryear reportedly are not pleased with the recent state of Trojans offensive lines, which is not exactly a state secret.

The Obvious: New tight ends coach Seth Doege (pronounced day-ghee) certainly sounded like the Trojans were going to use their tight ends more in 2021.

The Not So Obvious: Well, again, we’ll see what really happens next fall. It’s not like Doege and Clay McGuire aren’t eager to make suggestions to Harrell. It might be possible, however, that Graham Harrell will listen to his offensive friends, McGuire and Doege. Remember this, the Trojans coaching staff is former quarterbacks heavy beginning with the head coach so there should be some sort of common bond amongst the plethora of former signal callers. Heck, even Trojans athletic director Mike Bohn (Kansas) is a former signal caller. 

New Trojans tight ends coach Seth Doege (photo above) is excited about his new coaching position. (Photo by USCfootball.com)

The Obvious: It figures that nobody knows quarterbacks like another quarterback.

The Not So Obvious: In telling it like it is and discussing why he wants big tight ends that can catch and block, former Texas Tech quarterback and USC tight end coach Seth Doege said of Trojans All-Pac-12 quarterback Kedon Slovis, “Nothing against (Kedon) Slovis, but he can’t run to save his life nor do we want to run him. You don’t want to get that dude hurt because he’s such a special player.” Again, we’ll see how much of an effect Doege has on Harrell when it comes to getting the Trojans tight ends involved in the offense.

The Obvious: Both Clay McGuire and Seth Doege attended the same high school but not at the same time. 

The Not So Obvious: The new USC coaches attended Crane (Texas) High School, which is south of the Midland/Odessa area in West Texas. Doege, younger than McGuire, said that McGuire was a big-name quarterback at Crane. Ironically, Doege’s dad became the head football coach at Crane when McGuire had graduated Crane, but Clay remained a legendary football name in the area. McGuire even became an assistant coach at Crane, and on occasion, he and Doege would work out together. Doege went so far as to say he knows McGuire better than anybody else on the USC staff, which should have its benefits. 

The Obvious: Congrats to both former Trojans All-America tailback Ronald Jones and Todd McNair, former Trojans running backs coach, on their Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Not So Obvious: Ah, the good old days when the Trojans used to have a running attack. Need the O/NSO say more?

Former Trojans All-America tailback and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones (photo above on right) holds up his team’s Super Bowl Championship Trophy.

The Obvious: The NFL showcased its newest members into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at last Sunday’s Super Bowl.

The Not So Obvious: Unfortunately, Trojans All-America tackle Tony Boselli again didn’t reach the minimum limit of votes. Leave it to Tony, however, to still show class and dignity by telling Jaguar.com, I want to be in the Hall of Fame. It’s a huge honor. It’s a special group and the five guys who made it all deserved to be there this year. But considering what we’ve been through as a family this year, I said, ‘That’s OK. Let’s hope for next year and we’ll keep going forward and wish the people who did make it a big congratulations.’ I’m really excited for them.”

Former Trojans All-America offensive tackle Tony Boselli (photo above) was gracious upon hearing he had again failed short in votes to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Obvious: Former Trojans wide receiver coach and offensive coordinator Tee Martin under Clay Helton has been hired as the wide receivers coach for the Baltimore Ravens. 

The Not So Obvious: So maybe Tee wasn’t the world’s greatest offensive coordinator or was just a figurehead while it was rumored that Helton called more than a handful of plays, but Martin was a very good recruiter for the Trojans and obviouly not a bad wide receiver coach. Say all you want, but Tee is in the NFL at a position he has shown some acumen.  

The Obvious: Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei running back Raleek Brown (5-8, 185), considered one of the top running backs in the country for the Class of 2022, has announced he plans on attending Oklahoma, which runs the ball with power as well as throwing the football with great effectiveness.

The Not So Obvious: Well, is anybody shocked that Brown, obviously the top back in California, is heading Soonersville? Brown has been an Oklahoma fan and has already visited Norman, but the 2020 Trojans coming in last in Pac-12 team rushing certainly didn’t help. In fact, and not to belabor the point, the Trojans offense better show that its 2021 brand of offense isn’t “Deadman’s Curve” for running backs, so help me Jan and Dean.

The Trojans are hoping that Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei’s electrifying running back Raleek Brown (photo above), a recent Oklahoma commit, can be flipped for the Class of 2022.

The Obvious: Raleek Brown is at Mater Dei after transferring from Edison HS in Stockton, California.  

The Not So Obvious: One of the main recruiters of Brown by Oklahoma is former Sooner standout and NFL performer DeMarco Murray, who was once the subject of an intense recruiting effort by the Trojans when DeMarco played his high school ball at powerhouse Las Vegas Bishop Gorman. The O/NSO distinctly remembers Murray participating in USC’s Rising Stars Camp and what a great burst of speed DeMarco possessed.   

The Obvious: The Tournament of Roses is suing the city of Pasadena over the rights to the Rose Bowl’s name.

The Not So Obvious: The Tournament of Roses is suing the city of Pasadena over the rights to the Rose Bowl’s name because of the game’s relocation to Arlington, Texas, and still being called the Rose Bowl. The relocation was due to Los Angeles County COVID restrictions and health considerations. Notre Dame and Alabama strongly objected playing in a stadium where at least some of their fan base wanted to attend. Say, can we all just get along?

The Tournament of Roses is suing the city of Pasadena over the 2021 Rose Bowl (photo above) after the Jan. 1 game was moved to Arlington, Texas.

The Obvious: And finally, the 2022 Rose Bowl Game will return to its normal Pac-12 versus potentially the Big Ten.  

The Not So Obvious: The 2021 College Football Playoff (CFP) semi-finals games will be played on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, and will take place at the Cotton and Orange Bowls, respectively. The CFP National Championship Game will be played on Monday night, Jan. 10, in Indianapolis.  


Greg Katz

Now entering his 59th season of either writing, broadcasting, or just plain watching USC football, WeAreSC columnist Greg Katz began his affiliation with the website back in 2001, introducing his well-received O/NSO (The Obvious/The Not So Obvious) column and later adding his respected IMHO Sunday opinion and tidbits column. Greg, a former ESPN.com college football columnist covering USC, is also a member of the Football Writer's Association of America. He is also known in Southern California as a professional public address announcer, having called the the 1996 Rose Bowl Game between USC and Northwestern. Greg also holds a master's degree in athletic administration and was a former varsity high school coach of 27 years.

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