To this point of the offseason the USC Trojans have only made one change in on-field assistants and that hole has reportedly been filled, as USC will bring in Texas State assistant coach Clay McGuire to coach the Trojans’ offensive line.
The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman first reported the impending hire, and McGuire was a name that made sense from the moment that USC decided to part ways with offensive line coach Tim Drevno.
McGuire is an Air Raid coach through and through, having played for Mike Leach at Texas Tech as an H-back from 2000 through 2004. He then joined the Texas Tech staff in 2006, beginning as a video intern and then moving quickly to offensive graduate assistant, special teams coordinator and running back coach in one-year increments. McGuire then coached running backs at East Carolina before reuniting with his former coach when Leach took over the Washington State program in 2012.
McGuire remained at Washington State until he made the move back to Texas Tech in 2018 as a co-offensive coordinator. He then went to Texas State with head coach Jake Spavital in 2019 and he spent the past two seasons as the offensive line coach there.
McGuire is familiar with USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, as the two were on the same 2004 Texas Tech team, McGuire was on the staff as Harrell finished his playing career, and the two coached together at Washington State.
While this hire likely won’t be celebrated by Trojan fans as a big-name offensive line coach, or someone coming over from a power program, it makes sense in trying to find continuity for Harrell’s Air Raid offense at USC. Drevno was regarded as a fine technical offensive line coach, but it was clear from the beginning that he was unfamiliar with Harrell’s scheme and in two years there was a clear disconnect with the offensive line’s ability to consistently protect the quarterback or create consistent running lanes.
Texas State rushed for 131 yards as a team last season, including 4.2 yards per carry. USC rushed for 120 yards per game in 2019, and after head coach Clay Helton spoke about wanting to up that to 160 or 165 yards per game going into the 2020 season, the Trojans finished last year at just 97 yards per game on the ground.
McGuire showed an ability to develop linemen during his time at Washington State. The Cougars almost never land highly-regarded offensive linemen, but he helped produce Cody O’Connell, an Outland Trophy finalist and just the second unanimous All-American in Washington State history, as well as Joe Dahl, a first-team All-Pac-12 selection.