24 min Read

The O/NSO: 2020 Annual Holiday gift giving edition

The Obvious: No doubt, this has been one of the most difficult and challenging holiday seasons in our lifetime for loved ones, family, and friends.  

The Not So Obvious: With that in mind, let’s celebrate some social distancing holiday cheer with the O/NSO’s annual holiday gift-giving to those that deserve and don’t deserve some specialized gifts. And, FYI, providing the O/NSO with some delivery assistance last night was that white-bearded fellow in the “Cardinal” attire and his legendary reindeer.

The Obvious Gift for USC President Carol Folt: The understanding that at USC, it’s not just about playing with heart, passion, and emotion; it’s about winning Pac-12 and national championships, something even your current head football coach said after the disappointing Oregon loss in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

The Not So Obvious Folt Gift: The courage to allow your athletic director full authority to do what’s best for the football program, which has gone from once being one of the few true storied national college football icons to being a national punching bag.

A nice gift for USC president Dr. Carol Folt (photo above) would be the courage to allow her athletic director to make whatever changes necessary that would make Trojan football nationally admired again.

The Obvious Gift for Trojans’ athletic director Mike Bohn: A crystal ball to see the future of USC football two years from now.

The Not So Obvious Bohn Gift: A fantasy sit-down luncheon with legendary USC football coaches Howard Jones, John McKay, John Robinson, and Pete Carroll, all of whom will tell you to do what needs to be done to return USC football to its rightful position of West Coast dominance and national relevance. 

A gift for USC athletic director Mike Bohn (photo above) would be to receive a crystal ball in order to see what Trojans football is going to look like in two years.

The Obvious Gift for head coach Clay Helton: More lucky rabbits’ feet that seem to bring you the kind of good luck, good breaks, and good fortune that most coaches don’t get in a lifetime, especially during the past three seasons.

The Not So Obvious Helton Gift: A book authored by you entitled “My greatest positive media spins after disappointing seasons”, which includes such remarkable post-season quotes as: In 2018 after going 5-7, “the best is yet to be”; in 2019 after getting crushed by Iowa in the Holiday Bowl, we’re “on the cusp of being great”; and most recently in 2020 after the painful loss in the Pac-12 title game to Oregon, we’re “on the edge of winning championships.” And as a super bonus 2021 quote after not winning the conference again, “We’re so close that y’all can taste it.”

Without question, the proper gift for USC football head coach Clay Helton (photo above) would be more lucky rabbits feet to continue his incomparable good fortune in directing a heavily scrutinized football program.

The Obvious Gift for offensive coordinator Graham Harrell: A running game and a box full of third quarter touchdowns.

The Not So Obvious Harrell Gift: A coaching position somewhere in your beloved state of Texas.

Based on the past season, the gift for USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell (photo above) would be a box full of third quarter touchdowns, which would be especially useful considering the Trojans scored only one third quarter touchdowns all season.

The Obvious Gift for Trojans’ quarterback Kedon Slovis: An offensive line, a life insurance policy, and All-American in 2021.

The Not So Obvious Slovis Gift: A flack jacket, a Pac-12 title game redo, and a healthy shoulder.

A needed gift for Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis (photo above) would be a life insurance policy and a flack jacket for the amount of times he gets sacked or hit throwing 50 times in the Air Raid pocket.

The Obvious Gifts for defensive line coach Vic So’oto: Another Marlon Tuipulotu.

The Not So Obvious So’oto Gift: A signed Letter of Intent from Corona (Calif.) Centennial defensive lineman Korey Foreman, the nation’s No. 1 recruit. Maybe you already have it but are keeping it secret?  

What better gift could you give USC D-line coach Vic So’oto (photo above) than a Letter of Intent signature from Prep All-America defensive lineman Korey Foreman from Corona (Calif.) Centennial HS.

The Obvious Gift for Trojans’ sophomore wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown: A full recovery from your AC sprain.

The Not So Obvious St. Brown Gift: A great 40 time for NFL combine scouts.

The Obvious Gift for defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu: 2020 first-team All-Pac-12. You say you’ve already gotten that?

The Not So Obvious gift for Marlon Tuipulotu: A draft selection by an NFL team that fits your skill set.

Let’s give Trojans defensive lineman Marlon Tuipulotu (photo above) the gift of a high NFL draft pick.

The Obvious Gift for defensive tackle Tuli Tuipulotu: Deserved recognition for getting a spot on the All-Pac-12 Defensive Freshman Team.

The Not So Obvious gift for defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu Gift: A starting spot in 2021.

The Obvious Gifts for wide receiver Tyler Vaughns: Appreciation for your service as a USC football player.

The Not So Obvious Vaughns Gift: You probably won’t like this gift, but a return for one more year at Troy to be a more consistent receiver and become first team All-Pac-12 in 2021.

For wide receiver Tyler Vaughns (photo above), he gets the gift of appreciation for his hard work in 2020. (photo by Jose/MarinMedia.org Pool for USC Athletics)

 The Obvious Gift for quarterback Matt Fink: A big thank you for returning in 2020 and accepting your backup role.

The Not So Obvious Fink Gift: A return in 2021?

The Obvious gift for Trojans receiver coach Keary Colbert: Another haul of future NFL receiver recruits.

The Not So Obvious gift Colbert gift: A reminder to your current and future receivers just how great you were playing during the Pete Carroll era.

The not so obvious gift for former USC all-star receiver-turned coach Keary Colbert (photo above) would be a reminder to his current and future receivers what a great receiver he was playing for Pete Carroll.

The Obvious Gift for running back Vavae Malepeai: A successful knee recovery.

The Not So Obvious Malepeai Gift: One more season as a Trojan.

A gift for Trojans running back Vavae Malepeai (photo above) would be a healthy knee whether he turns pro or returns to the Trojans, (photo by John McGillen via USC Athletics)

The Obvious Gift for Trojans’ running back Markese Stepp: A healthy 2021.

The Not So Obvious Stepp Gift: Twenty-five carries in a game.   

The Obvious Gift for defensive coordinator Todd Orlando: A full spring practice to refine your blitzing defense.

The Not So Obvious Orlando Gift: A signed Letter of Intent from Mater Dei senior linebacker Raesjon Davis.

No question that Trojans defensive coordinator Todd Orlando (photo above) would love the give of a signed letter of Intent from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei linebacker Raesjon Davis. (photo by John McGillen via USC Athletics)

The Obvious Gift for true freshman tailback Kenan Christon: More of an opportunity in 2021.

The Not So Obvious Christon Gift: Another very successful USC track season…if there is one.

The Obvious Gift for running back coach Mike Jinks: Before some of the backs consider heading for the NCAA Transfer Portal, a written guarantee from offensive coordinator Graham Harrell that he’ll will run the ball considerably more in 2021.

The Not So Obvious Jinks Gift: Job security.

For running backs coach Mike Jinks (photo above), a signed affidavit from OC Graham Harrell that the Trojans will run the football more in 2021.

The Obvious Gift for new secondary coach Donte Williams: An adjustment to your “Take Back the West” slogan to read “We’re Still Trying to Take Back the West.”

The Not So Obvious Williams Gift: A signed Letter of Intent from Los Angeles Loyola High defensive back Ceyair Wright.

The Obvious Gift for defensive back Chris Steele: First team All-Pac-12 in 2021.

The Not So Obvious Steele Gift: Fewer pass interference holding calls in 2021 and permanently erased memories of ever having attended the University of Florida.

A nice gift for Trojans corner Chris Steele (photo above) would be first team All-Pac-12 in 2021. (photo by John McGillen via USC Athletics)

The Obvious Gift for freshman wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr: More touches in 2021.

The Not So Obvious Bryant Gift: A 2021 breakout game against Notre Dame in South Bend.    

The Obvious Gift for offensive tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker: A recovered hamstring pull in time for the NFL combines.

The Not So Obvious Vera-Tucker Gift: Another chance at Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, but this time with two healthy legs.

An appropriate gift for Trojans All-Pac-12 offensive tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker (photo above) would be a high NFL draft pick next April.

The Obvious Gift for Trojans secondary coach Craig Naiver: Two more safeties like Talanoa Hufanga and Isaiah Pola-Mao.

The Not So Obvious Naiver Gift: A Texas-style BBQ restaurant in the LA area.

The Obvious Gift for Trojans safety Isaiah Pola-Mao: To resist the temptation to head to the NFL but return to Troy for one more season to improve your game.

The Not So Obvious Pola-Mao Gift: To carve out your own Trojan niche rather than to be referred to as a relative of USC legend Troy Polamalu.

For strong safety Isaiah Pola-Mao (photo above, he receives the gift of resisting the temptation to head to the NFL when coming back for one more season with the Trojans would enhance his skill set. (photo by John McGillen via USC Athletics)

The Obvious Gift for special teams coach Sean Snyder: Another successful on-side kick in 2021.

The Not So Obvious Baxter Gift: A kickoff and/or punt return for a touchdown in 2021.

The Obvious Gift for sophomore corner Olaijah Griffin: The good sense to return to Troy for senior season.

The Not So Obvious Griffin Gift: The good sense to stop the pelvic gyrations when your team is down by two touchdowns.

The Obvious Gift for sophomore safety Talanoa Hufanga: 2020 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Oops, I see you already received that gift from the Pac-12 earlier in the week.

The Not So Obvious Hufanga Gift: A consensus 2020 All-American and a healthy body when you begin workouts for the NFL draft.

For Trojans junior All-America safety Talanoa Hufanga (photo above), the 2020 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Oh, you already have that gift? (photo above by Jose / MarinMedia.org Pool for USC Athletics)

The Obvious Gift for Trojans offensive line coach Tim Drevno: A 5-star offensive lineman.

The Not So Obvious Drevno Gift: Another Alijah Vera-Tucker.

The Obvious Gift for running back Stephen Carr: Peace of mind.

The Not So Obvious Carr Gift: The good sense to return to the Trojans for the 2021 season.

The Obvious Gift for inside linebacker Ralen Goforth: A healthy ankle.  

The Not So Obvious Gifts: A greater USC career than your brother Randall’s career at UCLA.

For inside linebacker Ralen Goforth (photo above – No. 10), the gift of a healthy ankle in 2021. (photo by John McGillen via USC Athletics)

The Obvious Gift for tight end Erik Krommenhoek: Appreciation as an unsung USC tight end.

The Not So Obvious Krommenhoek Gift: A selection in the NFL draft.

The Obvious Gift for talented freshman defensive end Drake Jackson: First team All-Pac-12 in 2021 and much more opportunities to rush off the edge.

The Not So Obvious Jackson Gift: Same as last season, a chance to be reunited along the Trojans defensive line with current Corona (Calif.) Centennial blue-chip recruit Korey Foreman.

The Obvious Gift for center Brett Neilon: Appreciation for your efforts at center.

The Not So Obvious Neilon Gift: Increased strength to help you against those monster nose tackles.

The gift for Trojans center Brett Neilon (photo above) would be more strength to counter those monster nose tackles he faces week to week.

The Obvious Gift for Trojans’ punter Ben Griffiths: Appreciation that Sean Snyder is your special teams coach.

The Not So Obvious Griffiths Gift: Preseason 2021 All-Pac-12 honors.

The Obvious Gift for Traveler: A chance one day to again run around the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious Traveler Gift: Fans, who will again stand up and give you the “Fight On” hand sign as the band plays “Conquest.”

The proper gift for Traveler (photo above) would be another opportunity to run around the Coliseum with actual fans in the stands.

The Obvious Gift for the Coliseum: Fans in 2021.

The Not So Obvious Coliseum Gift: Okay, maybe fans in 2022?

The Obvious Gift for Trojans’ defensive lineman Nick Figueroa: Recognition for having a fine 2020 season.

The Not So Obvious Figueroa Gift: The smarts to return in 2021 and raise your game some more.

The Obvious Gift for departed placekicker Chase McGrath: A big thank you for what you did as a true freshman, especially against the Texas Longhorns.

The Not So Obvious McGrath Gift: Great success wherever you play next season.

The gift for former Trojans placekicker Chase McGrath (photo above), a big thank you for your service and best of luck wherever you play next.

The Obvious Gift for sophomore outside linebacker Kana’i Mauga: Being named a starter before the beginning of the 2021 season.

The Not So Obvious Mauga Gift: See Nick Figueroa.  

The Obvious Gift for wide receiver Drake London: First team All-Pac-12 in 2021.

The Not So Obvious London Gift: More spectacular catches and runs in 2021.

The Obvious Gift for Trojans radio voice Pete Arbogast: A chance to travel with the team in 2021 and call games on the road.

The Not So Obvious Arbogast Gift: Same as always, your dream of one day being inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame.

A repeat gift for Trojans radio voice Pete Arbogast (photo above,), a future election into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Obvious Gift for quality control analyst Chris Claiborne: A USC linebacking coaching job, either inside or outside.

The Not So Obvious Claiborne Gift: Video showing the 2021 Trojans linebackers your highlight tape from the 1998 Florida State game in Tallahassee.

The Obvious Gift for WeAreSC analyst and former Trojans DB Darrell Rideaux: More standout post-game analysis of USC games – the good and the bad.

The Not So Obvious Rideaux Gift: Continued viewership of your Monday Morning Cornerback Show on WeAreSC.com.

The Obvious Gift for former Trojans all-star linebacker Kevin Bruce, WeAreSC author of Defensively Speaking and former All-Pac-10 linebacker: Many more WeAreSC Defensively Speaking columns.

The Not So Obvious Bruce Gift: More behind the scenes stories from the John McKay era.

The gift for WeAreSC.com columnist and former 1975 USC captain, linebacker Kevin Bruce (photo above), continued success with his Defensively Speaking column.

The Obvious Gift for WeAreSC staff writer/columnist Chris Arledge: Continued unrestrained columns to tell us how you really feel about Notre Dame, UCLA, Oregon, the Air Raid offense, Dr. Folt, Mike Bohn, Clay Helton, movie clips, and COVID.

The Not So Obvious Arledge Gift: Carthago delenda est.   

The Obvious Gift for WeAreSC publisher Erik McKinney: Continued enthusiasm, determination, and innovations to keep WeAreSC.com on top of its game. 

The Not So Obvious McKinney Gift: Some sleep.  

For WeAreSC.com publisher Erik McKinney (photo above), the gift of sleep.

The Obvious Gift for the family of late WeAreSC publisher Garry Paskwietz: Continued peace of mind knowing Garry’s Internet dream creation continues and a huge thank you for helping continue GP’s legacy.

The Not So Obvious Family Gift: As always, future USC football teams that will live up to its storied legacy, which will put a rainbow smile on Garry’s face as he and viewing partner Tom Kelly look down upon all of us.   

A heavenly gift for late WeAreSC publisher Garry Paskwietz (photo above), future USC football teams that will bring a smile to his face as he looks down upon the Coliseum.

The Obvious Gift for all Trojans fans: And finally, a full 2021 season without any delays in September and October and with fans in the stands.

The Not So Obvious Fans Gift: Most importantly, Happy Holidays and be safe to all our WeAreSC.com readers, followers, and even O/NSO critics!    



Author
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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