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WeAreSC Mailbag (11-15)

Hi everybody, I just wanted to let you all know that I have asked Greg Katz to handle this week’s mailbag, as I attend to some medical matters. Fight On and beat the Bruins! Garry P.


What is the real story with #1, Gaoteote?

I don’t care if he’s at LB or fullback or even holder, if he’s healthy he needs to be on the field somewhere!

Hi gubo&palinka, No question that Gaoteote has star written all over him. However, Clay Helton does seem to have system that respects the older and established player, maybe to a fault. Obviously, Gaoteote is not going to move out veteran inside linebackers Cameron Smith and John Houston Jr. However, you could make a case for an outside linebacker spot after the injury to Porter Gustin, but Gaoteote seems more suited for the inside. Helton is very cautious when it comes to giving true freshmen too much responsibility too early. In the Clay Helton era, the playing of younger players over older more experienced players seems to be a continuous issue or pattern. One thing we know, Palaie Gaoteote is going play on Sundays when his time with USC is up. GK   


Will HCCH allow Drevno to play the guys he wants to in the positions we need like Neilon replacing Toa at Center? Can we petition to get Bolden back? What would that take for him to join Spring Practice? And lastly have you heard of any more recruits wavering?

Hi Merlin4SC, Clay Helton made it clear in his Cal post-game media conference that he has no intention of removing Toa Lobendahn as the Trojans’ starting center. As you well know, the center snapping from Toa has been a major issue since his conversion to center. It seemed like only a matter of time until a bad snap would cost the Trojans, and it did against Cal. Most of the media in the Coliseum press box were more than surprised when Helton didn’t bench Lobendahn, and I would imagine it also has caught the attention of the team, although the players appear to respect Toa a great deal, making him a captain. So, no, I don’t expect Helton to allow Coach Drevno to replace Toa, especially with just two games remaining. As far as Bubba Bolden, I suspect his career is over at USC, and Bubba won’t be joining spring practice. As for recruiting, you are aware of the recruiting movement. Because USC is USC, players will still come to the University, but an unstable program perception affects out-of-state players more than local recruits. GK 

Burak Uslu

How is team morale? There are rumors of some players wanting Sears to start over Daniels. How does team unity compare now to Kiffin’s locker room after the Sun Bowl? Kiffin’s losing control of the team was most apparent in El Paso. Is there still a hope for UCLA game?

Hi Burak Usl, If you listen Helton, there’s no cause for alarm. If you listen to the team captains, there is no cause for alarm in terms of team morale. And earloer this week star wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and quarterback JT Daniels both supported Helton strongly and said the players have to take ownership of the team’s performance. However, anytime you lose, there are going to be issues. I think there is some concern because as the Trojans lose and having now been eliminated from the Pac-12 race, nerves and patience can be strongly tested. If you noticed the Trojans’ sideline at the Cal game, there were some uncomfortable players confrontations. It goes with the territory when you lose; everybody is frustrated…As for the quarterback situation, Jack Sears certainly raised eyebrows both from the fans and the Trojan players against ASU. However, the Trojans aren’t losing because of JT Daniels, but Sears does look more suited for the Trojans’ offense, and the players noticed it. It’s not something they speak publicly about, but there have been rumbles that they would like to see Jack get more time if things aren’t working…Clearly, I don’ see this Trojans’ locker room even remotely approaching the Kiffin mess at the Sun Bowl, which I covered for WeAreSC.com. Kiffin had lost the team, and the Sun Bowl and the post-game ending was a total fiasco, full of rumors true and untrue amongst the players and within the coaching staff… As for the UCLA game, as Coach McKay would say, “If the Trojans play as well as they can play, and (name the opponent) plays as well as they can play, we will win.” GK   


Will we have a new Coaching Staff next year? 🙂

Hi SCeeV03, Ask me today and I say that Clay Helton returns. In fact, even if the Trojans lose to both UCLA and Notre Dame and don’t go to a bowl game, I’d say Clay probably returns. Why? First, I don’t think that Lynn Swann wants any part of going through a coaching change and being held accountable for the next coach like Pat Haden. Secondly, it’s all about the money extension that Swann now owes on Helton’s contract extension and those of some of his assistants. Thirdly, Swann has put himself on the line for his overwhelming public support of Helton from a few weeks back. Listen to Helton today and you get the sense that Swann has made the coach feel bullet proof.  However, I do think you’ll see more staff changes. It probably won’t be coaches that signed extensions before this season began (Tee Martin, John Baxter, Clancy Pendergast). That doesn’t mean that any of the three aforementioned will elect to stay, but they seemed locked in. However, I can see some real job scrutiny issues at some other positions. Keep in mind that former offensive line coach Neil Callaway has already been dismissed, and I expect that Tim Drevno will be named the permanent 2019 O-line coach – not exactly breaking news. I do think that linebacker coach and recruiting coordinator Johnny Nansen has also done a good job and will be returning. GK

Big Daddy

Much has been written about Helton’s loyalty. Loyalty to family, those who are thought of as family, and apparently others he has love for. Loyalty, however, can be a double edged sword.

In what ways has this loyalty ended up harming the program and how much loyalty does Coach Helton owe to the job of head coach that would result in better success?

Hi Big Daddy, One of the major strengths and probably the weakness of Clay Helton is his loyalty. He is a “players’ coach,” which can also be as harmful as it is supportive. One of the classic examples how his loyalty can muddy the waters is the current snapping issues with senior center and captain Toa Lobendahn. Because Helton sees Toa as a “man of honor” and being “one of the loves of my life,” there is a large number of followers that see this as taking loyalty to the extreme. Helton lives by his creed of “Faith, Family, and Football,” which encompasses loyalty. The loyalty question also becomes a credibility issue, and that can become problematic. Does this blind loyalty affect Helton’s ability to make obvious decisions? You can find a large number of folks that would say yes. On the other hand, loyalty does bring trust, and the players want and need to trust their head coach. GK


Will Griffin, Langley and/or Marshall be suspended, or even disciplined at all? I know we’re awfully thin in the secondary, but those three lost their minds out there. We can’t have that. Not only is that nonsense detrimental to the team, it looks really, really bad. Has Helton, their position coach or Clancy said anything about their actions?

Hi Rodarnay51, The question of discipline in Clay Helton’s program has unfortunately been a constant. It didn’t help when players were shown on social media taking a selfie on the field during a time out of a recent game. You can only imagine how that perception played locally and nationally. Helton truly loves and supports his players, but at times the perception is that he too much Father Flanagan and not enough Nick Saban. Sometimes it seems that Helton believes that there are no bad dogs. Before holding Helton accountable for every player’s departure, it’d be wise to judge each case on its own merit. In many of the cases discussed, there’s usually more than meets the eye. Helton has been questioned many times by the media – sometimes repeatedly – about a player’s dismissal. A majority of the time he will say he can’t or won’t discuss the issue or reason because it’s a confidential, a University matter, or a team issue. Clay is not combative with the media; he does handle discipline questions with grace and dignity, as it pertains to student-athlete and adheres to the University’s legal rights. No question that when there are problems that become public, as you mentioned, it doesn’t reflect favorably in the eye of the general public, especially when it is shown on TV. And don’t underestimate the damage it can do to recruits and their parents who are watching how the program deals with these various behavior and academic discipline issues. High school coaches are also watching how Helton handles team discipline and that includes things like penalties, personal fouls, and uncontrolled sideline behavior. The recruiting question by recruits and their parents: Do I want to play my son or does my son want to be with the players on this team? Obviously, it’s a sensitive subject. GK   


I was on the last few to mildly support Clay Helton but I’m at the end of my rope. A 5-5 record is one thing, but there’s some bad juju around the team right now – more discipline issues, sideline fights, report of disinterest and players being “checked out.” Seems like the wheels are falling off and Helton is losing the team a bit.

From your perspective around the team, is there merit to that last bit? From a fan’s perspective, it feels about as bad as the end of the Kiff era and the fated team meeting where Sark showed up drunk after losing to UW. Curious to hear if you the same.

As always, Fight On (probably now more than ever).

Hi TrojanInSF, First of all, Clay Helton is no Lane Kiffin or Steve Sarkisian. Clay was the right man hired at the time. He was the adult in the room, as you’ve probably heard many times. The question now is: Is he the right man now to take the Trojans back into the national picture? Probably the last piece of the Helton evaluation puzzle would be whether the coach has lost this team. I would say the team likes him for the most part on a personal basis. I think they respect his loyalty up to a point but respect his morals, sincerity, and support. However, do they fear him and do they question him now as a premier leader? Remember, the seniors had to ask Helton to do more “hitting” in November, and there are now questions whether he is too loyal and is unwilling to change starters that need to be demoted. Eyebrows were earlier raised this week when Helton said he would decide on JT Daniels backup later this week, although Jack Sears had already proven he could play against ASU, and Matt Fink has been out the past several weeks. The evidence suggests that Sears should be the backup, but Fink has looked good in his brief appearances. Do the players like Helton but run over him? Helton would probably say no. If you did a poll of the players and their parents you might find agreement. That’s the great divide. People love Helton the person, but there are legitimate concerns – especially after three seasons as the Trojans’ head coach – if he is an elite college football coach. I would say, IMHO, the program is not where most expected or want it to be. Even with the departure of Sam Darnold to the NFL, this team still shouldn’t be in its current state. Helton says the problem this season is because of “lost opportunities.” I don’t think they’re lost opportunities when it comes to Stanford (17-3), Texas (37-14), and Utah (41-28). For me, it’s very concerning when Stanford’s David Shaw is named the 2017 Pac-12 Coach of the Year especially when Clay Helton beat Stanford twice last season which led to the Trojans capturing the Pac-12 title. It was a vote of the conference coaches, and you can come to your own conclusion if there was a message there, which I think is quite obvious. GK 


Garry, is this season really happening or is some thing playing a cruel joke on this USC program?

Hi SCalN8tiv, Unfortunately, the Trojans are what their record says it is and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. It’s a combination of a lack of execution, discipline, and coaching concerns. All Trojan fans find the current situation totally unacceptable; yet, so do the players and the coaches. However, the players are accountable for their record as are the coaches who are getting paid a lot of money not to be 5-5 at this point of the season. GK


Do you think Clay Helton has other “loves of his life” on the current USC football team? If so, who?

Related question, are any posters or reporters associated with wearesc.com a “love of your life”? It would certainly be nice to be considered for that distinction, but I don’t want to be presumptuous.

Hi Arhedge, Well, they say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I think that Clay Helton has to be careful with the current quarterbacking situation. Jack Sears really made a statement in his ASU showcase, and then was relegated back to the bench for Oregon State and wasn’t seen in the Cal loss. To be blunt, it was also assumed that the quarterback position was always JT Daniels to lose from the beginning. We’ll see if JT has issues against UCLA on Saturday and whether Clay Helton would be willing to go to his QB bullpen and bring in Sears. GK   


Do you think beating ruins saves HC his job? I already figure Domers stomp SC.

Hi Troy70, It certainly wouldn’t hurt beating the Bruins. Anytime you can beat one or both of the Trojans’ two major rivals, it’s a good thing for job security. I agree that it doesn’t look good for Helton when the Irish come to town, especially with a CFP semi-final bid for the No. 3 Irish on the line and the game is on national television. I think if the Bruins and Domers sweep our guys and there is not bowl game, there’s no question in my mind the fan base will rise up and demand the firing of Helton. If there is a rivals split and bowl eligibility, I think that Helton returns. If the Trojans lose their last three games and there is no bowl eligible, Lynn Swann might be the loneliness Trojan on the planet, especially if he retains Helton. Let’s put it this way, Pat Haden was once a legendary quarterback at Troy, but after his disaster as athletic director, you can be sure that Lynn Swann doesn’t want to go down that same path, right? GK    


I know at this time coach Helton’s fate has not been officially announced. However, as you can see we are all throwing out potential replacement names all over the board. Can you give any insight into any past dealings we’ve had with Coach Petersen and Coach Whittingham? I think either would be an amazing hire, but I believe SC has approached them in the past and it didn’t work out. Is that true? What can you tell us about either having had conversations with SC before and the likelihood we could land one of them?

Thanks and Fight On!

Hi ACETrojan, As you’re probably aware, the Trojans did interview Coach Petersen. From what I was told, Petersen wanted to hire his own staff but wasn’t given that option. There were Trojan assistants already under contract, and Pat Haden didn’t want to eat those contracts. At least, that is what I was told. Petersen didn’t see his type of football program control that he wanted, , so it was a mutual discussion not to advance talks. As for Coach Whittingham, there may have been some roundabout feelers sent out, but the coach is very happy in Salt Lake City where he coaches and lives, so that was never a serious reality. I don’t see either Petersen or Whittingham having any interest if the Trojans’ job became open. Washington owns the Pac-12 North and is only getting stronger, and Utah is in prime position to win the Pac-12 South this season. GK 


In his support of Helton a few weeks ago, Lynn Swann made a pretty good point that a change in regimes and restructuring the whole team is problematic and complex. I see his point. We’ve recruited a ton of great LBs to run Clancy’s 2-5 or 3-4 front 7. And, we’ve taken a bunch of WRs to run a lot of 3 WR sets with T’s offensive preferences. What if we bring in a coach that runs a 4-3– we’d be short DL with a bunch of talented LBs on the bench. If Helton is eventually out, do you see this transition being a major problem?

Hi motovich, It usually takes about three seasons to establish the type of system you want and recruit the players that fit your system whether it be offensively or defensively. There are exceptions as Ohio State under Urban Meyer has proved. I think that the Trojans currently have the talent and the athletes to adjust to a new system. The biggest issue is how to get the Trojans to be more physical on offense, and the general consensus is to change the schemes of the offensive line blocking to a more power oriented fundamental. To be sure, USC does not run a power system running attack. The Trojans are a finesse unit. Defense has a lot to do with speed and quickness, and the Trojans would have enough to make a transition to a new coach. So, no, I don’t think a transition would be a major problem. That’s why you have spring practice to establish the new norm. Do I think it would take some time for a compete transition? Yes, but the cupboard is not exactly bare in the John McKay Center. GK   


As a fellow Alumnus, do you think Helton deserves to remain the Head Coach at USC? If so, tell us your reasoning. If not, what do you think it will take for Heritage Hall to make the change?

Hi sctrojan2006, Boy, talk about being put on the spot. Well, being a man from the 1960s tell-it-like-it-is generation, I guess I am obligated to be a straight shooter. First, there are really two questions. Does Helton deserve to be the Trojans’ head coach and what will it take to make a change? Okay, if you believe that by winning a tremendous Rose Bowl two seasons ago and winning the Pac-12 title last season is a major criteria, you could argue Helton deserves another chance in 2019. However, if you believe that the major reason for Helton’s success was Sam Darnold and all his wizardry covering up for all the other issues in Helton’s program, 2018 has proven to be one helleva indictment on the post-Darnold hypothesis. But you asked what do I or Garry think. Well, Garry can’t give his perspective at the moment, but it’s my belief that Helton was hired to bring stability to the program, and he has accomplished it. He has executed some nice feats like the Rose Bowl win and a Pac-12 title. However, there have been some real red flags as well from how the Trojans have performed and behaved against Alabama, Ohio State, and lately Notre Dame. I am not so sure that Helton is the coach to take the Trojans to the elite level fans expect. Helton promised a physical run game and offensive line three years ago. His offensive lines have not come close to that promise. Why should we believe that a fourth or fifth year will finally bring that change? That being said, I believe Helton will be back because I don’t think Swann wants Helton and his assistants out. As previously mentioned, money has a lot to do with Helton and his assistants, and money would be a major stop sign for change. Swann will probably give Helton one more season and justify it to a disagreeing fans base. It wouldn’t shock me if Swann announces that the 2019 season will his last as athletic director and believes the new AD should be allowed to bring in his own head football coach if needed. Just a crazy theory on my part to be sure. If Helton is successful in 2019, Swann looks like a genius for keeping him and saving the University a lot of money. GK   

The Lizard King

I know back in 2013, you (Garry) thought that Jack Del Rio would be a good fit for the HC position.


I’m curious to know if your mind has changed at all or are you doubling down on your opinion?

Hi The Lizard King, Well, I am not Garry, but I do believe that Jack Del Rio should be strongly in the mix as the Trojans next football coach. This I know: The Trojans would be definitely be more physical and stronger on defense under JDR. I don’t believe that just because Del Rio played for the Trojans (an All-American), he wouldn’t be a good choice or because he has never coached in college he wouldn’t be a good choice. Jack would definitely change the USC team culture and would attempt to bring back the physical, intimidation factor that has been part of the Trojans’ storied past. I think Jack would get the support of the legendary Trojans of the past, and I think he would bring in an exceptional coaching staff. However, it’s all fool’s gold unless Swann makes a change. GK

Cardinal and Gold

Does a Toa snap have more English on it than a Willie Mosconi break?

Hi Cardinal and Gold, I don’t know, but you might want to consult LAX Air Traffic Control. GK


What went wrong for the 2018 USC trojans? i feel we are no better than the team that tarmaced Lane Kiffin.. We went from beating Penn State on the presipus of something special last year and you could see cracks along the way in games against the Irish and Buckeyes, til now barely beating sub par opponents and fighting for bowl eligibility.

Hi FightOn_2017trojans, Do we have enough time to do an autopsy? They say perception is reality and the first couple of seasons Clay Helton had a solid perception. We won the Rose Bowl in dramatic fashion – although I think that Penn State’s coaching incompetence in the end put us in a position to win the game, which we did. Last season, we won the Pac-12 title, which is no easy feat even with Sam Darnold. The question was always who and what are we without Darnold? Do we have solid systems in place for the long haul? Is our coaching staff really elite or just Clay Helton’s comfort zone? Are the players being recruited winners? We were promised a physical and dominating offensive line when Clay took over, and we can all agree that has yet to take place after three seasons and why? You could get off on any of these questions. The good news, I guess, is that we know where we are today and probably – taking the time to scrutinize – know how we got here. Losing big to Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame and how we were embarrassed by these storied programs during the Helton years alerts us that we are consistently not at that level at the present time. The question becomes: Can Clay Helton take us to that level? I would say that each season under Helton it’s been reaffirmed through playing these elite, physical teams that little consistent progress has been made to compete at that level, especially when playing these teams one-on-one. GK.   


I thought Harvey Hyde made some interesting comments on the Peristyle, in regards to our bare-bones recruiting dept (Gavin Morris and a couple of staffers is all we have?).

My question is, whether or not in your opinion the USC Compliance Dept. (described by several sources as over-the-top/draconian) is partly to blame for the football program falling on hard times? It seems we have so few staffers assigned to recruiting and I wonder if that is on-purpose, so that the university can keep tabs more carefully?

If Swann decides to make a change at HC, I’m assuming that USC would also need to look at all aspects of how the football program is run, including the football support staff.

Hi USCDDS, First, I love coach Hyde, a straight shooter. Now, I don’t think the Trojans issues of being where we are today is one specific issue, but in the college game and the football end of it, it all starts with the university administration, and the athletic director selecting the right fit for a head football coach. In USC’s case, there has been questionable decision-making and the last two athletic directors – while beloved as former Trojans football legends –  have had no experience in running an athletic department. Obviously, the Pat Haden AD era was nothing short of a calamity and PR nightmare. You could say the jury is still out with Lynn Swann; however, we’ll know a lot more about Swann after the conclusion of this season. In addition, you are what you recruit, and certainly recruiting character counts in attempting to avoid problems down the road. I do think, however, the Trojans have made a major attempt academically to provide for student-athletes. Yes, there are areas where you could argue the athletic department is understaffed. You get what you pay for. I think where we are today, all aspects of the football program and its satellite services, needs to be reviewed if it hasn’t been already. GK  


There has been a lot of speculation regarding Helton’s buyout clause. Do you know the actual terms, and given the current state of the University, do you think Swann will accept another year of Helton just because of financial reasons?

Hi jvjla, I don’t think anybody really knows the actual terms because USC is a private school and is not required to make public the specifics. Yes, I do believe that Helton and his assistants could be kept for financial considerations with the public announcement “that even John McKay had a bad season every once in a while.” GK


How does a defense with a Sr Safety (Tell) and CB (Marshall)
End up last (129th) in INT’s with (2)?

Hi Cardinal&Gold, Certainly, disconcerting stats, but one of the major reasons is a lack of a pass rush, which allows the quarterback to read his progressions without duress. GK


What is ND and Michigan doing that USC is not doing? Better recruits? Better player development? Why do our players look like boys and their players look like men when you watch the games on TV?

Hi mattinNYC, Hello in the Big Apple! I think you hit the nail on the head in referencing better recruits but also developing them. Trust me, the Trojans have brought in great recruits, too, as the recruiting rankings remind us. I think there is something to be said about veteran head coaches like Jim Harbaugh and Brian Kelly. They are strict and intense head coaches and had a proven track record before they were hired. I believe their teams take on their personalities, which is obviously Type-A. GK


What are your thoughts on usc receiver route running, generally it seems they either try to run past db coverage or take a number of steps and turn to fight for the ball. I also have noticed sometimes receivers just stop and don’t continue to offer our QB an additional target.

Hi biglouie, There have been discussions in the past over the development of the Trojan wide receiver under Tee Martin. However, Tee can point to all those players he has coached that are now in the NFL like JuJu, Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, Nelson Agholor, and even Deontay Burnett… There is so much improvisation from the snap of the ball to the receiver adjustments, the game is just played differently from years past, and the days of the simple “button hook” and double-outs seem like a thing of the past. Today, it’s all about timing and anticipation and “fades”, which can lead to feast or famine. GK


Is there any way you can help me understand the seemingly regression of the USC football program and give me any hope? I mean from Rose Bowl champs, to pac12 champs to this. SC is not particularly good at any facet of the game; rush defense, pass defense, pass rush, pass offense, rush offense, special teams all sub par. Opposing teams also seem to out effort the Trojans.SMH. Not to mention no noticeable success at in game adjustments. After all these games the receivers and QB have no real chemistry, I would even go as far as to say that JT and St.Brown have lost some. But I don’t see much to build on. It seems like the kind of year it’s going to take a couple years to recover from. Not even to mention the recent player issues which seems to continue to pop up, this is inexcusable.Does the coaching staff get along, do they like eachother? Or is there some subtle undertones of tension? The thing that always bothered me the most about CCH is that he doesn’t seem to hate losing. I mean really hate it. Is that just an act? So Garry can you please help me see what to be hopeful for and how soon can I have any expectations of seeing TROJAN football again? And I have a panic attack every time I think of what s behind door number 4…Kiffen, Sark, Helton, ???. If USC goes that route.

Hi SMH, Boy, you’ve been really taking a hard look about where we are today with the Trojans football program. To be honest, there is not a lot I would disagree with in both your questions and evaluations. I know that doesn’t help. However, like anything else, it all starts at the top with the head coach selection and his selection of staff. In the case of Clay Helton, who were his mentors and who influenced him the most? I know Clay’s dad, Kim, had a lot of input to his son’s character as a coach and probably some philosophy too, but his most recent mentoring has come from Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian as head football coaches. It’s what he knows. He also has brought in family friends and close coaching acquaintances like former offensive line coach Neil Callaway and first-year quarterback coach Bryan Ellis to name a few. As a friend of mine asks when he has your same feelings regarding Trojan football, “What would Nick Saban do?” I would add to that because of my age, “What would John McKay do?” I can assure you that both Saban and McKay come from different generations, but they would do things pretty much the same in terms of discipline and philosophy. Heck, you could even also ask, “What would Pete Carroll do?” As far as the Trojans coaches getting along, it’s like any family. There are strong agreements and strong disagreements. I think the issue of Helton’s team discipline has always been in question from the first time the Trojans came out to play Alabama in 2016. Seeing players enter the field for kickoff on all fours pretending to be barking dogs was a real stunner and very un-Trojan. Or how about seeing that selfie picture this year of Trojan players on the field after a big play and a time out? Wow, that hit the Twitter world and I can say, as mentioned earlier, I was blown away by it. It’s the cardinal and gold world we live in at the moment. GK


With the dismissal of Levi Jones I find it appalling the number of players dismissed or expelled from school in the past couple of years as well as those that have left for reasons of their own that only insiders like you would know Your thoughts as HCCH is supposed to be running a “clean” program but to me it is anything but that.

Hi desertfoxx, I was just discussing this very subject at Wednesday’s practice. Each case has to be judged individually, but collectively it is starting to be a topic of concern. In every program in American there are these same issues. A lot of those issues, however, don’t come to the public’s attention. When you’re having an underwhelming season, these issues of transfers and dismissals raise legitimate questions like yours. GK


At what point do the powers at be wake up and realize they have to make some changes for USC football and when will those changes be made?

Hi Tommy T, Every Monday Clay Helton meets with athletic director Lynn Swann, and they discuss the state of USC football. Changes have already begun with the recent firing of offensive line coach Neil Callaway and Clay Helton assuming the duties of calling the plays from Tee Martin. Let’s see if there are any down the road after the season. GK

Touchdown for USC

Will the Trojans be able to move the ball on the bRuins?

Hi Touchdown for USC, The Trojans should move the ball on the ground at will against the Bruins defense considering UCLA has the second worst rushing defense (215 avg. ypg) in the Pac-12 just in front of the worst rushing defense, Oregon State (271 avg. ypg) and we all saw how the Trojans rushed through the Beavers’ defense. UCLA does have some fine athletes in the secondary, which could be a challenge for JT Daniels. GK

And thanks to Garry for allowing me to sit in with all of you are talk Trojans football. Fight On! GK  

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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