USC Reaches Low Point In Utah
USC football reached a new low Saturday night, which sometimes seems difficult to do in the Clay Helton era.
In recent years, the Trojans were physically dominated by national powers like Alabama and Notre Dame.
But to be pushed around the field by Utah is much worse.
USC was 0 for 10 on its first 10 third-down conversions. The Trojans managed only 205 yards of total offense. Utah piled up 541.
The Utes almost rushed for more yards (200) than USC had passing and rushing.
Naturally, there were excuses afterward.
"I'm pissed that we lost the game, but I'm understanding too we're relatively young, and a lot of young players are playing better as we go,” USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin said. “So I'm not discouraged, I'm not down. Obviously I want to look at where we can be better and where we broke down."
Young team? USC has three seniors on its offensive line and four starters back from last season. It returns all its tight ends and star wide receivers Michael Pittman and Tyler Vaughns. Tailback Aca’Cedric Ware is a senior.
No one is playing better “as we go.” Is quarterback JT Daniels looking better than six weeks ago? Is wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown noticeably better?
Is anyone getting better?
Can USC run or pass consistently? Are Helton and Martin utterly clueless?
Helton was asked if he is getting the most of his team, which he clearly is not: “I love their effort. Obviously, I’m going to put everything on me as far as our performance. My job as the head coach is to make sure that we are performing at a high level. We didn’t do enough tonight.”
Helton relied on Sam Darnold for two seasons and now reality is biting. USC is 3-7 against Power 5 opponents without Darnold. Six of those losses were by double digits.
Without a magician at quarterback, the Trojans are a very average team. They might have the best talent in the mediocre Pac-12, but they don’t show it.
Helton and his staff are the problem.
There is no discipline and the practices reflect it.
During Saturday night’s game, a coach and player had to be separated after the Trojans rushed on the field to celebrate their second touchdown.
The fact a player would feel it was OK to confront a coach – during a game! – shows how out of control things are right now.
If you want a silver lining, USC committed only two penalties.
But that won’t make much difference when it gets pummeled like it did Saturday. When will people wake up and see the strength and conditioning program needs a review?
Probably around the same time athletic director Lynn Swan realizes he needs to make some changes within the football program.