Was USC Loss The Beginning Of End For Clay Helton?
Don't blame Jack Sears.
The freshman QB was dynamic,athletic, has a good arm and can take a hit.
But USC lost to Arizona State, 38-35, Saturday at the Coliseum because its poor habits got the best of it . . . again.
Is this the beginning of the end for Clay Helton? Maybe. I was getting text messages Saturday night from college coaches telling me there are rumors uf possible replacement candidates. More on that later.
USC athletic director Lynn Swann could not be happy with all the empty seats.
He also could not be happy with the Trojans' uneven performance.
USC cannot tackle and its defense was under duress most of the game.
USC's offensive line remained a sore spot and cannot block consistently.
The play calling with especially suspect early as Sears was asked to run a pitch play that had not been run all season.USC fumbled and Arizona State recovered.
The special teams allowed N'keal Harry to return a punt 92 yards for a TD.
The Trojans, the worst fourth-down conversion team in the Pac-12, could not convert a key fourth-and-1 situation situation in the fourth quarter. USC coach Clay Helton decided not to kick a 38-yard FG and went for it but Aca'Cedric Ware was stopped short. Even worse, Helton burned a timeout because he wanted to kick a FG when he thought it was fourth-and-2.
"I thought we had a good play called and we got penetration in the A-gap on a power play that worked for us earlier," Helton said.
Helton also punted late in the game on fourth-and-2. Instead of going for it, USC punted and Arizona State scored a TD.
The bright spot was Sears, who overcame a slow start and completed 20 of 28 passes for 235 yards and two TDs.
"I felt comfortable in the second half and guys never stopped believing in me. It was fun to rally with them and keep competing and we fought to the very end," Sears said.
Will Helton have the guts to keep Sears as the starter once Daniels returns?
Remember, Helton wrongly chose Max Browne over Sam Darnold in 2016. On Saturday, he did not look wise by making Sears the No. 3 QB.
Sears looks like a football player. JTDaniels often does not.
But the bigger question now is whether Helton should make plans elsewhere next season?
Swann has not tipped anyone off yet.
But the ice is getting thinner for Helton, who must now face Oregon State, which just overcame a 31-3 deficit to upset Colorado.
Things are getting more interesting with each loss.