If it's Friday, it must be time for a USC notes column
Imagine if USC were located in Philadelphia or New York?
Why? Because the media coverage would be much tougher on USC coach Clay Helton.
Helton blinked this week, under just a little media scrutiny, because he held only two bye week practices.
All of a sudden Wednesday, after the second and final practice, he said “we’ve had three really good days of practice.”
Three? The light Monday practice, which is not even listed on the media practice schedule, was a “full bore” practice according to Helton.
“We were full speed,” he said.
Uh huh. It’s a little foolish and unwise to claim you are doing a “full bore” practice two days after a game.
If Helton could not handle light criticism (maybe heavy in my case), what will he do if USC loses five-or-six games?
· One of the weirder arguments from the pro-USC media was that Pete Carroll sometimes had two byes during the season so you cannot compare him to Helton
Carroll had the same routine for both bye weeks so I don’t know why that matters. When he had one bye week, he practiced three-or-four times. Never twice.
The bigger point is Carroll practices were much harder than Helton’s and he did rest starters during bye weeks. Bye weeks were primarily for reserves. But you can still fix mistakes or bad habits, however, without having the starters do a lot of physical drills.
The always pro-USC crowd made resting players and recruiting so important that two practices were a must.
You can do all these things and still have three practices.
If USC games were not so sloppy, no one would care how many practices Helton had during bye weeks.
· Helton said this week he challenged defensive tackle Brandon Pili to make more impact on the pass rush.
Sources said Helton called out Pili in the fiery team meeting I wrote about several weeks ago. At the time, some found it distasteful that Helton would single out a reserve instead of the some more notable players.
· Expect cornerback Max Williams of Serra to commit to USC on Saturday. Does Williams think he will get better at USC?
· Since USC lost to Stanford, does this mean we won’t have to hear Helton talk about the Trojans being state of California champions again this season?
Stanford will have to beat UCLA and Cal to lock up that title, but I don’t think David Shaw will bring up at the end of the season.
· USC has won 18 straight games at the Coliseum. Can anyone point to one opponent as being great? The signature win was over No. 3-ranked Utah. That Utah team lost three of its final seven games, by the way.