10 Things USC Needs To Fix To Beat Oregon State
1.) Be honest
Can anyone believe Clay Helton?
In September, Clay Helton said Tee Martin calls every play. This week, Helton said he called 3-4 plays a game. Now he is going to call every play. But the fact is he shared playcalling duties with Martin. Why wasn't he just honest about it? What other issues does he not quite tell the truth? The guy's credibility is sinking and players pick up on these things. You think the players are happy Jack Sears got benched after 20 for 28 last week?
2.) Ban sunflower seeds
I get that JT Daniels had a concussion. But did he have to watch the Arizona State game holding a paper cup and spitting sunflower seeds into it? Shouldn't he be charting plays? Or standing next to the quarterback coach to learn something? Or encouraging Jack Sears?
Instead, he looks like an entitled Mater Dei quarterback, who is ready to return now that the Trojans face lowly Oregon State.
3.) Watch the quarterback
A big play in the Arizona State game was when quarteback Manny Wilkins broke free on third-and-1 for a 45-yard touchdown. Why didn't USC have a player assigned to follow the quarterback?
"There are only two people touching the ball on that play, the quarterback or tailback," a college coach said. "Why didn't they have someone on the quarterback?"
4.) Prepare in practice
If USC watched film, Arizona State tailback Eno Benjamin loves to spin to break tackles. Did USC do any drills last week to practice tackling a spinning tailback? If you think that is silly, I checked with some other college coaches and they said there are drills for it. Thanks, Pendergast!
5.) Stop laying off the receivers
It's third-and-5 for Arizona State. So why are USC defensive backs nine yards off the line of scrimmage? Thanks, Pendergast!
6.) Get the tight ends to block
Did you see two tight ends get stuffed on the fourth-and-1 play at the end of the game last weekend? Amazing.
7.) Respect the fans
USC is losing. It is also moving the seats for season-ticket holders next season. And yet Lynn Swann lectures the fans this week.
"We need the Trojan Family to stand behind this team," Swann said.
8.) Stop wasting timeouts
I could write this every week for two years. Helton burns more timeouts than any coach in the nation. It didn't burn him when Sam Darnold rescued the team. But last week he needed some timeouts.
9.) Don't blame others
I hear when USC allowed a 92-yard punt return, special teams coach John Baxter blamed the punter. When does Baxter take accountability?
10.) Use the right backs
When Vavae Malepeai had the hot hand Saturday, why wasn't he getting the ball on fourth-and-1? And what are the coaches doing to make Stephen Carr regress?
The fans love to talk about Tim Drevno being a great offensive line coach (with little to back that up by the way). But why don't they talk about how the backs have performed or regressed (see Stephen Carr).