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Three Thoughts: USC-Texas

Three Thoughts: USC-Texas

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This might be one of the worst USC football teams in recent memory. But that should have been expected.

USC’s performance against Texas was really, really, really bad. Not many teams are losing to Texas by a score of 37-14. The performance against Stanford was also really bad. It might not have been as strong as performances San Diego State and UC Davis put up against the Cardinal. The performance against UNLV was even worse than both of those games. I don’t think any power five conference team would be in a dog fight with UNLV after three quarters.

When was the last time USC had three stink bomb games in a row? Maybe the 7-6 2012 season. The final three performances against UCLA, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech were awful. But that’s much better competition than UNLV, Stanford and Texas though.

Pete Carroll went on a four game losing streak in 2001, but three of those four teams where ranked inside the top 15. That USC team finished 6-6.

The 2000 team that went 5-7 and finished tied for last in the conference lost five games in a row at one point. But they never scored less than 15 points the entire season. The offense never felt this hopeless.

The point is this. If you haven’t been listening to me yet and if you haven’t shifted your expectations, it’s time too. Let’s be clear, USC fan site reporters are living in looney tunes land where USC is always going to be awesome. Get away from that line of thinking.

If USC makes a bowl game, it’ll be time to celebrate. This team has no business being in the discussion for anything else besides bowl eligibility. That has always been the case and it will continue to be the case. That would probably still be the case with a different coaching staff. This team just isn’t that good. 

So, just wash all the “reports” about the strength of the USC defense. Remember, it was supposed to be the best since 2008 but it’s actually worse than it was in 2017. Remember to wash those championship hopes out of your mind as well. Clearly those who reported these things didn’t even consider the USC offense might just be doing a bad job in all these practices.

USC fans, pick up the champagne if USC makes a bowl game. And root for Las Vegas, it;’s a fun town.

USC’s coaching staff is just awful

USC clearly has a terrible coaching staff. There’s no question. I don’t think this team would be much better with a great one, but let’s go through how bad it is for fun.

Clay Helton is clearly a guy who was fired as the offensive coordinator at Memphis. USC can’t score this season. Tee Martin doesn’t have any business being a college offensive coordinator. Again,  USC can’t score this season. Bryan Ellis has not prepared JT Daniels for success at all. For all the talent he is supposed to have, he just looks like an average college freshman quarterback. It’s actually shocking Jack Sears isn’t further along than him. if we can go back to Tee Martin, the receivers have clearly become average without Sam Darnold as the quarterback. Tim Drevno’s group, the backfield, as been average at best too.

Neil Callaway can’t develop an offensive line, and USC hasn’t been able to do that themselves since 2011. James Cregg was the offensive line coach then. He continues to be the most accomplished offensive line coach USC has had since Pat Ruel left with Carroll.

As for John Baxter, the special teams are a mess and the only special talent at tight end USC has had in years has been Bryce Dixon. Those are two grad assistant type jobs that I’m not sure he’s excelling at. He’s very, very dispensable at this point.

On defense, Clancy Pendergast is a good defensive coordinator at best. It seems against the teams known for having talent, USC doesn’t stand up too well. This is clearly Kenechi Udeze’s first major college job. His young defensive line hasn’t lived up to the talk about the talent they have. Ronnie Bradford’s secondary belongs in a garbage can. That group is constantly at fault for explosive plays and it’s just time to give up on Bradford at this point.

USC’s most accomplished defensive coach so far this season is Johnny Nansen. His linebackers played well in two games.

Since I’ve written this section as a part of three thought 8,000 times since Clay Helton was hired, here’s a toast to change. Let’s hope it happens.

The future is still bright

This is till an incredibly young team led by a freshman quarterback. They jumped out to a big lead on Texas in front of 103,000 people. They went toe-to-toe with a tope 10 Stanford team for a half. I still expect this team to be good in two years. Do you feel better? I didn’t think so.

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