Helton holds fiery team meeting
It finally looks like USC coach Clay Helton is feeling some pressure from the sloppy play that plagues the Trojans.
Helton held a fiery team meeting this week, according to several players who did not wish to be identified.
The meeting stunned some players because Helton reportedly screamed at the team and questioned the work ethic of at least one player. Helton's previously been known for his mild-mannered demeanor and creating a perception that players run the program.
But this meeting showed USC's two-game losing streak is taking a toll on the coach.
The players said Helton also defended USC special teams coach John Baxter, who has been severely criticized this season. USC's punting has been awful this season and Texas blocked a field goal and returned it for a touchdown in last week's game.
The Trojans also had nine players on the field for one-or-two kickoff returns, according to one player.
Helton’s repeatedly defended Baxter in public and said he is the best special teams coach in the nation.
The big question now is whether Helton suddenly criticizing the players will work because it is out of character for him.
During his radio show Tuesday, former USC tailback Petros Papadakis said it would not work for Helton to change his identity and he should remain who he is because the players know when a coach is insincere.
In the past, USC coaches have changed their demeanor with disastrous results.
Before a game against Cal, former USC coach Paul Hackett instructed a manager to place a small hole in a dry-erase board and punched it in front of the team.
Ironically, Hackett’s hand was bloody, to his horror, when he withdrew it.
Hackett’s reaction to his cut hand made the team think the whole incident was hilarious.