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If it's Friday, it's time for a USC notes column.

If it's Friday, it's time for a USC notes column.


What ails USC the most?

Player development? Poor coaching? Lack of leadership?

How will the program ever rise to the level of Alabama, Clemson or Ohio State when its coaches are not even on the same page?

Here is what I mean: I have heard stories since the season started of friction on the coaching staff. It afflicts almost all areas and it has to impact what you see on the field every weekend.

If there is a common thread for the coaching friction, it revolves around Clay Helton. Whether it is his reluctance to take responsibility for things like player discipline or refusal to hire coaches based on merit, it has led to unnecessary problems that contribute to the uneven performances dating back to last season.

It’s hard to imagine the offensive line getting noticeably better when there is criticism of offensive line coach Neil Callaway even within the program.

·        Helton said Isaiah Langley will start at cornerback and freshman Olaijah Griffin will split time. Why does Helton always seem to favor the older player?

Last season, Jalen Greene was starting at wide receiver over Tyler Vaughns. Max Browne started over Sam Darnold.

The way USC’s secondary has looked most of the season, it’s hard to believe this is the first hint of change and it is Week 5.

·        If you listen to the media or USC coaches, you hear a lot about RPO plays. RPO stands for run-pass option and you would think USC invented the play the past few seasons.

But the truth is USC quarterback Pete Beathard routinely ran RPO plays in the early 1960’s.

·        When John McKay was USC coach, he did not give his assistant coaches titles like offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator. They were just an “assistant coach” although the team knew what duties each coach performed.

Maybe Helton should do that so we don’t know who to blame after every game.

·        McKay was not always popular with his assistants. He drove Don Coryell crazy in his lone season at USC in 1960 because of the way McKay always changed his mind. Coryell went on to became a legendary coach for the San Diego Chargers.

·        Whatever happened to Bubba Bolden? At this point, the suspended safety should just go to another school.

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