If It's Friday, It's Time For A USC Notes Column
The way Clay Helton is dragging his feet hiring an offensive coordinator, he is simply raising expectations that he might hire an NFL assistant coach who is participating in this weekend's NFC and AFC championship games.
That is the best-case scenario for USC fans. The worst case scenario, and it is being tossed around the McKay Center, is that offensive line coach Tim Drevno becomes offensive coordinator.
Does Helton want to still run an Air Raid offense? I don't think he has a clue. My guess is Helton wants to call plays but wonders if he could get away with it?
Everything Helton does tends to be wrapped with insecurity.
So he can probably bring in Air Raid specialist Graham Harrell and force him to start JT Daniels, unlike Kliff Kingsbury, who made it clear he would decide who starts.
There is speculation by some that Rams assistant Jedd Fisch is a candidate. I don't see how Fisch wants to become part of the Helton swamp while his stock rises as long as he is tied to Rams coach Sean McVay.
The problem, which Helton may or may not understand, is that some key offensive skill players want Jack Sears to be the quarterback.
The Polynesian Bowl is Saturday and features a few players USC wants to sign next month like wide receiver Puka Nacua, offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi and safety Noa Pola-Gates.
What fascinates me about this bowl game is how so many kids miss an entire week of school while they are in Hawaii. This is a week many high schools have final exams so it's not like it's a dead week academically.
Also, the recruiting services head there en masse for the week even though so little news is generated especially with most recruits signing last month on early Signing Day.
USC safety Marvell Tell is going to skip the Senior Bowl apparently because of the sprained ankle that kept him out of the Notre Dame game. He is being replaced on the roster by USC cornerback Iman Marshall.
Tell has not played since Nov. 17 against UCLA so his ankle injury rivals Kevin Porter's thigh bruise.
I always like to hear new stories about Julie's Restaurant, which was the place to go at USC, especially in the 1960's and 70's. Here is a story on how Rams coach Chuck Knox brought his staff to challenge USC coach John McKay and staff to a drinking contest.
This week I heard another story: Legendary baseball player/manager Casey Stengel used to go to Julie's after attending USC baseball games. Stengel was a mentor and close friend of USC baseball coach Rod Dedeaux. He signed Dedeaux to a pro baseball contract in 1935 with the Brooklyn Dodgers for a $1,500 signing bonus.
Dedeaux played at Hollywood High School and Stengel spotted him while living in Southern California during the offseason. When Stengel went to Julie's, he sometimes ran into McKay, who was the most famous Julie's customer and even had his own booth.
Restaurant owner Julie Kohl later shipped to him in Tampa Bay when he coached the Buccaneers.
USC plays UCLA in basketball on Saturday at the Galen Center and I haven't talked to anyone this week who cares?