If It's Friday, It's Time For A USC Notes Column
It's an awful feeling if you are a USC fan going to watch the Trojans play a historic opponent in an amazing setting . . . with one hand tied behind your back.
That is the burden of rolling into Notre Dame Stadium with Charles Clay Helton as your football coach.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly might have his drawbacks but he's now a towering figure next to Helton. Whatever you want to say about how Saturday's game will turn out, no one thinks Helton will outcoach Kelly.
It's a shame if you place importance on this rivalry that your team cannot even match wits with the opposing coach. And more than a few players realize it too.
Legendary USC assistant coach Marv Goux was famous for his motivational talks before the Notre Dame game. They actually originated in the basement of the P.E. building at USC, which used to be where the football locker room was located.
"It was crowded and that's what they wanted," said former USC assistant Dave Levy.
Goux, the band and the song girls would be in the basement with the team. A player would also speak. These were the original "jock rallies" which now take place outside Heritage Hall on Friday afternoons.
Don't ever let anyone tell you that someone besides USC is Notre Dame's rivalry game.
"I'm the caretaker of this program," Kelly said Thursday. "I believe this is the rivalry game. There are other teams we have great respect for, but I believe this is that game."
Notre Dame will hold a walk-through in its stadium at 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday. USC players will probably be sleeping because it will be 7:30 a.m. to them and the Trojans don't arrive until Friday night.
USC might not leave for Notre Dame until Friday but president Carol Folt was in Chicago on Thursday night speaking to a group of alumni. Meanwhile, Helton was at the Corona-Centennial game on Thursday night.
The post-season struggles of Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw are a good time to point out it is the 60th anniversary of the Dodgers winning the 1959 World Series at the Coliseum. Dodgers pitcher Larry Sherry won two games and saved two in the World Series. Sherry was the MVP and had a 0.71 ERA in 12 2/3 innings.
In case you missed it, here is this week's USC-Notre Dame podcast.
The USC band has made every trip to Notre Dame since 1973. It all started when a group of band members approached Art Bartner earlier that year with the idea of making the Notre Dame road trip. Among them was trombonist and band student manager Ken Dye.
Dye will also be at Saturday's game because for the past 22 years he has been Notre Dame's band director. With Bartner retiring, it will be interesting to see if USC pursues Dye.