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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

It’s only five games into the season but I always talk about USC’s ability to deal with adversity when I judge the Trojans.

Other pundits pushed the culture change, the new assistants, the new strength coach, the discipline, etc., when discussing this season.

I was skeptical of all that and went back to wondering how USC would handle adversity with a coach who cannot lead men? Nothing I heard this week from what was going on around Howard Jones Field led me to believe the players bounced back or were ready to attack the second part of the season after the loss to Washington.

There was a discernible lack of energy this week, which does not bode well for Notre Dame. And if USC loses to Notre Dame, it will be 3-3. Can it regroup for the final six games? With Clay Helton, it’s hard to imagine.

  • Helton played into his critics’ hands during the bye week by holding light-contact practices. When Pete Carroll coached at USC, the bye week would conclude Friday morning with a full-contact “bowl game” with teams mainly composed of true freshmen and scout players. Those days are long gone.

  • With a bye week, I decided to call a source in the UCLA athletic dept. to talk a little bit about Chip Kelly.

“He can’t develop players or recruit them. It feels like it’s over this year. The assistant coaches are old and have no energy. Can they coach? No one here knows yet.

“A lot of us were giving him the benefit of the doubt until he lost to San Diego State. I mean, San Diego State. Really?

“The best thing Chip has going for him is UCLA bought out Jim Mora and Steve Alford and the donors are worn out from paying off coaches. Otherwise he would be on a very hot seat.”

  • Two of USC’s three victories (Fresno State, Stanford) are against teams that have made the biggest regressions in the S&P+ Ratings in 2019.

  • 1. Fresno State (75th after five weeks, 18.5 adjusted points per game below 2018 rating)

  • 2. Ohio (98th, down 13.9 PPG)

  • 3. Miami (Ohio) (113th, down 13.9 PPG)

  • 4. Stanford (73rd, down 13.8 PPG)

  • Did you see USC graduate Allyson Felix won her 12th medal at the track and field World Championships and all media reports said she broke Usain Bolt‘s record of 11 medals?

I admire Felix but this comparison bothers me. Felix won 4 gold medals in individual events at the World Championships along with 1 silver and 1 bronze. The other six medals were in relays, including the mixed gender relay she won a medal for this week.

By contrast, Bolt won 7 individual gold medals at the Worlds and 4 in relays.
The Olympics are worse. Felix has six gold medals but only one in an individual event. Five are in relays. Maybe she should be called the greatest relay runner in history.

  • And finally . . . below is the atmosphere at South Carolina, one of the worst teams in the SEC. You can’t tell me it’s the same going to Corvallis, Tucson, Berkeley, Palo Alto, Pullman or Tempe. Not even close. I could include the Rose Bowl let’s face it, the Coliseum isn’t that tough with the smallish crowds.

Frankly, other than Seattle and Eugene, what is a tough Pac-12 environment? South Carolina is just one of many tough environments in the SEC.

How many more games would USC lose if it played in an atmosphere like South Carolina every week?

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