Helton vs Kiffin

Question for our blog members in view of Lane Kiffin’s recent successes and the now long-standing perception that Clay Helton still needs to prove himself.

Who do you think would coach the 2018 USC team to a better record, Helton or Kiffin? Forget the recruiting and what got USC to this point. Both men can clearly recruit with the best of them. Update: Both Helton and Kiffin have their own staffs. Exact same roster.

 

Please discuss who you think would coach USC, as it now stands, to the better record in 2018:  Kiffin, or Helton? What would their records be and why the difference?

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Old_Trojans_never_die
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I have long had a love-hate relationship with Lane Kiffin. I was excited when USC hired him but I was holding the rail when he was ridden out of town. I went from thinking we wouldn’t skip a beat, to wondering how we were all fooled. As for Helton, I am still trying to give him a chance. He has neither won nor lost my respect. There are as many people hating Helton as there were hating Kiffin. I think it all boils down to whether you believe offense wins games or defense wins games. With Helton there is a… Read more »

Pudly76
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Wasn’t this the same guy who turned tailback U into bubblescreen U? Funny how absence makes the heart grow farmer! And boy did you see how green the grass was on the other side of the hill? Haha!

Trojan5
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Great question Allen. My vote is Kiffin. I think he is a better coach than Helton. My question about Kiffin is this: Is his new found maturity for real or will he revert to his old self? But right now I take Kiffin. Helton has done a great job of stabilizing the program ( with help) and when he leaves the HC job will be a lot more attractive than it was before he took over. I am a in the camp of those who like Helton and want him to succeed. But until he can play the big boys… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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I think this is the wrong question. Rather, it is who would you rather have as your head coach? Not close. I am proud to have Clay as our coach – I would be proud to have my sons be in his program. Kiffin is a narcissist who thrives on controversy. Kiffin’s program is all about Lane; Clay’s program is about developing young men.

Rock2112
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I don’t know which of Kiffin or Helton would make the current roster more successful on the field, but I know Helton is far less likely to embarrass USC with some stupid statement or action during the season. Winning is everything, but this counts too. On the field, I would have a better answer to this if I knew what Kiffin’s practice philosophy would be. Kiffin started the string of SC practicing soft, but he had a good reason to do that — numbers were way down and we could not afford any injuries. Sark continued that for the same… Read more »

Pudly76
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I’m curious Rock, given that the offense was offensive vs osu in the Cotton Bowl, how did you rate the defense? Looking at the numbers they did rather well, didn’t you think? And if that’s the case, how do we reconcile that and practice, because the defensive numbers seem to show they at least played well enough to win.
I ask this question without trying to take either side in this, just wondering how people feel.

ATL D.D.S.
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I do think that the osu took their foot off the gas offensively, because they knew we couldn’t do a damn thing on the offensive side of the ball against their defense. this probably made USC’s defensive numbers look better than they might have been in a closer game….

Pudly76
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There are those who believe that, and it seems reasonable. So I’ll ask you this, when else had urban and his bucknuts ever taken their foot off the gas? Seems they loved running up scores, just not in that game?

Rock2112
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I understand, but I think there is something psychological about a game like that. They practiced their asses off for that game and we didn’t. When they came in and realized it was going to be like a hot knife through butter, it is human nature to exhale, and I think they did. Don’t get me wrong, I think our defense played extraordinarily well in the second half and that there was a legitimate chance for us to pull it together and push OSU late. But our o-line was still in the locker room, we missed a short field goal,… Read more »

Bobbo
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I think it is as much of the players (especially in a bowl) just losing some motivation. By that time they aren’t really playing for anything. And why get hurt in a bowl? Just enough de-motivation to stop them from widening their lead.

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ATL D.D.S read my mind. OSU was done worrying about scoring after the first half. They scored when they needed to. And if we would have figured out how to play basic offense and block their d-line enough to push them in the second half, I feel that we would have seen another gear from them.

John Weld
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Pudly76 & Rock2112: ‘Pardon my Interruption’, I thought the defense played the smartest game that I had seen them play in over year since the victory in Washington the year before. When players are playing smart, it means that there was a good game plan and good preparation. That has given me an additional reason to be excited for the upcoming season. Note: all the pundits that downplayed the good defensive performance kept saying that the Buckeyes took their foot off the gas pedal………but that wasn’t until midway through the 3rd quarter……the first half the Buckeyes had their foot on… Read more »

Pudly76
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Thank you, taking away the fumbles and pick6, and we were in a beautiful defensive struggle, something I love. Of course, there are many who don’t and/won’t ever see it like that, and that’s why sports is great entertainment.

Bobbo
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I really wonder about the line of reasoning you are putting forth, Pudly. That is what is usually said when when one team gets mugged by another and then sits on a lead. I am not necessarily disagreeing with you. I am just not convinced that you are correct either. So many times (especially, it seems, in bowl games) that a team will spank their opponent and then just sit on the lead. People say it was ‘close after the start’ but really it wasn’t. I think every time we did something, OSU responded to keep us at arms length.… Read more »

Pudly76
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bucknuts have been known to run up scores, and with urban it’s no different. When have you seen them take their feet off the gas? If they had us where they could punk us, they’d have put 55+ on us. They just couldn’t move the ball. The fact they stonewalled our offensive line and tight ends has nothing to do with their offense. Their longest drive was 85 yds for 3 pts, next was 59 yds to end the scoring for them just before half. Their other scores a 19 yd drive off a turnover and pick 6. Then they… Read more »

Pudly76
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This discussion started with practice. Not patting anyone on the back. I simply asked if the defense was competitive and they practiced the same, why it wasn’t enough for the offense. And inversely, if it’s not enough for the offense, how did the defense manage? There wasn’t any back patting.

Pudly76
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What I know of kiffin at bama came from bama online and aldotcom and saturdaysdownsouth, who wrote extensively on that relationship. But that too is opinion and at the end of the day, we are left to our own. As far as Helton goes, I support him only to the extent that he’s part of the team, no further. For bama I give him the pass, less for nd (injuries on both lines), but no quarter for his performance against osu. That too is an opinion. But like most of the rest, I believe this season is his Waterloo. Question… Read more »

Petero
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Waterloo………Could be his ABBA revival.
Believe we will know the answer by Oct.

Pudly76
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Hahahahaha!

Pudly76
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Did Norman run today? BTW, he and Raj are up for the top track award and can be voted for by going to the school athletic Twitter account.

Petero
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Funny I came back on line to ask you why he didn’t run. Under results , he has a DNS. He ran,and won his semi today
I know there were thunderstorms that delayed Final for 3-4 hours. He was only one in final who didn’t run. Weather was really bad there.
The final missed TV. Can one vote co-Top track ?
Their finals results were co-top in world to date.

Pudly76
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Not sure what happened yet. Will try to find out.

Petero
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race was run only hour ago. I looked nothing posted 30 min ago.
In his semi he ran into wind. The other semi winner had wind at his back
Norman would have won the 400 by wide margin. Norman and kid from LSU are the sprinters to watch Worlds next year and Olympics.

Petero
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I see where Norman posted shortly before race that he scratched because “Coach pulled me “. with the long multiple delays yesterday I could see the caution.With him turning pro,wonder who the coach is ? I counted at least 3 other Trojans at meet. Ford 800m and 2 on women’s side. The meet lacked any excitment Off year, would imagine Norman has had a long year,curious when he runs and where next.

Pudly76
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I wonder what Cunningham will do?

Bobbo
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Love this post. Way to go, Pudly.

LawyerJohn
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Aaaah, lighten up folks. It is only a game. If SC does well, then it will be more exciting, of course. But every game SC plays is an important game, and if they only beat SUCLA as their sole victory in 2018 I will be there to celebrate.

Jack B
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Kiffin would likely win more games with this USC team than Helton, who still struggled last year with Sam Darnold and some terrific future pro DLs, not to mention RoJo. Look what Kiffin’s done at FAU in one single year! Imagine him at USC with 85 rides, now. He lacked leadership qualities at USC when he was here and the loss of 30 rides would kill even Saban. But now Kiffin is more mature, experienced, yet still very young. Plus, he’s on the cutting edge of stuff in the game based on what I have read.

Pudly76
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Jack, just wondering??? You know I’ve not overly criticized kiffen and often defended him. So if you were to line up the coaches kiffen faced vs the coaches Helton faced, do you think maybe there’s a difference in talent? Not just of the opposing head coaches but the entire staffs? And do you think that it would make a difference in this discussion?

Jack B
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i wouldn’t overanalyze this. There’s nobody in America who doubts that Kiffin is a far superior offensive coach to Helton. Helton’s just not in his league. The question with Kiffin was always leadership, maturity and at USC, lack of scholarships. Just looking at Helton’s teams though, there has been far too much sloppiness, ineptitude, penalties and ugly winning in general. That had nothing to do with USC’s opponents. See last year’s Western Michigan game. Ridiculous and the team was simply not prepared to start the season, just like the year before against Alabama. And frankly, I don’t think Helton would… Read more »

Pudly76
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If I remember right, part of the criticism of kiffen was his complete lack of attention to his defense. Secondly, it was his running scores up against lesser talent while struggling against better teams. Granted he had his ten win season to open his Trojan career. But Jack, how many coaches would’ve given bama much of a game, in their initial outing as a staff? Really? As far as my defense of Helton goes, I’ve always said, he gets his three+ years and then he’s gotta show us. Kiffin’s biggest handicap has always been kiffin and I hope he proves… Read more »

Jack B
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We’ll agree to disagree. You’ve always got a lot of excuses for Helton. So be it. Kiffin’s already proven he can do what he can do at FAU when a coach like Helton wouldn’t have any chance whatsoever of succeeding there. None. Kiffin’s already gotten out of his own way. He was a smashing success in Alabama under Saban (who knows how and who to hire) and is now a God at FAU — where he is setting records. Helton has one of the top five traditions in the game to work with and he has embarrassed USC huge against… Read more »

Pudly76
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Well you’ve got one thing right. We’ll agree to disagree. Beyond that all kiffins done has proved he can win at a lower level. Word was he was sent packing from bama by saban, but saban gave him the courtesy of letting him leave rather than giving him an escort. Didn’t even let him stay for the championship game.

Jack B
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It’ll be nice to see if Helton can quit bending over for the big boys. Lord knows he’s had enough practice at it. When he’s not playing at home, it’s always a crapshoot.

You obviously are unaware that Kiffin wanted out of Alabama bad, like so many do, because he knew he could step into another head job, his only goal. Kiffin couldn’t have cared less if he was on the field for ALA’s 35-31 loss to CLEM. He was probably laughing at Saban’s el foldo.

Pudly76
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Does Helton get kiffin as OC?

Pudly76
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I’ll take Helton because of his maturity and team unity, which kiffin lost his last years here.

Pudly76
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Yeah, I get it. But I’m still not sure about kiff’s maturity yet either. I still see a lot of twitter trash. Believe it or not, I really like the guy and wished for him to do better before at SC, and still do now. It’s just funny how some excuses are allowable and others are discounted. But at the end of the day, I don’t give a rat’s behind the ho the coach is, as long as the Trojans are winning.

Pudly76
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When his head coaches don’t scream on the sideline for berating players on the field during games, his locker room doesn’t breakdown at a bowl game and players throw punches at each other and the assistant coach doesn’t punch him in the face. When he stops trolling bama and Tennessee coaches and fans on twitter.
Maybe he’s there already, but I’m not betting my program on it yet.

Pudly76
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When the smoke clears a little more maybe I’ll believe there’s no fire. The sec certainly has its own views of how things went at bama, and that’s not so far removed. Again, I’m in his corner and want him to succeed, but I feel like it’s deja vu all over again.
And let’s be honest FAU isn’t on network news, like most power 5 schools. You get away with much more than you might otherwise. Although, I’d love to see him at Ole Miss or some other small town power 5 school soon.

Pudly76
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I’ll still stick with stability, I already tried the other way. Thanks.

Pudly76
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I’ll just take a minute to wish “Happy Birthday “ to coach Clay Helton..Fight On Coach!

Bobbo
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Thanks for the info. I think I have the perfect gift for him…a ‘For Sale” sign for the front yard. wink

Couldn’t resist after your conversation just above with Allen.

Pudly76
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Funny thing is that when kiffin was the coach here, no one defended him any more staunchly than I. It’s just who I am. I consider the coach part of the team, and of course then wish they would always succeed. After they’re gone, I’m a bit more realistic about what I’ve seen from them.

Bobbo
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Hey, I get it. I am usually more like you. I defended Sark from the get go even though he was much less than the party-line how we were all going to be so excited with the hire. Its just that this last hire was done without any real process. And I just thought that Tom Herman and Justin Fuentes or anyone else that was a very viable option. USC always crows how it is a traditional power and then it usually picks a coach with less precision than a mid-power from a mid-conference. It infuriates me and my blind… Read more »

SteveO
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Kiffin is probably the best offensive coordinator in the game. USC’s defense this year should be pretty solid. So I would say Kiffin would be more successful this year. However I think Clay Helton will prove to be the better head coach. In the long run having a better head coach is more important than a good offensive coordinator so I am glad we have Clay. Lane had his chance! This year is Clay’s chance! God help us if he does not succeed! I am not sure what happens if he fails.

Bobbo
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I think Herman is better for one. He took us to the limit with a back up frosh QB last year on the road. And there are others, too.

Petero
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There’s no question that this year defines Helton’s X and O’s. Will be telling to see if he learns from the past mistakes and corrects them. The frustration of last years losses,and over all play was nerve shaking. Yet few would argue that Clay hasn’t brought the program back to it’s roots. Pride , character building fundamentals. The Trojan spirit, was missing from the last year of Carroll to 2016 . To hear three 5 * on signing day put emphasis on the value of USC education and life after football was telling to me. Kiffy is fun to watch… Read more »

Steveg
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How about the coachs from Stanford and Utah.

Petero
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Good answer. Only one of those coaches was or could be available.

San Diego Trojan
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When we couldn’t get any of the big names to replace Sark, I thought Kyle Whittingham would have been a great choice. Like Peterson, he has a proven system, and gets the most out of his players. Can anyone name any of his assistants? That tells you the kind of leader he is.

Petero
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I have great respect for Whittingham. Although I can’t name coaches, over the last few years I’ve heard of Utah asstiants moving up to pros and other jobs.He sure gets the best from everyone. Probably the best kicking program in country last ten years.
Shaw is at Stanford for life.Kyle is only Pac coach that might bring the ethics that Clay does. Personally I hope Helton turns out great.

Bobbo
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Perfectly said, Petero.

Pudly76
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Did Whittingham ever indicate he wanted to come to LA? I think he’s a lot like Pedersen and prefers the lower keyed lifestyle in Utah. But he sure seems the great guy, and his players seem to manage to stay out of trouble. I sure appreciate him sending Stevie T to us though.

Petero
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I think he is quite happy to stay in Utah.

Gepetohong
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Not entirely a fair question since it is asking for who you would want as our coach for this particular season and doesn’t take into account any longer term outlook… By many accounts, Kiffin is an excellent X’s & O’s guy who can recruit with the best of them. Helton, on the other hand, is still an unproven head coach with just slightly more than 2 years of experience. So if we are considering who I would rather have specifically for this season, it would have to be a more proven, more “spectacular” Kiffin. But if the question is who… Read more »