Trojan Football Is Now a Bottomless Pit of Confusion

USC football finds itself at a new bottom with no immediate answers

Adam Grosbard (OC Register)  —  LOS ANGELES — As stunning as the proportions of USC’s 62-33 loss to UCLA on Saturday were, the particulars were familiar to anyone who’s followed the Trojans this season.

A defense that got trampled in the run game. An offense that couldn’t convert red-zone opportunities into touchdowns. Turnovers, penalties, tackles for loss, the lot.

USC hasn’t been immune to bad performances in recent years. But the repeat issues, the failure to correct mistakes, they weigh heavily on the upperclassmen on the roster.

“Just guys not being accountable to one another, not playing with pride for this team,” defensive end Nick Figueroa said. “It’s just not the brand of football that we want to play, it’s not the brand of football that’s played here. So definitely a big disappointment.”

If these comments sound familiar, it’s because USC made similar remarks after Oregon State won at the Coliseum for the first time in 60 years. And when Utah won at the Coliseum for the first time in ever.

It’s just that 12 weeks into the season, and 10 weeks since Clay Helton was fired as head coach, USC still has no answers.

“If I was hired as the next head coach, maybe I’d have the answer but I have no clue,” center Brett Neilon said “This team’s been through a lot, lots of ups and downs and a lot of stuff behind the scenes. But yeah, it just seems like the only time all three phases came together was Washington State in the second half.”

More troubling, Neilon raised the possibility that this is simply the culture that’s been built at the program.

Changing the culture was a major part of interim head coach Donte Williams’ message when he took over the program in September. He talked of making players take their hats off indoors, and picking up trash in the locker room.

But these off-field habits have had no impact on game performance, and Williams admitted on Sunday that implementing a cultural shift mid-season was no easy task.

“You’d like to have a change, but you make a change right in the middle of the season, things are an obstacle,” Williams said. “You never got the chance to grow in the spring or the summer or fall camp in things in the way you want them to be done. All we can do is continue to try and push forward and change the culture in the right direction.”

It’s hard to blame the Trojans if their eyes starting peeking ahead to the future. Technically, USC can win the next two games and earn bowl eligibility. But that would require defeating No. 13 BYU, a particularly bad matchup for USC given its strong run game.

Even playing at the Coliseum is no comfort after surrendering 225 points in five games to Pac-12 opponents at home this season.

“I don’t know another way to put it, but that’s disgusting,” Williams said, practically spitting out the final word.

After the UCLA game, defensive line coach Vic So’oto told his group to take these bitter memories into the off-season, to not forget this disappointment as they prepare for 2022.

“Knowing that these games are vital to what this program’s going to be in the near future is like a big part of what’s going to drive me,” Figueroa said. “And I hope it’s what’s going to drive other people in our locker room.”

ocregister.com

_________

TrojanDailyBlog members  —  Always feel free to add information or topics to the TDB which don’t necessarily pertain to any particular moderator post or member comment.

SUBSCRIBE HERE TO RECEIVE NOTICE OF NEW COMMENTS OR REPLIES.
Notify of
33 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 22, 2021 7:54 pm

Check out this story on Yahoo Sports, the 3 dimensional chess is fascinating. If you are a big time AD looking for a coach you are in the game of your career. Fight On Bohn, Fight On.

https://sports.yahoo.com/who-will-coach-at-florida-lsu-or-usc-timing-is-everything-002549496.html

Chris
Member
Diamond Member
Chris(@chris)
November 22, 2021 6:39 pm

Football scoop had an interesting podcast today. They are hearing Fickell and Aranda like everyone else, but they also are hearing Dan Quinn and Hugh Jackson. They also believe that USC will have their coach announced this weekend or next at the latest. Not just to pull together this recruiting class, but also to keep their best players out of the transfer portal. It’s pretty interesting and a quick listen.

usc50
Member
Active Member
usc50(@usc50)
November 22, 2021 3:35 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

The good part about AD Bohn is he is a trained AD. He studied to prepare for it and has a lot of experience being an AD. He will make the best decision that is POSSIBLE at the time. But it is also a bad time to find a great coach. The coaches we want are in the top 10 teams with stable jobs. Can we offer them more at a big risk for them? Offer them but put waiting limit. We need to study the up and coming coaches that would consider USC a great job. We don’t want… Read more »

San Diego Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
San Diego Trojan(@san-diego-trojan)
November 22, 2021 4:11 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I don’t know why, but I have a gut feeling that Bohn and Franklin have had an understanding and agreement in place since right after Helton was fired. That has remained a secret that can’t be announced until the end of their season. I have no knowledge, and hope it’s not true, because he would not be in my top five. Just a hunch

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
November 22, 2021 4:14 pm

Wow, your hunch just game me an upset stomach. Franklin is number last on my list.

Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 22, 2021 6:12 pm

I would think the understanding and agreement is between Bohn and Fickell. They have the relationship and history. We will see what the CFP ranking looks like but I have a feeling that Cinci will stay at #5 the rest of the way and only Power 5 will make the top 4. That is what will push Fickell to USC. Bohn will have to have at least 5 guys he has a chance at getting cause it could get crazy 2 weeks from now.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
November 22, 2021 6:35 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

For sure there is going to be a lot of money flying around.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
November 22, 2021 6:32 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

So my question is, how much is Folt involved with the hire. Is she going to close doors because the candidate is not black, woke, or he made a statement 25 years ago that she is uncomfortable with? Is Bohn going to take control or is he going to fold again like he did in the beginning. I have a feeling she is going to get in the way somehow.

ATL D.D.S.
Member
Diamond Member
ATL D.D.S.(@atl-d-d-s)
November 24, 2021 8:33 am
Reply to  Steveg

If that little commie beotch is involved, look for a fully woke choice–like number last on your list Steveg.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
November 22, 2021 12:45 pm

I just don’t feel you can lay this team and its utter lack of performance on Williams. He got handed a turd, and it is still a turd. It was not his job to change anything, just to get the team through the rest of the season. It is obvious he is not quite ready to head coach, nor is anyone on the staff. Glad to see most of them go. A few I like, like the RB coach, and the D line coach.

Chris
Member
Diamond Member
Chris(@chris)
November 22, 2021 11:18 am

IMO I hope we get Fickell or Matt Campbell. They know how to build programs from ground up. We need it and they have done it. Aranda took over after Rhule had done some heavy lifting at Baylor, we aren’t sure if he can rebuild. he’s a great defensive coach, no debate there, but can he do it from scratch? We are a completely broken program, we need ground up re-boot. Campbell and Fickell know how to do that.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
November 22, 2021 12:36 pm
Reply to  Chris

So does Brian Kelly, according to espn.

Chris
Member
Diamond Member
Chris(@chris)
November 22, 2021 12:45 pm
Reply to  Steveg

I’m good with him as well. I’d take him first over the others.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
November 22, 2021 12:47 pm
Reply to  Chris

Thought you were a Perterson guy?

Chris
Member
Diamond Member
Chris(@chris)
November 22, 2021 1:03 pm
Reply to  Steveg

Others meaning Fickell, Aranda, or Campbell.

RialtoTrojan
Member
Noble Member
RialtoTrojan(@rialtotrojan)
November 22, 2021 10:04 am

Somehow what I posted on SW disappeared this morning. I thought about pasting it here but I’ll just put up the gist. Our most recent loss was a humiliating experience no doubt but USC can make it a win if the powers that spend finally see what we’ve been saying for a decade. Pay Haden set this in motion by hiring three inexperienced coaches in succession. Nobody called him out because in his own words it was going to take ten years to repair what NCAA did to the program with their draconian penalties. Haden never expected he would add… Read more »

Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 22, 2021 10:11 am
Reply to  RialtoTrojan

I posted below/above about Vatican Chimney Smoke. Catholics know white=new pope, black=no decision. For us Trojans, white=great hire, black=USC football is truly dead. Let’s all hope and pray for white smoke from Heritage Hall chimney!

Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 22, 2021 10:24 am
Reply to  Golden Trojan

Also, the longer we have to wait the better the hire. Evidenced by Helton being the first coach hired in the cycle! 😝

Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 22, 2021 11:16 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

White Smoke, Baby, White Smoke! Keep it positive!  :wpds_cool: 

trojan92
Member
Noble Member
trojan92(@trojan92)
November 22, 2021 9:30 am

I never thought I’d say this:
I just wish the season was over already… 😥

Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 22, 2021 10:05 am
Reply to  trojan92

I was filled with optimism when The Cat was fired and the WSU win. I thought they’d get better, discipline and accountability, coaches freed to toughen up. That went out the window with Oregon St. They have been going downhill since. Since then it has felt like the NFL exhibition games, something to watch but don’t mean anything. In less than 2 weeks it will be over and we watch for the smoke coming out of the Vatican chimney.

Chris
Member
Diamond Member
Chris(@chris)
November 22, 2021 10:08 am
Reply to  Golden Trojan

Nailed it! Exhibition football, ugh

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
November 22, 2021 4:16 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

This USC team isn’t going to win another game. They are done, they have thrown in the towel, they already know they are the WOAT. (worst of all time)

UtahTrojan
Member
Diamond Member
UtahTrojan(@utahtrojan)
November 22, 2021 6:49 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Shame on you Allen for even thinking it.

Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 22, 2021 9:08 am

Clay Helton is a terrible leader of a football team. Apparently, he was the only leader the Trojans had/have.

UtahTrojan
Member
Diamond Member
UtahTrojan(@utahtrojan)
November 22, 2021 9:00 am

Sad is the only word that comes to mind.