USC head coaching rumors: Gus Malzahn issues statement on Trojans’ job

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Saturday Down South 16 September, 2021 - 12:17pm 28 views

Why was Clay Helton fired?

He was fired Monday amid increasing fury from the school's alumni and former players for whom Saturday wasn't just a bad game, but another confirmation that the football program would never become a contender for a national title under Helton. ... The New York TimesConsidering Itself Outside the Title Picture, U.S.C. Fires Clay Helton

Did Clay Helton get fired?

USC has fired football coach Clay Helton after the Trojans suffered an upset loss at home Saturday to Stanford. The Cardinal defeated the No. 14 Trojans 42-28 Saturday night at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, dropping USC to 1-1 on the season. ... I have total faith in the men that are in there, players, coaches. NBC Southern CaliforniaUSC Fires Football Coach Clay Helton Two Games Into His Seventh Season

Who is USC football coach?

ESPN's Rece Davis floats Lane Kiffin as next USC football head coach. Jackson Clarion LedgerESPN's Rece Davis floats Lane Kiffin as next USC football head coach: 'It would work'

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The Monday firing of USC head coach Clay Helton has quickly thrown multiple names into the mix as the possible replacement coach for the Trojans. One of those names is Penn State head coach James Franklin, who has chosen to not confirm or deny any interest in the USC job as of now. Meeting with the media on Wednesday evening, Franklin explained why he has chosen to take that route.

“I’ve found and tracked this over time, that really no matter what you say, people aren’t happy with,” Franklin said. “So, I’ve decided I’m going to handle this internally and talk to our team. It happens every single year. I’m not worried about distractions in the media and with the fans, I’m worried about my team. I talked to my staff about it, I talked to my players about it, the leadership council in detail, but I think that’s the best approach.”

On Wednesday morning, Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford spoke about the chatter of his head coach being linked to that job. Clifford made it clear that as a team, Penn State is not concerned about losing Franklin to the Trojans. But Franklin is not only addressing his current players.

After explaining his thought process to the media, one member of the media scrum asked Franklin about what he is telling his recruits. Franklin said he will keep possible future Penn State players fully in the loop on where he stands.

“We’ll address it with the recruits as well,” Franklin said. “My conversations with recruits and my conversations with my team, we’ll have. And I’ll know you’ll call everyone and ask what I said. I’ll have conversations with them. But again, having conversations with the media and having conversations with anybody else, I’m concerned about my team and my future team (at Penn State).”

It is easy to see why USC might be interested in pulling Franklin away from State College. After inheriting a seven-win program in 2014, Franklin had Penn State back into winning 11 games in a season and playing for the Rose Bowl in just his third year. During his seven full years and two games this year with the Nittany Lions, Franklin is 62-28 and is 3-3 in bowl games, including a win in the Fiesta Bowl and an appearance in the Rose Bowl.

USC started the season off at 1-0 with a 23-point win over San Jose State, but then lost to Stanford in Week 2 by 14 points at home. Helton had been on the hot seat in previous seasons, but was fired after the Stanford loss, compiling a record of 46-24 and 2-3 in bowl games during his time with the Trojans.

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Instant Analysis: Clay Helton fired at USC

Rivals Video 16 September, 2021 - 04:21pm

James Franklin belongs in Happy Valley, not Southern California | Opinion

The Daily Collegian Online 16 September, 2021 - 04:21pm

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These cookies are essential for the proper functioning of our Services. Essential cookies cannot be switched off in our systems. You can set your device to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the Service will not work.

These Cookies allow us to collect information about how visitors use our properties. Some examples include counting visits and traffic sources, so we can measure and improve the performance of our services. If you do not allow these Cookies we will not know when users have visited our properties and will not be able to monitor performance.

These Cookies enable the services to provide enhanced functionality and personalization. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our services. If you do not allow these Cookies then some or all of these services may not function properly.

These Cookies may be set by us or through our services by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant advertising on this and on other properties. If you do not allow these Cookies, you will still see ads, but you will experience less relevant advertising.

These Cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the services to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites, building up a profile of your interests to show you relevant content and advertisements on the relevant social networks. If you do not allow these Cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

USC Football: 2021 WSU Wednesday - Vic So'oto

USCAthletics 16 September, 2021 - 04:21pm

Somehow, we have two coaching changes at the FBS level before getting through  the month of September. UConn's Randy Edsall retired. Initially, he planned to step aside at the end of the season, then rapidly sped that timeline up. USC's Clay Helton got plain fired. How you factor that into your betting process is for you and your bankroll to consider, but what the team's performance moving forward does to the numbers is another thing. 

The Trojans got thumped by Stanford to signal the end of the Helton era, and the composite has them 18th in the country with a 12.86 rating (or 12ish points better than the average college football team). The computer doesn't know what tumult is going on at Heritage Hall right now, but we'll see what happens moving forward with the men of Troy, who do still have talent on the roster to compete from here until the end of the season. 

UConn, on the other hand, is in a much worse predicament. You may call my interests niche, but the Huskies started the season rated -23.03 and have sunk like a stone to -30.3 in the span of three games. In a very nerdy way, it's almost like a science experiment to see how low their rating can get. Sure, they may get things going in a slightly more positive direction by rallying around their interim coach to save face, or they may barrel toward something like -40 if they keep losing. Remember—Clemson (currently 22.16) hosts the Huskies in November. We could be talking about a computer-generated 60-point spread in the future. It's things like this that jump out at you when you spend way too much time playing with spreadsheets. 

Last week: 18-26-1 41.11%

Season: 40-53-2 43.16%

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-Texas A&M (-28.5) over New Mexico

-Utah (-7.5) over San Diego State

-Utah State (+8) over Air Force

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Donte Williams, Urban Meyer and what we know about the USC football coaching search

Los Angeles Times 16 September, 2021 - 06:00am

There was scarcely time for the school’s brass to catch its breath before the rumor mill, and the attendant speculative fireworks, erupted. Every news conference denial or non-denial regarding the USC job will be analyzed with a Zapruder-esque level of scrutiny. They already have.

The urgency to find the perfect fit has never been higher at USC, where the last three coaches have been fired midseason during a 10-year span that has yielded just one Pac-12 title. But for the two administrators at the center of USC’s search, athletic director Mike Bohn and his chief of staff Brandon Sosna, there’s no reason to rush. The benefit of firing your coach two games into the season is that you have all the time in the world to conduct a thorough search and get it right.

That leaves us with several months to debate who USC should hire as its next coach. It also means a minefield of misinformation to come, with all the flimsy rumors and anonymous reports the college football media can muster.

Let’s start with what we know — and don’t know — about where the nascent search is headed:

There’s a good possibility that one or more of USC’s top candidates will be coaching into December. If the right person is still coaching meaningful games, USC has no problem waiting it out.

“We will go through an exhaustive national search,” Bohn said Tuesday. “The good news is we have time to do that. We’ll take full advantage of that time. We’ve already started with building our profile, building all the elements associated with a solid search. I’m looking forward to that. And having the Trojan family behind us will be a big part of that. I think that’s something we’re going to spend a lot of time rallying and trying to ensure we’re all aligned.”

Here’s everything you need to know about USC football in the wake of the team’s decision to fire coach Clay Helton following its loss to Stanford.

When Bohn and Sosna conducted their last coaching search at Cincinnati, it was largely contained to the two of them. That doesn’t mean USC won’t use a search firm in some capacity; in prior searches, Bohn and Sosna have used them for such bureaucratic tasks as background checks. Expect this process to follow a similar pattern, with the pair of them, and not consultants, creating the list of coaches.

Williams could theoretically coach his way into candidacy. But the chances of him getting the job are slim given the mandate that USC make a major statement with its hire.

Even so, USC brass understands that no assistant on staff is more crucial to retain moving forward than Williams, whose work on the recruiting trail played a major role in the Trojans’ sudden turnaround on that front. Whether he’ll be satisfied with an associate head coach and cornerbacks coach title remains to be seen, but USC will do what it can to keep him. A school source said they expect that any coach they hire would be interested in retaining one of the nation’s best recruiters.

It’s too early to tell if USC will prioritize keeping any other assistants.

That was Bohn’s answer when asked Wednesday if he expected USC’s next coach to have experience running his own program. Notice that he never said a lack of experience was a dealbreaker. But any candidate without head coaching credentials is going to need to overcome that lack of proven success in some other way.

The only notable assistant on everyone’s early lists has been Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, who hails from California. Could a national title pedigree as a coordinator be enough to allay concerns about a lack of head coaching experience?

That sure sounds like someone who has already held the reins of a Power Five program.

As the search begins, there are no preconceived notions of whether USC should hire a hotshot offensive coach or a brilliant defensive mind or any other coach search archetype for that matter. The hope is to eliminate biases in hopes of achieving the best possible fit.

Bohn did offer up a few key, more general qualities on Tuesday.

“Well, no question it’s leadership, high integrity, character,” Bohn said. “The ability to connect with young men. As you all know, our vision is to be the most student-athlete centered program in the country so we want somebody that understands the connectability with young men that are a part of this program and the ability to recruit and bring high-quality, character people to USC and again to pursue championships.”

Raised for greatness, Crenshaw’s Donte Williams is the first Black head football coach at USC, the program his mother dreamed he’d join.

Since USC President Carol Folt was hired to clean up the university’s tarnished reputation following years of scandal, she has made it clear that she will not compromise on the appearance of character questions. One administrator who worked with Folt at North Carolina said in 2019 that there was “not a snowball’s chance in hell she’d hire a coach with integrity problems.”

That conversation is sure to move to the forefront again as every candidate is closely parsed over the next two months. There’s no reason to believe that Folt’s stance has changed since the last time it was discussed, after the 2019 season. The appetite for risk within the president’s office is still limited when it comes to coaches with off-field questions.

When Helton was last on the hot seat, Urban Meyer was the object of disillusioned USC fans’ deepest desires. Meyer, now the Jaguars coach, was asked on Wednesday about the USC search. Integrity questions have followed Meyer since his two-championship tenure at Florida, where 31 football players were arrested on his watch. At Ohio State, an investigation revealed that Meyer had protected an assistant coach accused by his ex-wife of a long history of domestic abuse.

(Meyer did not make it 48 hours before fielding his first question about the presumed Trojans vacancy. “No chance,” the first-year Jacksonville Jaguars answered at a Wednesday news conference. “I’m here and committed to try to build an organization.”)

It’s fair to wonder where USC’s pertinent decision makers will draw the line on the integrity issue. Penn State’s James Franklin came under fire for his handling of a 2014 sexual assault case involving players he coached at Vanderbilt. Does that situation rise to a level of concern that would worry the president’s office?

There are questions about whether Fickell would want to trade the Midwest, where he’s spent his entire career, for Southern California. Or whether he’d trade Cincinnati for anywhere. His wife, Amy, was asked by the Athletic in August about Fickell turning down the coaching job at Michigan State.

“When your family is happy and it’s a good place, why would you leave?” she said.

Cincinnati is also on its way to the Big 12, where Fickell could turn the Bearcats into regular conference contenders.

If Bohn and Sosna have confidence that Fickell’s success could translate at USC, they’ll undoubtedly pursue him. But there will be plenty more candidates that receive consideration, too. And plenty more time to talk about them.

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