USC will reportedly keep head coach Clay Helton through 2020, and it might be okay.
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So Clay Helton is staying after all?
USC fans … it’s going to be okay.
According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, USC athletic director Mike Bohn has informed the program that Helton will still be the head coach … at least through 2020.
Here’s the one negative above all else that USC fans won’t be able to get past …
Helton isn’t Urban Meyer.
True or not, fair or not, myth or not, USC would’ve been 11-1 next year with Meyer as the head man – at least that’s how the Trojan fan base seemed to be building up what might have been.
Meyer was the instant national championship fix. He comes in, and the recruiting class instantly gets into top ten territory, and the expectation is for a national championship within the next three seasons. That’s how good that guy is.
Helton isn’t James Franklin, either.
Someone of that caliber would’ve been seen as a decent consolation prize if USC didn’t get Meyer. Even though USC beat Penn State in the Rose Bowl, and even though he’s only two years removed from a Pac-12 championship, Helton isn’t necessarily seen as one of the elite-level guys.
And he never has been, at least by the USC fan base.
Helton took over right after the Steve Sarkisian experience was over, and in his first two full seasons at the helm went 21-6 with that Rose Bowl and that Pac-12 title. However, he went 5-7 in 2018, and a lackluster 8-4 this season.
To be very, very fair, 2018 was supposed to be a total rebuild of a season, but at USC, there’s no such thing as a 5-7 rebuild. A rebuild is supposed to be more in the 10-2 range, and under Helton, USC has never lost fewer than three games in his 4.5 season at the helm.
And to also be very, very fair, he lost his starting quarterback this season and ended up with a guy who turned out to be amazing, but was fourth-is on the depth chart in the offseason.
Going forward, to be very, very fair, Kedon Slovis is just a freshman.
There are no seniors among the top six rushers, Michael Pittman is the only senior among the top 13 receivers, and 12 of the top 13 tacklers this year were underclassmen.
Of course USC will lose some parts of the puzzle, but this is a very young, very promising team returning.
And now Helton will get a year with this team – his team – so show what he can really do.
Does this mean USC couldn’t get Urban? That remains to be seen – he seems like a mortal lock to be the next head coach at Dallas or Cleveland – but this also speaks to how much everyone around the program likes Helton.
How do you know Helton is a good guy that people want to work with? He was still the head coach at USC after going 5-7 last year.
Now for the problem. Welcome to the 2020 USC football schedule.
Everything kicks off against Alabama, and the Notre Dame game comes in late September.
USC has to go on the road to face Oregon, Utah and Stanford, and it has to deal with Washington and Arizona State at home.
In a 2020 is half full sort of way, though, the Notre Dame game is in LA, and who knows what the configuration of the Crimson Tide will be to start out next year.
And then there’s the other big concern – the recruiting class had better pick up, and fast.
USC isn’t even on the map yet for the 2020 class thanks to all of the uncertainty, and that’s coming off a mediocre class – at least by the top ten standards the program should be at.
But again, there’s reason to be excited no matter who the head man is. The Trojans won five of their last six, trounced UCLA to close out the regular season, and only lose to an Oregon team that flipped the switch to on for a game.
Again, it’s a young team, there’s a whole lot of promise, and … and …
Yeah, Urban Meyer isn’t the next head coach of the USC Trojans.