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USC Football

Tuesday's Three Thoughts

September 23, 2019

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Just wasn’t meant to be.

Losing your starting quarterback in the first game of the season is never a good sign of things to come...Unless you’re Clay Helton and the back up’s name is Kedon “Freaking” Slovis.  However,  being relegated to your third string quarterback by game four of the season is THE sign things just wern’t meant to be.  With so much riding on the season, Clay Helton could not have asked for a worse possible situation to be in.  I’m pretty sure when Helton said we want to master situational football, this was not what he had in mind.

The writing was on the wall.   Your biggest supporter left you at the alter twisting in the wind while your new boss is chosen, and it’s all being streamed live like one of those reality TV shows you’ve seen on the various cable channels which brings the world Honey Boo Boo..  And then after a huge win, a game which was circled as part of a 3-game stretch litmus test, your top recruit and ring bearer decided to write you a Dear John letter saying he still loves you, but...

Recruiting was already under the microscope after last year’s finish and once the receruiting dips this low, unless Clay can pull a rabbit out of the hat and win the rest of his games...and win big, the inevitable will happen.  If Coach Helton were a cat, he’d be on his 8th life and No. 9 is knocking on heaven’s door.

Why are so many west coast recruits leaving the region?

This is more than just USC underwhelming the masses.  Chip Kelly is the wonderkid over at UCLA and he’s like spermicicde to the local and state talent pool. 

Herm Edwards and Kevin Sumlin can’t keep the home grown talent in Arizona and the 2020 class from the copper state is loaded with such names Bijan Robinson and Kellee Ringo just to name a couple. 

The state of Washington’s top end talent is leaving the region too. 

So what’s the deal?  Is it as simple as the best out west wanting to take their talents to the SEC, BIG10, and ACC...the three conferences who have been winning the trophies and getting all the accolades and exposure?  Are they noticing who gets the drafted higher?  Let’s not kid ourselves, the vast majority of the top end talent aren’t going to Clemson or Alabama, or Ohio play school.   Or are there other nefarious acts of kindness being overlooked, err...outbid?

Recruiting has always been a dirty, cut throat , vicious, kick the other guy in the biscuits tyoe of game, however, the last few years or so, it’s been taken to new levels.  7 on 7 passing league teams are now the official breeding grounds for college recruiters.   You have local high school coaches receiving free trips so they’ll bring their best talent to Clemson or Tuscaloosa or Columbus on unofficial visits...and these same coaches are encouraging the recruits to go play elsewhere on bigger stages.  It’s all about marketing and branding...and I’m not just talking about the recruits! 

Then you have the fans who use social media to let their favorite recruits know why they should or should not choose a school...or fly banners promoting your school.   I’m not sure how much influence a fanbase has on a recruit’s decision, however, the constant negative drone from Cyberland doesn’t help.  Imagine being the coach and  trying to recruit to USC with friends and family members working against you, hoping for a new head coach to replace you.  It’s one thing to have the competition negative recruit against you, however, it’s a completely different thing when your own “family” does it to you.  Who needs enemies with friends like that?

Watching Matt Fink’s post game interview.

I’m not ashamed to say it, I actually teared up a little bit watching Fink on the biggest stage of his young career.  No, not during the actual game...after.  Like way after...the next day after.   I DVR’d the game and the post game show that followed; It punctuated the perfect feel good story ending.

Here was a guy who just a few hours earlier was holding a clip board, and by games end, Fink, was directing the band with the Victory Sword following his dream like performance leading the Trojans to a win over the No. 10 Utah Utes. 

Seated comfortably in the middle seat between two Trojan Heisman Tropy winners, Reggie Bush & Matt Leinart and getting a fist bump from Urban Meyer, Matt Fink, was given the chance to acknowledge his accomplishment, even if it had not quite sunk in yet.   All Fink wanted to do was shift the focus to his teammates...his special band of brothers.  Matt is an emotional guy and so am I, so it touched my heart to see the young man get to experience what many thought he wasn’t capable of.   The glazed look in his eyes as he struggled to find the right words and looking forward to calling his girlfriend.  

The dude even impressed Urban Meyer!  Meyer was so overtaken by Matt’s emotion and determination, all he could do was gather himself and blurt out,  “that was freaking awesome!” 

Was Urban looking at his future quarterback when he gave Fink the fist bump?    Oh c’mon...You were all thinking the same thing too.   LOL!!


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