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USC Football 2015: Notes from Clay Helton and Pat Haden Press Conferences

Interim USC Head football coach Clay Helton and embattled Athletic Director Pat Haden held a press conference

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Clay Helton generally said the right things in his comments today; here are some of the paraphrased highlights:

I am not one that kicks a man when he's down, it's my job to get the football team ready to play against Notre Dame

I am extremely appreciative of Haden and Nikias given to me of this opportunity

My goal as a staff to coach as hard as we can,

We are educators we educate men, not only to be young men but to also be student athletes

I will never forget as long as i live, Pat Haden introducing me to to this team and the ovation the players gave
both these groups of men, the staff and the players want to do the Trojan family proud

We are excited about the opportunities ahead of us, 1) to play in one of the greatest opportunities in college football 2) to compete for a pac-12 championship
I greatly appreciate the support of our fans and our families

Staff Changes: Tuiasosopo takes over QBs, Lenny Vandermade Taking over TEs completely, Helton retaining OC duties

Injuries: Max Tuerk torn ACL, Pelon will miss ND, Mitchell is most probably out with ankle, Darreus looks promising for ND, Biggie Marshall is fine

ND: extremely excited to have the chance to go to ND, commend coach kelly and his staff for handling the injuries. Tremendous challenge ahead of us.

A lot of these guys, fortunately or unfortunately have been through this before.
You have to be yourself, you have to coach it your own way

I'm gonna make mistakes

I've learned a lot from every coach i've been associated with, one of the things I learned from Coach O was bringing them together as a family. Also the techniques and fundamentals.

Iron sharpens Iron another man sharpens another

I want to be the head coach, I also know the reality of the situation. You have to win games. My ultimate goal in life is to be a head football coach.

Pat Haden: Haden generally seemed to be either arguing for his job and/or reaffirming the job he's done as the Athletic Director. Frankly though, regardless of his accomplishments throughout the entire department, and in fairness they have been many, the fact that he hired Sarkisian will always hang around his neck.Here are a few paraphrases from Pat Haden

Past few days have been challenging as you imagine, it was very difficult to terminate Steve Sarkisian
it was also very difficult for our players

I talked to them on Sunday and today as well, I talked to Steve on sunday and determined he was not healthy
over the next 24 hours i was able to look into the situation, steve's conduct did not make USC's expectations of a head coach I will not get into specifics

I know some in this room felt that he should have been suspended/fired after Salute to Troy

It was determined that he could continue coaching while seeking treatment

I have a great deal of compassion, he deserved another chance. I had a private detailed conversation with Steve. He has violated agreed up expectations from that conversation. In regards to media reports. I investigated all credible reports. In our hiring process, we used a respected national search firm that screened all of our candidates. Steve had both NCAA and USC background checks done. They talked to many people, from the past. None raised a concern.

Steve was never disciplined at the university of washington. Steve was at USC for 1.5 years without incident. At the time I believed he was the right fit. As we sit here today I own that it did not work out.

I could not reach Steve personally, I sent a termination letter to his agent because a statement had been made. Steve Sarkisian is a good person. He has my support, our support.

Really impressed by the receptions he got. Clay and his staff are very capable. It's a great opportunity to them. Going forward in regards to our coaching search, we won't talk about candidates or a time table.

I love USC. This job means a lot to me. I know there are a lot of people questioning my leadership. We have successfully navigated severe sanctions. despite those sanctions only 2 schools have won more games. 3 only one other school has won more national championships. just had the best academic year in the history of the university.

I will work very very hard to get USC football back where it's supposed to be.

I still hope to talk to Steve, i tried for ours. Finally got a hold of his brother in law. I didn't want to do it any other way. I had to make the decision.

We have a protocol of doing background searches. The university doesn't do public record search. if they were public record, they were endorsed by the university by the.

I won't talk about HR issues.

You can disagree with the vetting, but he was vetted.

Have we gotten everything right? Absolutely not. I said I owned it right? We sit in rooms and we make decisions and you get them right a lot of times this is an inexact science. A lot of people get it wrong, it's not an excuse. I've owned it.

A guy that can win every game every year by 37 points.

We want a guy who can embrace trying to win Pac-12 championships and national championships, can continue the elevation of our academics, is going to play by the rules and is going to be embraced by the Trojan Family.

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