As the 2017 USC Trojans football season approaches, the coaching staff is busy putting together their game plan for what will hopefully be a successful season. USC will have 9 out of 10 coaches returning this season—great news for a team that has experienced an overwhelming amount of turnover the last couple of years. Let’s take a look at some of the key coaches and what they may have in store for this year.
Clay Helton: It all starts at the top with the head coach. After coming off of a Rose Bowl win last season, expectations for what Helton can help the Trojan players achieve this year are certainly high. On the first day of spring practice Helton said, “Even though [the Rose Bowl win] was great memories, an unbelievable time, it’s our time to go try to win Pac-12 championships and national championships. That’s what SC is about.” While many fans are gearing up for a potential run at the playoffs and a national title, Helton’s success this year will undoubtedly be measured by a Pac-12 Championship win. Helton has also said that he will really be focusing on the offense, especially developing the newer additions to the offensive line.
Tee Martin: Next up is the offensive coordinator. Martin shares a large part of the play calling responsibilities, and he will be watching a lot of game tape this offseason to prepare. His laid back demeanor combined with his emphasis on camaraderie and chemistry between players is what makes him an effective and likable coach. For this season, he will be focusing on developing the younger wide receivers as well as paying close attention to how the offensive line protects the quarterback. He is specifically excited to be working with receivers Tyler Vaughns and Josh Imatorbhebhe. Martin loves that quarterback Sam Darnold is a quick thinker, and Martin’s goal this season is to call plays that, “put him in a positive situation for positive outcomes.”
Clancy Pendergast: This defensive coordinator has really helped the USC defense step up their game in the last year. He has brought experience to a youthful group of players, as well as an aggressive mentality. Former cornerback Adoree Jackson said last year regarding Pendergast’s coaching style, “"He's on us tough, and I think we appreciate that more, he's out there yelling at people no matter if you're the best player out there or the worst player out on the field. That's what people like the most, he's gonna give you the opportunity to shine.” This season, Pendergast is stressing consistency, while also helping some of the newer players like John Houston Jr. make an impact this season.
Deland McCullough: Last but not least, we have the newest addition to the USC coaching staff, running back coach Deland McCullough. He coached both Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard at Indiana, and both have done well so far in the NFL. Helton has said that the players training with McCullough, who loves to really focus on the details, have already shown tremendous growth. Star running back Ronald Jones II has said that McCullough is a great teacher. This season, McCullough is hoping to work on footwork, placement, and most importantly, ball security. He is already enjoying working with Jones II because he loves tough guys with a great attitude.