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With Job on the Line, Clay Helton Shakes Up Offense

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In related news, USC has fired offensive line coach Neil Callaway.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Southern California Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

A significant cohort of Trojans are surprised that Clay Helton has kept his job following an embarrassing 38-35 loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils. USC is now 4-4.

USC has never been .500 or worse entering November in over a decade.

USC is trending toward its lowest attendance rate in over three decades.

There were smatterings of calls for Helton’s job during USC’s loss to Arizona State.

A sizeable contingent of fans left the Arizona State game at halftime.

USC only leads UCLA in scoring in the Pac-12 South.

USC’s season, and Helton’s job security, are in peril entering the stretch run this season. In response to the pressure, Helton will take play-calling responsibilities from Tee Martin, and offensive line coach Neil Callaway has been fired.

This is curious because the Trojans unveiled their first trick plays of the season against Arizona State: a backward pass trick play and a flea flicker. More interestingly, the Trojans lined up for a game tying field goal late in the fourth, called timeout, and chose to run on fourth and one to continue a drive on the Arizona State 20. That run was stuffed inches from the down marker.

NCAA Football: Southern California Spring Practice Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Notably, Clay Helton meets with USC AD Lynn Swann every Monday. Helton taking over the play-calling responsibilities of Tee Martin may be a last grasp for Helton to show Swann that he is really worth the job.

The Trojan offensive line has played offensively both this season and last. With three talented runningbacks in Aca’Cedric Ware, Stephen Carr, and Vavae Malepeai, the Trojans should be dominant on the ground.

They are not.

Despite Helton’s close friendship with Callaway, Neil Callaway was simply not getting the job done with four and five star recruits.