If you’re wondering about the future of Clay Helton then you’ll no longer have to wait.
USC athletic director Lynn Swann announced that head coach Helton will be retained for the 2019 season in a statement released Sunday morning. In his statement Swann states “Clay Helton is our head coach and he will continue to be our head coach.”
If USC was going to make a decision, then it had to make a decision soon and this was ultimately the one it made. This season was a worst case scenario for the Trojans. They went 5-7 with a 4-5 record in the Pac-12 as well as missing out on a bowl game. Not to mention, USC was swept by the California schools in conference for the first time since 1998 and swept by rivals UCLA and Notre Dame.
The biggest complaint with USC has been the coaching, lack of adjustments, and execution. The Trojans weren’t placed in the best of situations this season and in a lot of games were out coached and poorly disciplined . In seven of its losses, USC has given up unanswered scoring runs of 14 points or more after leading. Even during victories, the Trojans has allowed teams to crawl back into games and showed lack of urgency. This season USC looked like a team that just wasn’t prepared and unwilling to make proper adjustments to win games.
Helton through the weeks has continuously stated how he believed that he had the support of Swann. He was right all along. Over the last two weeks, players such as junior wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and freshman quarterback JT Daniels voiced their support of Helton and continuously said how he is not to blame for the Trojans’ poor season. Fans, boosters, and some alumni however don’t see it that way. Many are very unhappy about the decision to keep the head coach following their worst season since 2000.
Swann also stated in his letter about how changes will be made. It will be interesting to see what those changes will be. Helton made changes to the offensive coaching staff after the Arizona State loss by taking over play calling duties and firing offensive line coach Neil Calloway. It’s been mentioned many times on how Clay Helton and USC could follow the mold of Brian Kelly and Notre Dame by making key changes to the coaching staff and the culture of his program. The key question for Helton is that will he been willing to make those drastic changes to improve USC football? He may not have a choice at this rate.
USC has a chance at improving next season with Daniels being able to go through Spring practice, most of the offense coming back, and key players on the defensive side of the ball returning from injury. Not to mention that USC could possibly have another Top 10 recruiting class coming in, however in order for that to happen, coaching has to improve and it starts with Helton. Will he make the necessary changes to rebound from this season? That remains to be seen, but what we do know is that Helton is here to stay for next season.