USC vs. Oregon State Preview: The Dam is Broken

BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 27: Head coach Jonathan Smith of the Oregon State Beavers walks the sideline during a game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on October 27, 2018 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 27: Head coach Jonathan Smith of the Oregon State Beavers walks the sideline during a game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on October 27, 2018 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Hopes of ending a two-game losing streak are on the line in this year’s USC vs. Oregon State game as the Trojans head north to Corvallis.

No More No Pads November. PRACTICE NOTES

I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t write another article until someone got fired. I guess Clay Helton really appreciates my previews because on Monday, things happened.

It honestly feels like shuffling chairs on the Titanic at this point, but it was still surprising to see Helton actually make a positive change and fire a coach on his staff. It was something a lot of fans didn’t think he was capable of doing.

Earlier this year, I predicted that Helton’s loyalty to his coaching staff would eventually lead to him getting fired. I was wrong. He’s tossing them off overboard in an attempt to keep the ship of his afloat.

SEE MORE: Helton explains playcalling takeover

It’s a shame it took four losses to see these changes, but it’s better than nothing.

Neil Callaway will not be missed. Clay Helton considered him his second father so it’s not the first time a USC head coach has had to fire family in an attempt to save his job.

Tee Martin’s playcalling will not be missed. In fact, are we sure he’s still coaching at USC? Because he’s acting like he’s already been let go.

Talk about a mature response to a demotion. I’m sure he’ll be putting in a full effort for the last four weeks of the season. He’s going to be lazier than a high school senior in his second semester.

I think a lot of this mess could have been avoided if Martin wasn’t promoted to offensive coordinator in the first place. But Clay Helton had to keep him for his recruiting skills, like a scholarship to USC doesn’t sell itself.

With Sam Darnold, the offense struggled at times and now, it’s just an outright mess. A majority of the blame can go to Martin. I mean, he is so incompetent he couldn’t even get an interview for the head coach opening at his alma mater.

Maybe Tennessee knew what USC didn’t: that he wasn’t even qualified for his current job.

He should have stayed a wide receiver coach. That has to be the easiest position to coach, right? If they know how to run and catch, what is left to teach? There’s a reason so many NFL star receivers come in the late rounds. It doesn’t seem like a skill that can be taught.

You know how fans talk about how great a recruiter Tee Martin is? USC’s recruiting rankings didn’t take much of a hit when Coach O left, did they?

Now there is someone the Trojans really miss. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Yes, I know who they play this week. Just imagine how some USC fans will feel if Coach O pulls off that upset against Alabama. There will be enough crow to recreate an Albert Hitchcock film.

Anyway, let’s preview this game. Disclaimer: 4-4 teams don’t get 2,000-word previews. They get some angry ranting with a score prediction at the end.

I don’t know anything about Oregon State. I don’t even know who their coach is. Is it still Mike Riley? No? I’m literally doing the Google search as I type this. His name is Jonathan Smith.

At least I have some excuse to forget maybe the most vanilla name I’ve ever heard in my life. That’s the default name of any video game create-a-player.

To be honest, that will be as much research as I will do on the Beavers for this article. In my defense, it is about the same amount of effort I’ve done for them in past years. There are the black sheep of the Pac-12. Unless they beat USC this week… Losing to Herm Edwards and Oregon State? There’s no coming back from that, Clay.

INJURY REPORT: JT Daniels, Cameron Smith return to practice

Quarterback JT Daniels is set to return after sitting out last week with a concussion. For some reason, I’m a little disappointed. I liked the way the offense looked when Jack Sears was running it. That may be because every time a new quarterback took the field, Martin called completely different plays. It’s like each quarterback had an offense tailored to him, and the one tailored to Sears was at the very least watchable.

Maybe with Helton calling the offense, every play call for Daniels won’t just be some sort of variation of “Da Bomb.”

On the defensive side, it looks like both Cameron Smith and Marvell Tell are set to return, although I wouldn’t hold it against them if they hung up the pads for the rest of the year. After seeing what happened to Porter Gustin, they should both be making the best business decisions to avoid their draft stock dropping due to more wear and tear.

The defense lost another starter with Talanoa Hufanga breaking his collarbone last week. The secondary is in dire straits. If there was ever a time for Iman Marshall to switch to safety, it’s now.


As sad as it may seem, I actually have some confidence in Helton’s ability to call plays. He, at least, has prior experience as an offensive coordinator. Will the offense look brand new? No, but at least it will be a lot better than some previous weeks. That will be necessary to win since injuries on the other side of the ball have turned the once-stalwart defense into Swiss cheese. Stale Swiss cheese.

This game might be a burn burner, which could be fun. Despite the loss last week, I thought it was one of most exciting game of the season. Some games this year were literally painful to watch, but last week the team played decently. It was just some coaching the decisions that eventually doomed the Trojans.

CHECK OUT: USC’s continuous frustrations stood out in loss to ASU

Last week, Colorado was favored by 28 points against the Beavers, and blew a 28-point lead in the second half, eventually losing in overtime.

USC is favored by 14 this week. If there’s anything the Trojans love to do it is not cover and blow leads in the second half. Given Oregon State’s previous performance, both of those are on the table this Saturday.

If Clay Helton loses this game, save your LAX tarmac jokes because the Trojans shouldn’t even let him get on the plane in PDX.

Key To The Game: Kick a field goal when you’re down three!

USC 35, Oregon State 31