USC football QB coach Bryan Ellis reportedly set to join new WKU staff

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC football quarterbacks coach Bryan Ellis is expected to join Tyson Helton’s new staff at Western Kentucky, according to Bruce Feldman.

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The first domino in USC football’s coaching staff renovations may be poised to fall with a report linking quarterbacks coach Bryan Ellis away from the program.

On Monday afternoon, Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports and The Athletic reported that Ellis “is expected” to return to Western Kentucky to take over offensive coordinator duties.

The Hilltoppers parted ways with head coach Mike Sanford on Sunday and, according to reports, are on the brink of hiring former USC assistant and Tennessee offensive coordinator Tyson Helton as head coach.

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The brother of USC head coach Clay Helton, Tyson brought Ellis to USC as an offensive quality control assistant in 2017. Ellis had served as WKU’s running backs and wide receivers coach in his two years on the staff. He also took over playcalling duties for the Boca Raton Bowl in 2016, putting up 600 yards of offense in a 51-31 win over Memphis.

When Tyson Helton left the Trojans last year to become Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, Clay Helton promoted Ellis to quarterbacks coach for the 2018.

Ellis had a difficult task in his first year as a QB coach, responsible for shepherding true freshman JT Daniels through his debut season. Results weren’t exactly stellar though. Daniels completed just 59.5 percent of his passes while tossing 14 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. His passer rating of 128.55 was the lowest for a starter at USC since 2001, skimming a few points below Matt Barkley’s true freshman mark of 131.32.

If Ellis does indeed leave for Western Kentucky, Helton and USC will have another spot to fill on an staff which could see further departures.

Offensive line coach Neil Callaway was dismissed midseason while offensive coordinator Tee Martin’s status is unknown after he was demoted from playcalling duties at the same time.

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Though athletic director Lynn Swann opted to bring Helton back after a difficult 5-7 season, he did so while acknowledging the need for changes across the board, including the staff.