USC football roundup: No strength coach? No problem for some

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

USC football doesn’t have a permanent strength and conditioning coach yet, but that doesn’t seem to be holding back Isaac Taylor-Stuart and Amon-Ra St. Brown.

MORE. Five Big Spring Camp Battles

USC football lost strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis to the Seattle Seahawks at the beginning of January and they have yet to replace him, letting assistant strength coach Keith Belton run winter workouts.

With just a week until Spring Camp begins, there is some concern about the delay in head coach Clay Helton finding a new S&C coordinator. After all, the 2019 season now seems make or break.

MORE: Helton lays out strength coach criteria

On Tuesday, redshirt freshman cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart posted a picture on Twitter which may ease some of the questions over whether the Trojans are keeping up with offseason workouts.

“Yuh know we on that different Food Train. This Offseason is a different mentality. #SwoleBroChallenge #EatCrazy #EatDirty,” Taylor-Stuart tweeted.

It certainly looks like Taylor-Stuart and sophomore wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown haven’t skipped out on any time in the weight room this year.

RELATED: Porter Gustin looking to turn heads at the NFL Combine

The mention of a “different Food Train” may strike a cord with some who have questioned USC’s nutrition program over the years as well.

Being “swole” won’t necessarily win any extra games for the Trojans, but it’s still a good sign that the strength and conditioning program hasn’t faltered in the absence of a permanent head.

Beta_Rank predicts seven wins

How many games will USC win in 2019? The advanced stat metric Beta_Rank projects an improvement up to 7.85 wins.

MORE: Ranking the 10 best five-star recruits in USC history

When it comes to win probabilities, the Trojans are favored in games against Fresno State (89.7%), Stanford (68.9%), BYU (80.3%), Arizona (78.5%), Colorado (73.0%), ASU (67.8%), Cal (67.8%) and UCLA (74.5%).

Utah is a push (50.2%) while Washington has a surprisingly narrow advantage (49.7%). Oregon is expected to be similarly tight (48.4%).

Notre Dame is expected to be USC’s most likely loss (35.1%).

The numbers paint a picture of a Trojan team with few easy wins, but also few expected losses.

CHECK OUT: USC was a “once in career opportunity” for Graham Harrell

Prentice Gill leaves for Oregon

Quality control assistant Prentice Gill, who has worked with USC’s wide receivers for the last three years under Tee Martin, is leaving the Trojans for a position with the Oregon Ducks. He confirmed the news in a post on Instagram last Friday.

More from Reign of Troy

Oregon hasn’t confirmed the hiring of Gill and it’s not clear exactly what he will be doing for the Ducks. Head coach Mario Cristobal recently announced the hiring of new wide receivers coach Jovon Bouknight, so it is possible Gill will be an offensive analyst or hold some other role.

Pac-12 addressing officiating problems

The Pac-12 doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to officiating and it wasn’t helped when the conference was embroiled in controversy surrounding targeting calls in the 2018 meeting between USC and Washington State.

At the very least, the Pac-12 is taking a step to address the problem, hiring an outside agency “to conduct an independent review of the its football officiating,” according to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News.

Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson seems to be the one leading the push for such a review, and he had unanimous support from the other 11 ADs in the conference.

SPRING CAMP PREVIEWS: USC’s quarterback battle reopened

A summary of Sibson Consulting’s findings will be made available to the public later this year. That should be interesting to review.