60 days to USC football: Viane Talamaivao is back for the Trojans

RoT Countdown / Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images (Reign of Troy)
RoT Countdown / Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images (Reign of Troy) /

Reign of Troy’s kickoff countdown hits No. 60, a number worn by USC Football great Clay Matthews and new grad assistant Viane Talamaivao.

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Clay Matthews Jr. is not only the greatest Trojan to wear the No. 60, he’s the most undervalued Matthews to wear cardinal and gold.

An All-American linebacker and team captain in 1977, he was a steady force for USC during the height of the John Robinson Era. He registered 195 tackles as an upperclassman alone.

Matthews was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 to cement his legacy following a 19-year NFL career that saw him reach four Pro Bowls. Yet he’s somehow still in the shadow of his younger brother Bruce ⁠—one of the greatest guards in the history of football⁠— and his son Clay III, a six-time Pro Bowler and longtime face of the NFL.

Talk about having some damn good genes.

Aside from Matthews, the two names to remember among Club 60 at USC are Don Clark and Viane Talamaivao. Both wore the number and then went onto coach the Trojans.

Clark was the lone team captain on the 1947 team that lost 49-0 to Michigan in the Rose Bowl. He then worked as a staffer under Jess Hill before being named head coach in 1957, thanks to several players campaigning for him.

READ MORE: Ranking USC’s All-Time Head Coaches

Famously, Clark’s tenure came to an abrupt end two years later after 8-0 USC was upset by Notre Dame and UCLA on back-to-back weeks to end the season. Neither rival was particularly good that year, leading Clark to think the same of himself. He resigned.

More on Talamaivao after the jump.

Who wears it now?

As with Jake Olson in yesterday’s countdown, Talamaivao doesn’t wear the No. 60 anymore. But he’s worth mentioning as a current contributor due to his recent appointment as one of USC’s graduate assistants for the 2019 season.

The move puts him back with Tim Drevno, who coached during his freshman season in 2014. At the time, the Trojans had an impressive-yet-young offensive line featuring three true freshmen. Talamaivao might’ve been the best of the bunch, being a four-year starter at right guard.

Now his coaching career begins with USC’s offensive line in just as much of a transition as it was then. Chuma Edoga, Chris Brown and Toa Lobendahn are gone to the NFL, putting the onus on inexperienced linemen to step up, while veterans like Austin Jackson and Andrew Vorhees look to continue to develop.

Can Talamaivao play a big role in helping Drevno achieve a successful rebuild?

Stats to know: 60

  • All-American No. 60 was Trojan tight end Charles Young on the 1972 national title team.
  • If you think 50-0 over UCLA was a pretty scoreline, check out the 1931 Trojans. They recorded six shutouts, including a 53-0 drubbing of Oregon, a nice 69-0 smashing of Montana and a 60-0 thrashing of previously 8-1 Georgia. Bulldog head coach Harry Mehre called eventual national champ USC the greatest team he’d ever seen. It was fitting, as the blowout still stands Georgia’s most lopsided defeat.
  • Since USC began tracking rushing statistics in 1925, the Trojans have had exactly 60 players amass 1,000 career rushing yards. Only three schools in college football have more: Oklahoma, Ohio State and Nebraska.
  • Don Shafer set a USC record with a 60-yard field goal in the first half of the 1986 Notre Dame game. The historic distance wasn’t enough for the Trojans. They blew a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter to lose, 38-37.

Next. 61 Days to Kickoff