Former USC star Matt Leinart praises Clay Helton on the Seth Davis Show and believes that the first-year Trojans head coach is the right man for the long haul.
The 2016 college football season did not start out very strong for USC.
The Trojans were held to 194 total yards in a 52-6 loss to Alabama—their most lopsided defeat since a 51-0 setback to Notre Dame in 1966. They were embarrassed, and it appeared as if some players had no interest in even finishing the game.
A win against Utah State the next week was followed by back-to-back losses at Stanford and Utah. Suddenly, ‘SC was sitting at 1-3, and rumors started to fly about who would replace first-year head coach Clay Helton in the offseason.
Fast forward a month, and ‘SC has not lost since September 24, as the squad heads into Thursday night’s home game against Cal winners of three in a row.
Former Trojans quarterback Matt Leinart has taken notice, and he believes there is a bright future for Helton and the Trojans.
“I believe he will [have a bright future at ‘SC],” Leinart told the Seth Davis Show. “It’s not a great situation right now, but they are playing so much better. This team loves him. They’ve rallied around him.
“I’m proud of the way Clay Helton has turned this around. People forget that this is his first year as a full-time head coach. You have to give a guy years to build this thing.”
Helton should get praised for keeping his squad together when there could have been an infestation of in-fighting and finger-pointing. Since starting the season 1-3, the Trojans have outscored Arizona State, Colorado and Arizona by a combined 110-51.
After the game against Cal, the Trojans have home dates with Oregon and Notre Dame as well as road tilts against Washington and UCLA. And, if ‘SC can survive and get a little help, a possible Pac-12 title game looms.
No matter what happens the rest of the way, Helton deserves a lot of credit from making sure the Trojan ship did not sink while it was taking on a lot of water early in the season.