Just Sayin' . . . Time to talk

Getting ready for spring, for the tournament and the NFL

Getting to know the new coaches, getting to see whether the Trojans basketball team can stop the slide with tournament time approaching and getting ready for spring football in 16 days while watching the NFL Combine. A lot to talk about this week.

*** Have to say a visit to the McKay Center these days is a trip back to a time when there really was a Trojan family atmosphere among the staff and a welcoming, open feel for visitors. That's something that's been missing the last couple of years when it was a walled-off place. And rightly so, we now know, to keep out prying eyes. . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Hearing the stories of how the former USC coaches got together to get back here when Clay was named says something good about this place. And it's all you hear from the returnees. This is the place they wanted to be and the place they never wanted to leave -- even for places like Texas and Michigan. . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Thought Neil Callaway's answer about his boss, Clay Helton, that he's "as good a person as there is in the country" with an emphasis on "person" tells us one big reason why Clay was named right after the UCLA win. USC had to have a "good person" in the university's highest profile position right now. . . . Just Sayin'.

*** As we talk to the offensive coaches, if it sounds like USC is starting over on the playbook, building up from Ground Zero, that's what's happening. Some of it will look familiar. Some of it will look like years back. Some of it we haven't seen. Mostly it will be about what works. Start over every week and attack where you can be successful with your personnel but from a basic set of what you do well. . . . Just Sayin'.

*** But that only works when you do it right in the spring, summer and day after day in the fall so that when it's game time, as Coach Callaway said, you play "with confidence, not anxiety." And as much as he won't talk about the past, that just explained things a bit when too often it seemed more "anxiety" than "confidence." . . . Just Sayin'.

*** The way we see this going is to an offense in many ways much more simple and basic, from terminology to the way it's blocked, and yet one they aim to make much more complex to defend because of its versatility. . . . Just Sayin'.

*** So now the NFL Combine lasts as long as Super Bowl week -- today through next Monday. Check it out here. Good thing it's not snowing in Indy. Only the NFL could pull this off. . . . Just Sayin'.

*** And as much as the Combine says about programs (Alabama and Florida State each had the most invites two of the last four years while Ohio State's 14 lead the way this year), it's not all about the big-time programs acting big-time here. . . . Just Sayin'.

*** That's because as the NFL.com ponts out, Southern Utah and Utah State, with three invitees each, have as many by themselves as Michigan (with two) and Texas (just one) combined. So USC with seven shouldn't feel so bad. . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Another weird stat -- the Big Ten, where quarterbacks mostly go to die, has five quarterbacks (out of a total of 18) invited to the Combine. Not sure what that says. . . . Just Sayin'.

*** USC folks should have a pretty decent take when the draft finally comes around since five of the Top 10 in Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 selections played against the Trojans in their careers -- Cal's Jared Goff, UCLA's Myles Jack, Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith and Ronnie Stanley and Oregon's DeForest Buckner. . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Good to see that USC's Su'a Cravens at least made the list at No. 49 as a player with two position possibilities . . . Jeremiah says Su'a "isn't ultra-twitched-up . . . very athletic, instinctive and productive . . . very slippery to work around blockers . . . excellent snap anticipation . . . at times gets swallowed up at the point of attack . . . very effective covering tight ends . . . physical to re-route and fast enough to carry them down the seam . . . has starter ability as a box safety or 3-4 WILL linebacker.". . . Just Sayin'.

*** Good test this week at Stanford and Cal for this Trojan basketball team that has watched its Bracketology spot slip from a No. 4 seed to a No. 8 the last couple of weeks as it's been slowed down in losses in three of the last four games after a three-game home sweep of the Washington schools and UCLA. Time to find out who it is and how it gets back to winning basketball games. Sure, there are issues. But there are upsides it's allowed opponents to take away. . . . Just Sayin'.

*** USC has also fallen from one of the four first-round Pac-12 tourney byes. Not sure if that's all bad -- a chance for another win when USC might need one. . . . Just Sayin'.

*** What's most disappointing about the basketball team's trend right now is how you'd like to see a young team get better this time of year. So what if the rest of the league starts figuring them out. Time for USC to figure out the rest of the league -- and itself. . . . Just Sayin'.

You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at weber@uscfootball.com.


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