Not the War Room . . . but our Weekend Notebook

The weekend before it's back-to-football time Tuesday, we open our USC notebook. Lots of changes from a year ago when Max Browne and Sam Darnold were getting ready for last year's spring game.

No War Room today. Not a problem as our team gets back from our sick beds. We've got some notebook stuff we can get out as we wait Tuesday's start of spring football. Here we go.

*** Ellis? Ellis? The name was familiar, we thought.

We'd heard USC was getting more than one new football staffer along with Deland McCullough, the home run hire out of Indiana to replace Tommie Robinson as running backs coach. And so it appears the Trojans are doing just that.

How about Bryan Ellis? Indeed. Check out the former Western Kentucky passing game coordinator's twitter page and there he is, accepting congrats for his new job at USC with a USC-themed home page.

The former UAB quarterback for then head coach Neil Callaway, now USC's offensive line coach, will be quality control coach for the USC offense working with Tee Martin and Tyson Helton, the man he succeeded at WKU this past year after coming into Western as a quality control coach and then passing game coordinator, wide receivers and running backs coach there.

And succeeded Tyson really well, we might say.

Not only was the Georgia native part of the cutting edge offense Jeff Brohm, now head coach at Purdue, had been running as the nation's No. 2 scoring outfit this past season, Ellis also had his own chance after Brohm's December departure to call the plays in WKU's Boca Raton Bowl game after Brohm had left. Ellis was named to that spot by interim coach Nick Holt, the former USC assistant, for the Hilltoppers' 51-31 romp over Memphis.

Although there's been no announcement from USC yet, heck they haven't announced McCullough so there's that, but Ellis will be working at a job they have at places like Alabama and even WKU and on all the NFL teams but USC? Check out the roster of USC's football staff for 2016 and there's no "quality control coach" -- offense or defense -- anywhere in sight.

So this in so many ways seems like a really good move for Clay Helton and Co.

*** NOT SUCH A GOOD MOVE: With spring ball opening Tuesday, what seems a bit inexplicable has been the unavailability for any media interviews by Clay except for his National Signing Day appearance. It's been more than two months since the Rose Bowl and Clay is becoming the best thing USC football has going for itself right now -- Sam Darnold excepted. Not sure why they're turning down all interview requests from folks wanting to do spring previews but it looks like we'll have to wait until after Tuesday's practice to catch up with Clay.

*** ON AND OFF THE NEW ROSTER: Hearing that when the new spring football roster is published, hopefully today, Matt Boermeester, Kevin Scott and E.J. Price will not be on it. Olajuwon Tucker will be. Probably not a bad idea to get that out as soon as possible. The one on right now as we type this has Max Browne and JuJu Smith-Schuster, among many others from 2016, still there.

*** NOT A SURPRISE: That USC will be playing Notre Dame under the lights Oct. 21 in South Bend is no longer a surprise. For the fourth straight time, NBC has the game kicking off late -- 7:30 South Bend time. The good news is that you get all day to catch up with your friends -- Notre Dame and USC alike -- on what is often the last nice weekend in Northern Indiana. The bad news is that can make for some iffy weather as the game gets late and a very short night for those heading home to California on Sunday. Also not a surprise that Notre Dame will have a bye the week before a bye-less USC hits Leprechaun-land a week after two straight weeks at home against Oregon State and Utah.

*** AND AWAY WE GO: If you've been wondering what's been going on in the Todd McNair lawsuit against the NCAA, well nothing much except -- as we've become accustomed to -- waiting. Turns out after the California Appeals Court reinstated Judge Frederick Shaller on the case after the NCAA tried to knock him out on a technicality, the NCAA had 60 to 90 days to appeal that decision to the California Supreme Court if they so chose. Turns out the NCAA chose not to. What we understand now is that Judge Shaller will have a conference as soon as this next week to possibly set a trial date and get everything in place for what should be a most interesting number of months of discovery and depositions by McNair''s attorneys of NCAA people who we're guessing will have real trouble remembering much of anything. Can't blame them. Would you want to recall what was done to USC and McNair in this episode of NCAA jurisprudence?

*** TERRIFIC IDEA: Got this at our appearance Thursday down in Vista at the USC Football Fanatics luncheon from a Trojan with lots of legal smarts looking down the road at the McNair case and trying to figure out how USC can make this work for it after staying away all these years. What if, he wondered in a proposal he has communicated to the powers-that-be at USC, USC worked hard to get an understanding with the NCAA that based on what comes out in the McNair case -- either the trial or a settlement -- USC gets the NCAA to agree that if a favorable settlement or verdict goes McNair's way, USC would not use that in any sort of action to recover monetary damages from the NCAA that would seem to be clearly provable? But USC gets the NCAA, in exchange for that agreement, to remove all the damage it did to USC in the record book, restore all the wins, get rid of all the media guide asterisks and make a definitive public move to the BCS and Heisman Trust with the purpose of reinstating USC's 2005 title and Reggie Bush's Heisman since the underlying premise for those actions was based, the NCAA would admit, on false evidence, false statements and the complete failure to adhere to its own bylaws and procedures. We like it. The NCAA owes USC -- an apology at the very least. And since this is almost always an ego trip and virtue-signalling moment for the likes of NCAA Pres. Mark Emmert, and since it wouldn't cost him any money, why not get ahead of this and act like the good guy in this deal since Emmert came along right after the NCAA's dirty USC dealings occurred and could say "It wasn't me."

You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at

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