USC's Clay Helton takes offensive playcalling duties from Tee Martin

ByAdam Rittenberg ESPN logo
Monday, October 29, 2018

After back-to-back USC losses, embattled coach Clay Helton is going back to his roots, reclaiming the team's offensive playcalling duties.

Helton, who served as USC's offensive coordinator and playcaller from 2013 to 2015 before becoming head coach, announced the change Monday. Offensive coordinator Tee Martin had handled playcalling since 2016. In recent weeks, Helton has become increasingly involved with offensive playcalls, especially in the run game.

"I felt it was an appropriate time to become more involved in the offense as we continue to develop our team for the future," Helton said in a prepared statement. He meets with athletic director Lynn Swann on Mondays.

"Tee and I have had conversations about this decision, and he was supportive," the statement continued. "He has done a tremendous job here. He will stay involved with the offense as he remains the offensive coordinator, helps put together our practice and game plans, and serves as my offensive eyes during games."

USC also announced the firing of offensive line coach Neil Callaway, who had held his post since the 2016 season. Running backs coach Tim Drevno will take over the offensive-line coaching duties, a post he held at USC in 2014.

"I want to thank Neil for all his hard work at USC," Helton said in a statement. "He is an outstanding coach and a great friend. I wish him nothing but the best in the future."

USC is tied for 81st nationally in scoring offense (27.1 PPG), 102nd in total offense (364.1 YPG) and 115th in rushing offense (120.9 YPG).

Helton was asked Sunday whether significant changes were coming after USC slipped to 4-4 with Saturday's home loss to Arizona State, the Trojans' first home defeat under Helton.

"When we get done with these last four games, I'll evaluate everything and see what we need to do," Helton told reporters, "but right now, I'm more focused on trying to beat Oregon State."

Helton is 31-14 at USC. Last fall, he led the Trojans to their first Pac-12 championship in a decade.