Report: Clay Helton has support of new USC AD, president

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“With win over rival UCLA, No. 23 USC keeps Pac-12 South hopes alive — and saves Clay Helton’s job?”

That was the question our headline from Saturday evening asked when it comes to the future of Helton at USC.  Helton entered the 2019 campaign squarely on the hot seat, then proceeded to crank up the temperature even further with a 3-3 start to the season.  Since then, however, the Trojans have gone 5-1 — the lone loss was to No. 7 Oregon — to take it from a near-certainty that the coach is canned to the very real possibility that he’s saved his job — or is at least on the verge of saving.

Helton’s fate will, in part, be decided by a pair of individuals new to the university in Carol Folt, hired as president in March, and Mike Bohn, brought on as the next athletic director earlier this month.  And, according to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, Helton has received “a lot of support” from both Bohn and Folt, although other factions who are anti-Helton make the path for a return in 2020 not entirely clear.

From 247Sports.com‘s transcription of Feldman’s Monday radio interview:

The biggest job out there and it’s also the most entangled is the one that’s happening at USC, I mean, from what I’ve been told … is just there’s a lot of support from the new AD Mike Bohn, as well as president Carol Folt, for Clay Helton,” Feldman said. “They’re very comfortable with him, but there is going to be a lot of push back from some very influential USC people about, ‘Hey, we’re done with Clay Helton. We like him as a guy, we just don’t think he can really get it going here and get it done.’ And they’re 8-4 and he actually did a good job of getting to 8-4, given all the injuries, third-string quarterback … but that’s the one that could create some dominoes, if USC does, in fact, open up.

USC’s regular season has come to an end, with the Trojans sitting at 7-2 in Pac-12 play.  Utah currently leads the South Division at 7-1, but will face Colorado at home in Week 14.  If the Utes lose, it would be the Trojans who would face Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game by virtue of their head-to-head win over Utah in September.

Helton is in his fourth full season with the Trojans after going 5-4 as the interim head coach in 2015.  In those first three seasons, the Trojans went 10-3, 11-3 and 5-7; they’re now 8-4 thus this season, giving Helton an overall record of 40-21, with a 31-12 mark in conference play.

Miami fires offensive coordinator Josh Gattis after 1 season

josh gattis fired
Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami fired offensive coordinator Josh Gattis on Friday, ending the former Broyles Award winner’s time with the Hurricanes after only one season.

The school announced the move in a one-sentence press release, with no other detail: “Josh Gattis has been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator, Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal announced Friday,” read the release, sent from a university spokesman.

The Hurricanes went 5-7 in Gattis’ lone season. He was brought in by Miami only a few weeks after winning the 2021 Broyles Award – given to the nation’s top assistant coach – while serving as Michigan’s offensive coordinator and helping the Wolverines reach the College Football Playoff.

But Miami’s offense, for a number of reasons, failed to meet expectations in 2022. Part of that was injuries; starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke battled a shoulder injury, and the Hurricanes turned to Jake Garcia – who has since transferred – and Jacurri Brown for much of the season.

Miami scored 100 points in its first two games last fall, overpowering Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss. The Hurricanes averaged only 18.3 points the rest of the way, and finished the year 5-0 in games where the defense allowed no more than 14 points – but 0-7 when opponents scored more than 14.

Miami was 86th nationally in total offense last season, averaging 367.1 yards per game, and 97th in scoring offense.

Gattis played at Wake Forest and worked at North Carolina, Western Michigan, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Alabama and Michigan before coming to Miami.

Audit: LSU discovered $1M overpayment to Kelly in 2022

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU accidentally overpaid Tigers football coach Brian Kelly by $1 million during the first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, but discovered the error and has moved to correct it, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office said Wednesday.

Kelly was overpaid $1,001,368 in supplemental payments in 2022 because duplicate payments made both to Kelly’s LLC and to the coach directly.

The double payments began in May and continued until LSU officials detected the errors in November.

“LSU management and the head football coach have enacted an adjusted payment schedule so the amount of overpayment will be recouped by the conclusion of fiscal year 2023,” the Legislative Auditor’s report stated.

Kelly, who previously coached at Notre Dame for 12 seasons, was hired by LSU after the 2021 season, when the Tigers went 6-7 for its first losing season since 1999.

LSU exceeded expectations in Kelly’s first season in Baton Rouge, winning the SEC West Division and finishing 10-4 after a 63-7 victory over Purdue in the Citrus Bowl.