I know we don’t have Clay Helton at USC anymore, and I know we’re all excited about the Lincoln Riley era, but the implosion of Nebraska football under Scott Frost is the kind of story which elicits unmistakable parallels with Helton.
The story is too obvious, the connections too strong, to simply ignore.
As USC prepares for a new era and leaves behind the Helton years, it’s worth noting Nebraska’s loss to Northwestern and, beyond it, the way Husker coaches and players reacted to it.
What was seen and heard bore such a strong and overpowering resemblance to the things we would see and hear from the Helton Trojans after USC lost a game.
One quote in particular jumped out at me when I was digesting the postgame scene following the Huskers’ 31-28 loss to Northwestern in Dublin, Ireland. You’ll want to follow Cornhuskers Wire for complete coverage of the game.
Get a look at this quote:
Nebraska safety Marques Buford: “I can’t wait to see where we go from here. We played the worst game we’re going to play all year, and we still only lost by three. That’s pretty scary.” pic.twitter.com/W08LCkvWGg
— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) August 27, 2022
This is such a Clay Helton quote, isn’t it?
A team just suffered a terrible loss, an unacceptable loss. Optimism about the road ahead is not the way to react to this loss. A healthier culture would have people spitting mad at this performance and the inability to solve longstanding flaws within the program.
Helton annoyed USC fans to no end by expressing optimism when the reality of the situation was terrible. Fans don’t mind optimism in itself; they do mind optimism when not accompanied by accountability and honesty, and an ability to accurately evaluate situations.
You can see the lack of gut-level honesty at Nebraska. You can see that players still don’t hate losing. Players are extensions of the head coach. To that extent, it’s clear that Scott Frost has not taught his players to absolutely despise the thought of losing football games.
No wonder the problems aren’t getting fixed.
It’s such a Clay Helton vibe at Nebraska.
Thank goodness that era has ended at USC. On to Lincoln Riley, on to Rice this upcoming Saturday afternoon.