Just six days after reaching his interim tag in December 2015, new USC coach Clay Helton announced the release of four assistants. One of these was Justin Wilcox, Trojan's defense coordinator.
The move was not anticipated. The two Wilcox seasons as a co-ordinator were extremely great, as his USC defenses contributed huge amounts towards the coaching in the points allowed, programming, and percentage completion. The dominant memory of his tenure will be the preasity-laced box top view which was launched within the reporter's photograph during the PAC-12 title match. The next day, Wilcox released.
As a result of his replacement he hoped to restore the USC's protection to his former glory. Clancy Pendergast had done it beforehand. During his first phase as coordinator in 2013, Pendergast oversaw significant improvement in USC protection. When he left a job with the San Francisco 49ers after the season, going to Wilcox, he took a magical step backwards.
So with Wilcox off, Helton returned to his predecessor, hoping to regain the lost amount.
Four years later, as the USC goes to Cal this weekend for the future of his coach in question, Troy's defense is still searching. With four seasons, Pendergast was intended to defend the defense steadily and annually in full defense and scoring protection, and that is defended by Wilcox, which is now one of Cal's treatments, which allows eight points. less and 39 less yards than USU's base per game.
In almost all statistical categories, the Trojans are worse than in Wilcox's final season in 2015.
There are logical reasons for this reduction, including a harmful mix of injuries and childhood. But in the case of Pendergast, it seems that the time for turnaround is running out. With two weeks remaining in the USC regular season, his future as a defense coordinator is likely to be linked to the embattled coach status of Trojans. The only USC assistant is in that position.
But as far as Helton is concerned, Pendergast, like his other assistants, has performed very well this season, despite difficult circumstances.
“I like what we're doing with our squad,” Helton said. “I think that the unit has made progress every week, it's better with many young children. Most of the kids are out there and there are men and sophomores throughout the program. Given that young defense and really developing, that squad is bright and there is much to do with Clancy. ”
With so many youngsters on protection, Pendergast tried to simplify its USC scheme in the spring, enabling young players to pick it up more quickly. He also changed to adapt young Trojans personnel naturally, and is leaning on heavier faces with three or four defensive stewards.
For young people like Drake Jackson's protective end, that strategy seems to have worked well.
“I like the agility,” said Jackson about the Pendergast scheme. “I don't want to sit around. I want to get after him. ”
But elsewhere, the numbers do not indicate that significant progress has been made in relation to protection. Despite the use of stronger faces, the current USC protection has a significant re-routing during this season. Its 4.6 yards per transport permitted ranks in the ninth Pac-12 and 87 in the nation. Its 170 excavation pitches per game has been approved for the worst of the program over the last decade.
When asked about that decline, Pendergast said, “I don't see the numbers.” T
“I look at our prayers in the future, and we are training to improve them,” he continued. “I like this group, and I like football. But it is a young group that we are developing, that we are bringing it alone, and that is the exciting part of it. ”
Last week, in Thempe, Pendergast's defense appeared to be a step forward as he focused primarily on stopping Sun Devils running game. Dynamic dynamic state back Eno Benjamin in a narrow peak, going to 2.6 low feed rod per transport.
As he suggested the performance of the defendants he was running, the Pendergast, as he was normally aware, indicated that injuries were affecting the unit. Frustration was evident in his voice.
“It was like the whole year,” Pendergast said last Saturday. “It's a revolving door.” T
In this season, forced to defend the USU's absence time extended from front defense ends, one to fight defense, two front reserve, three best corner, and his best safety. This lack of continuity, Pendergast, believes that the biggest issue of defense.
“When you look at the various changes… it's going to affect you,” Pendergast said. “The defense is a protective side of the ball. Guys must feel good working together, when you call during the game, you look over him and someone looks at you and says, ‘I found it. The protection applies to a reaction. ”
Four years ago, with the USC's defense of a direct strand, the newly-formed coach responded to the burning of the defense co-ordinator, hoping to start afresh.
Now, with Helton on fire and his own future as co-ordinator, Pendergast said that he did not pay much attention to reactions outside the USC building.
“I'm just coming out and coaching every day,” Pendergast said. “I don't listen to anything on the outside. I try to do my best every day. So you know, it is there. ”