O/NSO: If it ain’t broken…edition

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC.com

The Obvious: There’s been a lot of noise and scrutiny over the delivery mechanics of Trojans preseason All-American quarterback candidate and Heisman frontrunner Sam Darnold (photo above).

The Not So Obvious: With all the positives that Sam Darnold delivers on a football field – physically, mentally and leadership – it was only a matter of time until the nitpicking would commence. The current “knock” on Darnold is the way he throws a football – namely his throwing motion. Ask Penn State about Sam’s throwing motion in the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl. The O/NSO says, “Give me a break and leave a young but proven great player alone. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”

The Obvious: Many of the great athletes of all-time had unique or different technique than the norm.

The Not Obvious: Some of the greatest and productive quarterbacks ever had unorthodox throwing motions or have you forgotten the likes of legendary Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas or the Chargers current productive QB Philip Rivers? Some of the greatest major league baseball batters had unusual stances and swings, or have you never seen Hall of Famers Mel Ott or Carl Yaztrzemski? Some of the greatest basketball players had the most unorthodox shooting form or have you forgotten George Gervin or Lakers legends Elgin Baylor and Magic Johnson? Has it been forgotten it’s all about results that counts.

The Obvious: Mel Kiper is ESPN’s draft guru.

The Not So Obvious: Regarding Sam Darnold’s throwing motion, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper wrote,He does have an unorthodox, long delivery, however, that will have to be retooled.”  Darnold’s response to his questioned delivery is, “It’s just kind of natural for me.” Maybe his “circle” of delivery must be shorted, but tinkering with success can often impede success. Sometimes there is too much over-coaching.

The Obvious: This past Tuesday was the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day.

The Not So Obvious: With recognition and respect for our military, Trojans athletics will host Joint Forces Day when the Men of Troy face Stanford on September 9. Athletics will donate 1,000 tickets and match every ticket for those who have served or currently serve our country. The Trojans Athletic Department invites fans to support the effort by donating additional tickets. Last season, over 5,000 were donated. FYI, coming July 17, all those who serve our country can purchase tickets to the Stanford game and buy 2-for-1 tickets that start at $70.

The Obvious: At many sporting events, time is taken during the game to recognize somebody heroic from the military.

The Not So Obvious: The Trojans will again this season have a Hero of the Game recognition. Fans are asked to nominate active or retired men and women who have shown exemplary service in defense of our country, or whose story can serve to inspire others. Winning nominations will be honored at each home football game. All submissions are due by August 4th. To nominate:  http://usctrojans.com/sports/2017/6/29/joint-forces-day.aspx

The Obvious: Trojans center commit Justin Dedich (Temecula, Calif./Chaparral) had a very successful appearance at the prestigious national Nike Camp known as The Opening.

The Not So Obvious: You will happy to know that Justin wore No. 67 as The Opening, the same number worn by former Trojans All-American and All-Pro center Ryan Kalil.

The Obvious: Former Trojans quarterback commit Matt Corral (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) said at The Opening that he still has high interest in the Trojans.

The Not So Obvious: And Corral’s comments are what makes recruiting such an interesting but uncertain college football. This one will be interesting to see how things unfold.

The Obvious: Last year at this time, there was a lot of speculation on the future of Clay Helton and his ability to lead the program.

The Not So Obvious: A year later leading into the 2017 season, Helton has made important inroads to his credibility, and this season the Pac-12 coaches under the intense light of scrutiny are Arizona State’s Todd Graham, Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez, and UCLA’s Jim Mora.

The Obvious: Mission Viejo (Calif.) High is a national producer of D-1 talent.

The Not So Obvious: The Trojans have been recipients of a number of MVHS talents, and 2017 recruiting has the Men of Troy again looking at the Orange County prep powerhouse. This season, it’s senior DB Olaijah Griffin who reportedly has the Trojans currently at the top of his recruiting preference list.

The Obvious: When Steve Sarkisian was the Trojans head coach, he was convinced that the type of quarterback he wanted in the future would be one that could pass and run the ball.

The Not So Obvious: With Sam Darnold being the type of quarterback that Sarkisian had in mind and seeing the results from last season, it figures that as long as Clay Helton is the Trojans head coach, he, too, will continue to look for those two special qualities in a quarterback.

The Obvious:  And finally, the competition is already on for rankings in the recruiting class of 2018.

The Not So Obvious: According to ESPN, “They (USC) have the No. 12-ranked class, but they have plenty of chances to move up. USC currently has five ESPN 300 commitments, with the opportunity to land quite a few more. With ESPN 300 receiver Jalen Hall (Long Beach, Calif./ Poly), linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), defensive back Olaijah Griffin and others, USC’s biggest development might be yet to come. If the staff can close strong and keep a lot of the big in-state targets at home, this could be an outstanding recruiting class for USC.”

Greg Katz

Katz has been with WeAreSC since 2002, which includes contributions to Scout and ESPN.com. A member of the Football Writers Association.

3 Replies to "O/NSO: If it ain’t broken…edition"

  • Boselli July 7, 2017 (6:25 pm)

    Nice lead off with the orthodox/unorthodox stuff on Sam and great examples from the past. Lakers fans will soon go through the same gotta-fix-it angst with Lonzo.

  • Fred Vlasuk July 7, 2017 (7:34 pm)

    I agree with you Greg. Do not change Sam’s throwing mechanics!! It’s what he feels comfortable doing.. The results speak for themselves. 9-1 record 30 +TD’s ,huge wins over Washington and Penn St. When the throw is not there, he can use his elusive mobility and take off or simply throw it away. Maybe some slight adjustments in his delivery but overall everything is fine. Let him be himself!! It ‘s worked pretty good so far!!

  • RickS July 8, 2017 (8:19 pm)

    This “will” be a Great Recruiting Class Greg if not “Fantastic” !

    With 3 to 4 5-Star recruits lining up and possibly a few more including Top Ranked 4-Star recruits looking to join the Trojans !!

    And if “this” Season goes as expected (USC could quite possibly head into the Playoffs @ 13 – 0 with unscheduled Washington (?) being the toughest game) the entire East and Southeast could suddenly open up to USC like never before (Just take a look at the new 4-Star Running Back recruit from D.C. ?? District of Columbia ??? That happens all the time ?)

    Win a National Championship (Absolutely Possible) and the flood gates open…

    As the old song goes, “Let the good times roll’ oll” !


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