USC head coach candidates: 5 outside-the-box replacements for Clay Helton

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USC football, Clay Helton

Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As they seek a permanent replacement for Clay Helton, here are five outside-the-box candidates to be the next USC football coach.

It has been inevitable for years, but a bad loss to Stanford last Saturday led to USC firing football coach Clay Helton. The speculation over who will replace him, with Donte Williams stepping as interim head coach for the rest of this season, is now officially on.

Schools like to go with familiar faces in coaching hires (see Bo Schembechler’s comment about a “Michigan man should coach Michigan”). USC is no different, continually mining Pete Carroll’s past coaching staffs for their football coach (Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian, Helton).

Currently, there are plenty of easy names to tie to USC’s job opening, and it seems like Helton’s replacement will be one of these 10 coaches. But what if they went outside the box, to someone with no ties to USC, no ties to the athletic director or no particularly special cache attached to their name? Even one of those things, let alone more than one or all three, would qualify someone as outside the box in this coaching search.

On that note, here are five outside-the-box candidates to be the next USC football coach.

USC coaching board: 5 outside the box candidates to replace Clay Helton

5. USC head coach candidates: Joe Brady, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator

After serving as the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach for national champion LSU in 2019, Brady came back to the NFL to be the Panthers’ offensive coordinator The soon-to-be 32-year old Brady spent two seasons as an offensive assistant with the New Orleans Saints before going to LSU, learning at the feet of Sean Payton and presumably with Drew Brees on occasion.

Brady’s next step feels likely to be an NFL head coaching job, especially if he can get Sam Darnold on the right track in his second season as Panthers’ coordinator. But USC could certainly use a modern offensive mind as their next head coach, and Brady qualifies as that.

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