Clay Helton takes over offensive playcalling duties, fires offensive line coach

USC head football coach Clay Helton announced on Monday that he will be taking over playcalling duties from offensive coordinator Tee Martin, and that offensive line coach Neil Callaway has been relieved of his duties.

Offensive play calling has been a topic of consternation for Trojan fans all season, and with fair reason; the team ranks 99th and 82nd in the country in total offense and points per game, respectively. Helton, who was the team’s offensive coordinator from 2013 to 2015 before he took over as interim head coach, said Martin will still be heavily involved in offensive preparation and game plans.

“I felt it was an appropriate time to become more involved in the offense as we continue to develop our team for the future,” Helton said in a statement. “Tee and I have had conversations about this decision and he was supportive. He has done a tremendous job here.”

Helton also said that Martin would maintain his recruiting role, and would remain the Trojans’ wide receivers coach.

The offensive line has also been a disappointment for USC this year, particularly in games against Texas and Utah in which the team ran for minus-5 and 51 yards, respectively.

The Trojans are simply not winning up front, despite starting three four-star linemen and one five-star recruit in senior right tackle Chuma Edoga. This failure led to Callaway’s firing, although Helton was complimentary of him.

Offensive line coach Neil Callaway was relieved of his duties on Monday – Tal Volk | Daily Trojan

“I want to thank Neil for all his hard work at USC,” Helton said, “He is an outstanding coach and a great friend. I wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

Running backs coach Tim Drevno will add coaching the offensive line to his duties. After coaching the school’s offensive line in 2014, Drevno returned this season as the coordinator of the running game and pass protection. USC allowed just 32 sacks under Drevno in 2014, tied for 29th in the nation.

In a phone conference with reporters on Sunday, Helton said he would put off making changes until after the season.

“When we get done with these last four games, I’ll evaluate everything and see what we need to do,” Helton said. “But right now, I’m more focused on trying to beat Oregon State.”

On Saturday, however, Callaway will not be on the sidelines and Martin won’t be calling the plays.

The Trojans will face Oregon State Saturday in Corvallis, Ore.