Former USC receiver Keyshawn Johnson was among several ex-Trojan stars who spoke to USC players Thursday in support of a team that's had a head coach fired at midseason twice in three years.
Among his messages: Forget about Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly coming in, and vote for an internal hire with their play.
"The world will be watching to see how you respond. If you respond positively, they say nothing. If you respond negatively, it's 'He's not the guy. Get him out of here, oh, why don't we go get Chip Kelly, he can run the offense?' Enough of that," Johnson said, according to ESPN's Kyle Bonagura. "It's your opportunity to make [interim coach] Clay Helton the head coach. It starts Saturday."
A portion of the remarks came complete with social-media video:
According to the Los Angeles Times' Lindsey Thiry, Johnson was joined Thursday by fellow former Trojan Willie McGinest, an NFL Network analyst, and several other ex-USC players. The Trojans are trying to salvage a promising season that has incurred the firing of head coach Steve Sarkisian and two losses before the season's midway point. Helton was named an interim coach once before at USC for a Las Vegas Bowl appearance two years ago, so he's painfully well-acquainted with the challenges of an interim job.
Sarkisian was reportedly terminated for failing to adhere to a zero-tolerance alcohol policy as part of a treatment program required of him by athletic director Pat Haden.
The Trojans face their toughest test of the season, as they will visit 14th-ranked Notre Dame on Saturday.