Former Tennessee Vols quarterback Tee Martin has been the offensive coordinator at USC since 2016, but as of this week he’s no longer calling plays for the Trojans.
USC head coach Clay Helton, who was the Trojans’ offensive coordinator from 2013-2015, stripped Martin of his play calling duties earlier this week, saying he felt it was an “appropriate time to become more involved in the offense”.
Martin will still be involved in game planning and practice planning, but it will be Helton making the offensive play calls on game day.
In previous seasons, USC relied on a three-headed monster when it came to play calling, with Helton and Martin, along with Tyson Helton (now the offensive coordinator at Tennessee, previously he was the quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator at USC) making calls on game day.
Moving forward, it seems obvious that Martin’s future at USC looks bleak. It’s not often that an offensive coordinator loses play calling duties and then regains that role.
Helton told reporters that Martin handled the “demotion” incredibly well. While I’m sure Martin was a consummate professional, it’s still not an ideal situation for him.
Clay Helton on Tee Martin’s reaction: “He was great. He totally understood it was something I wanted to do, as he told me, ‘Coach, I’m here to help you. I love ‘SC. I want to be at ‘SC. It’ll give me an even better opportunity to be an even better receiver coach and recruiter.’”
— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) October 30, 2018
When Martin was asked by reporters if he wanted to be back with the program next season, his response was “love USC”.
Not exactly a strong statement by Martin.
If Martin, who signed an extension at USC this past off-season after flirting with the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee, moves on from USC after the season, there will be immediate speculation about whether or not Martin will return to Knoxville.
For now, I don’t think there’s a place for Martin at Tennessee. Jeremy Pruitt has a great staff in place and I don’t foresee any changes to that staff after just one season.
At this point, it’s hard to see Martin getting an offensive coordinator job at the Power-5 level after losing his play calling duties at USC. So he’ll likely have to return to being a wide receivers coach. Martin’s an elite recruiter, so any school would be lucky to have him.
That means there’s a chance Martin could go to a SEC rival and end up recruiting against the Vols.
For that reason, Tennessee fans should hope Martin hangs on at USC for a bit longer, but it’s hard to see that happening with the staff shakeups made by the Trojans this week.
Featured image via Kirby Lee/USA Today