USC coach Lane Kiffin knew it could take a while to figure out his team's identity with a new staff in place and turnover on the roster.
"We don't have any idea. You see one thing one game. It's obviously taking us a little time," he said.
"Things don't change overnight."
What is more troubling to him is the lack of discipline through these first two games, most evident in the 24 penalties for 240 yards amassed, worst in the nation, after stressing toughness and discipline from day one.
"We're not disciplined right now. I think we're tough, but I don't think that we're disciplined at all, so we're in a continual process of trying to get there," Kiffin said.
The most immediate concern, aside from penalties, is takeaways. The Trojans have just one, safety T.J. McDonald intercepting Virginia quarterback Marc Verica in the end zone.
"We haven't been very close to many turnovers, so hopefully that will change," Kiffin said. But he pointed to a strong performance Wednesday in practice, capped by linebacker Ross Cumming's pick-six in 7-on-7s.
"The defense had a great day today. Our defense rarely gets turnovers from our offense out here. They got three of them today, so I'm hoping that's a good sign for this weekend," Kiffin said.
Coming Into Focus
Through the first two games of the season, USC has played only five true freshmen – running back Dillon Baxter, defensive end Christian Thomas, cornerback Nickell Robey and wide receivers Robert Woods and Markeith Ambles.
Barring injuries, that total will stay the same.
"If we haven't played them yet, they're most likely going to redshirt. Once we play them, we're going to keep trying to play them some more," Kiffin said.
Kiffin cited impending scholarship reductions as the reason for not playing the other 11 true freshmen.
"We've just got to find a way to redshirt some of these guys for what's coming," he said.
Of the few that have played, Woods has been the most impressive. The former Gardena Serra standout is second on the team in receptions (7) and yards (110).
"He's been playing pretty good for a true freshman," receivers coach John Morton said. "The way he prepares, he's been brought up really well. He takes things serious, he comes to work and he tries to do exactly what you tell him to do."
-Defensive linemen Nick Perry (ankle) and Armond Armstead (undisclosed) were limited in practice.
In their absence, redshirt freshman James Boyd saw increased reps.
"With the two guys limited, we gave James some more," Kiffin said. He was actually on our service team last week and did a really good job over there, so we bumped him up."