Resolutions Need Not Apply to Trojans

A new year often comes with a slew of new resolutions: a new job, a new body or for your team to be more successful. But if you're a fan of USC football, you shouldn't wish too much change on these Trojans in the coming year.

Personally, I love New Years resolutions.

You can start with a clean slate, by welcoming change and honing your focus.

If you're a diehard fan of a team, you can -- at least temporarily -- put aside your school or franchise's embarrassing loss and hope that the future is aplenty in wins.

However, if this aforementioned team happens to be the USC Trojans football team, none of this really applies to you.

Because this team's focus, motivation and talent right now is good enough to play in a BCS championship game. Thus, the last thing you'd want is change.

You're relishing the number sevens staying put. You're thrilled about the longtime commits, and the possibility of bringing even higher-rated recruits. And you are absolutely excited that this program has "unfinished business" on their minds.

Despite the encouraging path these Trojans are now on, that's not to say the program should stay exactly the same in 2012 as it did in 2011.

Obviously the current team is plus a bowl game and minus two pivotal linemen in Nick Perry and Matt Kalil. But the cardinal and gold still have a few things to resolve in 2012 before they can hold that crystal ball in 2013.

First, they need a solid defensive backs coach to round out their already top-notch coaching staff. Kiffin needs (or, I suppose, Pat Haden would be the man) to hire an NFL-caliber coach that can fit right into their system and shape up USC's secondary to be less Pac-12ish and more SEC-like.

Second, the school (and coaching staff) should push each individual to their maximum in terms of awards next season. While Kiffin may have used individual accolades to pump up certain players before games or throughout a game week, the university itself did not do enough to push Robert Woods' Bilenitkoff race or a Heisman campaign for Matt Barkley didn't come until it was too late.

And third, Kiffin needs to develop a better trust in his players this time around. By constantly rotating at a spot or saying he's not happy with the skill at a position is great to increase competition, but isn't exactly a confidence builder. Players came up to me a number of times in the season saying they weren't sure Kiffin liked them. You could say the particular athlete needs to toughen up, or instead, Kiffin could just inform the players as to where he stood with them as a situation arises.

When I had coaches, I particularly enjoyed constructive criticism. But more than anything, I enjoyed the feedback. I've been around sports enough, and as a member of the media we are often left out until the very end so I know that being left in the dark can often leave you feeling lost. Players won't likely play to the best of their ability if they're confused.

Everything else for these Trojans --- the collective mentality, the talent, the lineup (for the most part) –-- needn't be tampered with.

Players are charged up. Many are looking forward to spring ball with a renewed energy I didn't see a year ago. And this team is genuinely a cohesive unit, more so than at any time since The Transition.

While other teams around the country are rebuilding, these Trojans just need to stay consistent and make a few minor adjustments in the coming year.

And then by this time next year, they won't be hoping to be the nation's best, they will be.


USCFootball.com Top Stories