Special teams step up their game

With a large number of young inexperienced players, USC's special teams has had a rocky start to the season. Coach John Baxter, head of special teams, has made it his goal to get the players the reps they need to be successful.

With such a young team USC has had a lot to improve on special teams. Special Teams Coordinator John Baxter is making sure the new players get as many reps as possible. The ultimate goal is for the unit to be game changing and it nearly was at Washington; look no further than the blocked punt in the second quarter by redshirt sophomore Anthony Brown, which he returned for a touchdown.

Following the win at Utah, Coach Lane Kiffin said in his three seasons at USC, he had never seen such a poor performance by special teams. As the team prepared for Washington, he attributed those mistakes to the inexperience of the unit.

With freshmen and redshirt freshmen making up over half of the unit, Baxter is working on perfecting fundamentals. He used the analogy of Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds, and his motto of "hamburgers, fries, and coke." Baxter explained how Kroc never wanted to change what the company did, but rather stick to what they do best.

"That's what we do," said Baxter. "We're just continuing to do what we do so we can get better and better and better at it, so we can be the best. We're not changing anything, we're just trying to get better at it."

"We're not trying to beat anybody with gimmicks or tricks," he continued. "We're trying to beat people with fundamentals."

Veteran players Jawanza Starling and T.J. McDonald have helped move the learning process along for the younger players.

"That's a standard of leadership that was established early here in this coaching staff's tenure," Baxter said.

But the coach also praised some of the team's rookies for the progress they have made, including Peter McBride, Soma Vainuku, Junior Pomee, Anthony Sarao, Max Tuerk and Nelson Agholor.

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