Fun, for a bowl-game change

The USC players are buzzing with energy in Las Vegas as they prepare for Saturday's game against Fresno State...

"Fun" was the goal set by Ed Orgeron when he took over as USC interim coach on Sep. 29, after the firing of coach Lane Kiffin.

Fun is what this USC team is still having, despite Orgeron's departure.

Part of that fun? Made in Las Vegas.

It was just a year ago the Trojans were 7-6, preparing to travel to El Paso (Texas) for the Sun Bowl.

Asked Thursday after practice at Bishop Gorman high school if he and the team were having more fun this year, Dion Bailey said "Absolutely".

Bailey says the energy when the Trojans take the field against the Bulldogs will be completely different from what the USC faithful saw a season ago, when the Trojans started as the preseason No. 1 team -- only to fall out of the polls -- and finish the season with an embarrassing loss to Georgia Tech.

On Saturday, the Trojans can earn their tenth win in season where they've now been introduced to their fourth head coach.

"Everybody is excited about the whole experience [in Las Vegas]," Bailey said. "Nobody has had anything bad to say. If you don't go to the BCS, then what better way to end your season than in Vegas. We're blessed that we had the opportunity to come to a city like this."

The USC staff allowed players to a 2 a.m. curfew on Wednesday evening/Thursday morning. Bailey says everyone respected the curfew, had fun, but also made bed checks.

Receiver Marqise Lee said he "stayed at the hotel to watch TV," before breaking into laughter, admitting he took in some of the sights of Vegas. "We walked the strip, went out for a little bit...tried not to do too much."

Lee says it's been "amazing" to be in Vegas. "They are great opportunities to be together, at the end of the day," he said. "It's great to have fun with this staff, these players, because we don't know who is going to come back."

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