They know the problems, they've had to live through them an extra week since the Boston College fiasco, they've had plenty of time to think about them and even more so, to fix them. And they're good to go against a dangerous, and veteran, Oregon State team this week.
That's the Trojan company line and Tuesday morning, it looked and sounded like it just might be true. The full-pads Scout team work that seemed to slow them down the past two weeks was crisper, sharper and faster. It actually looked like a game out there.
"That was the emphasis," Cody Kessler said of the more realistic installation at speed and under pressure. Good thing since Oregon State starts eight seniors on defense, the fourth straight veteran group a young USC offense will face.
And that was much of the talk, how will a USC young O-line, with three true freshmen and a sophomore who'd never played before, bounce back after melting down at BC?
"The plan didn't work out," USC O-line coach Tim Drevno said. "You refocus . . . There are lots of things to fix."<.p>
And there's a plan for this young O-line, the "only one in the BCS with three true freshmen and a sophomore who hasn't played," Steve Sarkisian said Tuesday, to fix it.
"Have a good run plan," Drevno said of a USC team that clearly did not against BC, "one that can handle whatever they throw at you. And adjust better on the sidelines. We all have to do better . . . sometimes it's good to have a dose of humble pie even though you hate to have a loss but we could come out better in the long run."
"They're working hard," Sark said, and are going to get there. "We just want it sooner rather than later." Sooner as in this Saturday night at 7:30 at the Coliseum when they face a fourth straight veteran defense with Oregon State starting eight seniors. "Great team speed and they make great adjustments," Sark said.
Now it's time for USC to do the same. One fix was already noted. Scout team periods looked much more like tey were game-speed. "You lose a game like that and everybody has a chip on their shoulder," Drevno said of the improvement in the Scout sessions.
"We wanted the Scout team to be more realistic," Kessler said. It was. But the plan is much more than that, Kessler says: "We want to have the ball for long drives, especially this week. Sean [Mannion] is a great quarterback. We want to keep him off the field. But if you throw three incompete passes in a row, What does that take, 20 seconds?"
Not that a pass game that hit on 31 of 41 was the problem at BC. As Drevno said, it's the run plan that has to work.
He was getting help there from senior tight end Randall Telfer, who considers himself a part of this young O-line. "I was telling our guys today that if you're good at running the ball, you're a good football team."
That's the goal, As Sark said, he thinks they have a good gameplan and can't wait for Saturday to see it in action. They've heard enough about the BC game "from us, from family and friends and from you guys." Time to get that bitter taste out of their mouths.
But there's no more pressure this week, Sark said. "I feel it every week . . . that's why I went to USC, to be the best, to win championships . . . this is a different place."
And when you lose the way USC did to 17-point underdog BC, "things get magnified," Sark said. There are lots of places for this team, and these coaches, to get better.
Look for freshman Adoree Jackson to get his most action of the season, Sark said, as cornerback Jackson barely left the field when the ones were out there . . . but he did get some action on offense as well . . . Telfer after a week off said he's back to 100 percent as was Leonard Williams . . . Tre Madden, not in pads yet, got to do a number of rehab exercises running and jumping over bags and some just straight running and said his turf toe, once it got warmed up, was "much better." . . . "He's much closer," Sark says . . . Jordan Simmons was "challenged again" to get into playng shape, Sark said, predicting a big future for the redshirt sophomore offensive guard . . . and finally, the busiest player of the day might have been Su'a Cravens, starting at SAM linebacker for Scott Felix and then getting work in all sorts of defensive sets with any number of DBs.
For a wrapup of Tuesday morning's practice, check out TUESDAY OSU WEEK GHOST NOTES.You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.