No player workouts this week -- not organized, anyway. And the Pac-12 Media Days are not until Thursday.
Only one game left to play right now with the Arkansas State kickoff exactly 40 days away: What if . . . or to make it easier, "IF such and such happens or so and so does this, USC will be in . . . either great shape or in deep doo-doo.
Today we're going in the good direction -- all the "ifs" that "if" they happen, USC could be the team most of you think it could. So here we go:
This USC Trojan team will be in great shape:
*** IF Cody Kessler is the Heisman finalist many think he has a chance to be.
*** IF Max Browne is the best "backup" quarterback west of Columbus just in case. although maybe "backup" isn't the right word for what Max is.
*** IF the combo of Juju Smith with his toughminded leadership and athleticism and Steven Mitchell with his explosiveness and athleticism can fully replace all that Nelson Agholor took with him to the NFL.
*** IF Tre Madden comes back as the 225-pound athletic slasher who can run with power and finesse and catch the ball down the field the way he's shown he can.
*** IF the speed Justin Davis has been showing this summer combines with ball security when the pads are on to give USC the kind of 1-2 punch running the ball playoff teams simply have to have.
*** IF the contact part on offense really kicks in for a big, experienced, athletic offensive line that didn't always play that way with three freshman starters a year ago and goes out and dominates physically the way most great Trojan teams have in the past.
*** IF USC's offensive scheming and game-planning -- not to mention coaching -- eliminates the way-too-many busted drive-destroying run plays of last fall.
*** IF tight ends Taylor and Tyler [Oklahoma transfer McNamara] and freshman Petite can contribute significantly and Columbia transfer Connor Spears just keeps doing what he's been doing.
*** IF Adoree Jackson gets 18 or so plays a game on offense.
*** IF the long field goal leg of Matt Boermeester can be as consistent as it is strong and the punting leg of Kris Albarado can follow Boermeester with consistent length.
*** IF the five senior D-linemen play like seniors with an eye to playing at the next level and are encouraged -- and allowed -- to play aggressively and make plays not just stand their ground.
*** IF Kenny Bigelow joins those seniors up front and is able to show some of that potential he's yet to because of inexperience, injuries and some inflexibility.
*** IF either or both veteran linebackers Lamar Dawson or Jabari Ruffin come back strong or any two of the four big, strong, talented freshmen [Cameron Smith, Osa Masina, Porter Gustin, John Houston] get into the rotation.
*** IF senior Kevon Seymour can become the shutdown corner to give USC a pair there with Adoree who will lead a secondary totally unafraid to play man-to-man as much as it makes sense.
*** IF freshman Iman Marshall can get into the rotation in the secondary, allowing Adoree to spend as much time as necessary on offense and special teams.
*** IF at least one other freshman [Ykili Ross probably] steps up in the secondary and earns playing time.
*** IF the mantra that USC will be USC, that USC will be physical and aggressive, that it will pound people not just try to fool them or run away from them, if that is the reality and the way the Trojans actually play.
*** IF the USC in-game coaching evolves so that the Trojan sideline and halftme are places where cool, confident and controlled conclusions are reached under the toughest pressure and tightest timelines.
*** IF there are no more excuses.
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