Senior running back Justin Davis looked around on the USC bench in the second half of the Alabama game and didn’t see any energy or enthusiasm.
“At points in that game, I thought that everybody was asleep. That pre-game stuff -- everybody just getting hyped, it was nowhere to be found.”
The Trojans had folded.
“It was just everything possible went wrong in that game.”
Some players were making excuses about Alabama being the best in the nation. Even after a 52-6 shellacking, Davis doesn’t think they were outmatched. He is still convinced that USC could and should have done much better against the defending national champs.
“We can match up on any position. I thought we matched up perfect against Alabama,” Davis said. “We got the best guys in the nation. We can go out there and play against anybody.
“It's just that we don't have that mentality yet that we can't be messed with.”
Instead once the Trojans fell behind, they gave up.
“We always got to make sure in ourselves that we know that we're going to win this game no matter what, even if it was 17-3 at the halftime, we're going to come back,” Davis said. “That's the mentality we always got to have. It just didn't feel like it was there.
“We kind of just let the name Alabama get in our heads and it just took off, 'Oh well. They're too good. They're about the win the national championship.' But that's not the case.
“I didn't believe at least because we had the team to go out there and compete against them for four quarters and it just died down after the one mistake that we had and we can't have that going forward.”
As a senior, Davis has been through it all at USC and he thinks the Trojans can turn things around despite their initial showing this season. It just takes the players buying in and getting back to the basics of coming off the ball hard and “being in that physical mentality.” He thought there were signs of that at Tuesday’s practice.
That’s where it all starts. In the trenches. In between the tackles.
“The run game is the thing that ultimately gets our offense running because we're run first and we've got the guys up front to do it,” Davis said. “Once you get the physicality and run game, it just spreads throughout the whole team. It spreads to the defense, spreads to special teams. That just gets the whole team going. We've just got to make sure that happens next week.”
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