Yes, a tree fell in Los Angeles and it's name is reality. Someone could have at least cried out a warning of "timber," before the giant redwood nearly crushed the entire USC football program.
Following an inspiring speech from a less than inspiring individual in School President Steven Sample, the USC Trojans managed the first half of football like little boys lost in a foreboding forest - none knowing the way out. Luckily, they did finally find the tunnel and escaped to safety amidst a chorus of boos from the Cardinal and Gold faithful.
"It's not if you win or lose that matters, it's how you play the game." My father taught me that. He was a man of integrity who coached me through much of my young life. Never would he tolerate finger pointing or blame to be passed around our team because we were, just that, a team. He believed that we won as a team and therefore lost as a team. No one man was solely responsible for the accomplishments or failures, we produced as a team. To some this might sound like a soft, loser's attitude, but many around the Trojan camp, have forgotten, nay perhaps never learned that simple "team" philosophy. For throughout the day, from sideline to parking lot, I heard a common cry "off with his head." That head, of course, belongs to Carson Palmer.
These ridiculous rumblings brought another phrase to mind, from my more recent past: USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett, following a barrage of protests he received following the hire of Pete Carroll as the new Trojan Football coach coined, "Joe Blow don't know football." I hate to find myself agreeing with anything Garrett says, but if we are to look beyond the malaise of an entire team, focusing the blame on one player because he is the most visible, then inevitably we end up proving both men right.
It is not one player, but an entire team and their poor execution that has USC sitting at 1-3 and not 4-0, like our cross-town rivals. The criticisms of Carson: throwing behind, above, below his receivers are all valid, but anyone who thinks the misses aren't partially due to a lack of execution from his surrounding cast are indeed need of a "football education." The USC Trojans, as a team, are not executing anywhere on the field and there is really not much more that needs to be said. There is not one unit which has brought 60 minutes of solid football to a game this year and not contributed negatively to a loss in some significant way. It is the team, win or lose, do or die and that is our reality. Trojan fans, parents and even the players need to accept that and the growing pains a transition phase like this brings. It is not due to poor coaching, or game preparation. It is simply failure to execute as a team, on the field, and nothing more.
If USC shows growth, but continues to lose on it's way through that process, so be it. If fans, or even a player or two is lost along the way, because of their lack of vision or patience then that is all that it is, a loss. We must stand up and weather this storm together, as a team, if we wish to succeed and return USC football to any form of its former glory.