One Man's Opinion

Well, here we go! The end of Pete Carroll's first full season is just around the bend and our record is a very disappointing 3-5. So how come a major diehard--a Trojan Honk such as yours truly is not mad as can be and how come I am not screaming for somebody's head?

Well, here we go!   The end of Pete Carroll's first full season is just
around the bend and our record is a very disappointing 3-5.  So how come a
major diehard--a Trojan Honk such as yours truly is not mad as can be and
how come I am not screaming for somebody's head?  The answers are varied and
some may surprise most.  First,  I am not happy with the record so far--not
one bit.  Having said that, I am not as devastated as I thought I would be.
Perhaps my tolerance, or public facade of such, is merely an attempt to
accustom myself to more than a decade of mediocrity within the Trojan
Football Program.  Perhaps I have finally realized that screaming, calling
the coach every name in the book such as I did at Notre Dame does nothing
more than get me tossed or nearly tossed from the Irish Stadium. (yep, that
happened and it wasn't fun)  But, perhaps,  I am smiling because for the
first time in many many years, I really BELIEVE that there is light at the
end of the tunnel.

Much has been made of  Sample's lack of conern with football and with
athletics in general.  Much has also been made about the football team's
record during Mike Garrett's tenure.  Nonetheless,  despite all that, it now
appears that the resources have been devoted to improving the once mighty
USC Trojan Football program and perhaps this year is showing that there is
hope for the future,  maybe even some hope to salvage the rest of this
season.  I have gone balllistic as much as anyone, and more than most with
some calls this season that seemed genuinely lame.  Those that come to mind
are the failures at the 1 yard line against the Irish. I am still waiting to
see the bootleg that simply never seems to fail.  I can still see us
seemingly give the game away at Oregon  by not getting one first down or at
least by forcing the Ducks to use all their timeouts, thus hopefully
preventing a last minute comeback.  And of course, there are the numerous
versions of the "I got you where I want you situations" when the opposition
repeatedly converts on third and long when we seem to foresake what got us
there and go soft on D.

Having said all that,  I am still here and still smiling.  When I get over
the anger and the facing reality schtick, it becomes pretty obvious that for
the most part, this staff is doing the best that could be expected with
significantly limited resources.  We have no discernible depth at linebacker
and a guy named, Prosser, arguably as good as any others that we do have, is
out and has been for most of the season.  Our Dline consists of up to three
freshmen at one time.     We are playing with what most consider young and
inexperienced guys on the Oline and what some think is a lack of depth and
talent.  Our receivers have often run the wrong routes and have dropped what
appear to be catchable balls.  We have been in a position to win each and
every game this season, though we did get beaten up soundly by the Cardinal
and KSU.  Nonetheless, neither trounced us and with any luck, SC is still
undefeated.  Hard to fathom, but to my way of thinking, it coulda, if not
shoulda been.

No way I will ever be happy with a team that keeps it close.  I am old
enough to remember the days that we were a feared program and victory was
almost always assumed. We are not that program right now.  Nobody can say
with certainty if we will be that mighty once again. However,  there are
reasons to hope that things are slowly turning our way. Just last week the
Trojans blew a huge lead, but still won the game on the road.  For the
better part of the last ten or so years, we might just as easily have lost
that kind of game.  Some of the major weapons that have been injured or
unavialable should be back next season and I am also hoping for a couple of
new guys to contribute right away.  The oline will return 4 or 5 starters
who will be more experienced and stronger.  With Sunny, Chad, Chris Howard,
Darryl Poston, Sultan and Justin Fargas healthy, it will be hard for any new
kid to break into that formidable rotation.  The D will be deeper and older
in the front seven, though the defensive backfield could be an Achilles
heel.  And most of all, the kids will  have had a year to adjust to Carroll
and Chow's system and there will be even fewer mistakes and more big plays
to look forward to.  Thus, even though things are not perfect, for now, I
don't think it is a stretch to say that with Carroll at the helm, it does
look like the sun will shine once again.

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