When devising a game plan each week, one of the toughest things for a coach is: finding the right balance between providing your team with the right amount of information to be prepared for the game, without overloading them with too much information.
If you give the players too little information then they could be caught off guard by what the opposition throws at them, and if you pass along too much information, you run the risk of having your players think during the game, instead of reading and reacting.
"It's really hard to play great defense if you are not playing recklessly, and really running and hitting," Pete Carroll said.
On Monday, Carroll admitted that he may have tried to do too much with his defensive scheme against the high-powered Oregon Ducks.
"We messed it up in terms of we probably tried too hard and our guys, mentally, were bottled up with the stuff we were doing," he said. "We tried to scheme too much and so we made mistakes that normally we wouldn't make.
"And we didn't play the way that we normally play, and it was just a disastrous outcome with them being able to run the ball like that."
In an effort to do everything perfect, the Trojans couldn't do anything right and gave up 613 yards against the Ducks, which was the second highest total in school history.
"It appears that just the overall physical-side of it wasn't there and we were trying too hard to do everything right and before you know it we are not playing the way we normally play," Carroll said.
Coming off a year when the defense was filled with veterans, Carroll said he may have tried to do too much with this year's younger, less experienced group.
"Without question those guys, you couldn't ask for more experience than we had last year. We had the absolute maximum attention, focus and ability."
So, what does Carroll plan to do with the game plan that resulted in the worst loss in his time at USC?
"This, in particular, is one that is going in the can," he said.
Training Room Report
Damian Williams – Played against Oregon with a bruised glute/hamstring, which was aggravated during the game. He didn't practice on Monday and will give the injury some rest but is expected to play against Arizona State.
Chris Galippo – Galippo said his neck was still sore and stiff after injuring it on Saturday against the Ducks but plans to return to practice on Tuesday.
"It was really sore after the game, so they put me in a brace, which was just precautionary," Galippo said. "I got an MRI and x-ray this morning and should be full-go tomorrow."
Travon Patterson – Didn't make the trip to Eugene with an ankle sprain and didn't practice on Monday.
David Ausberry – Ausberry has missed the past two games with a calf injury and wasn't able to practice on Monday.
Everson Griffen – The junior defensive end wore a boot on Monday on his left foot to protect his sprained big toe. If Griffen doesn't play this week then Malik Jackson and Devon Kennard will each see playing time at defensive end, Carroll said.
Armond Armstead – Fractured his left wrist in USC's loss at Oregon but practiced today with a cast. After practice, Carroll said there is a possibility that he could play against Arizona State with the cast.
Joe McKnight – McKnight missed practice because of a sore ankle but Carroll said it wasn't an ankle sprain and doctors expect him to be OK.
Ronald Johnson – Wasn't at practice on Monday due to an illness. "He was real sick this morning and couldn't get out of bed," Carroll said.
Stanley Havili – Havili didn't play against Oregon with a shoulder injury that he suffered in USC's win over Notre Dame. He took reps with the first-team offense on Monday during USC's helmet only practice. He said he will work on his shoulder mobility on Tuesday.
Anthony McCoy – Missed the Oregon game with a sprained ankle. On Monday, McCoy was out of the boot that he wore last week. He said he will get a "special ankle brace" later in the week, possibly Wednesday, and will test his ankle then.
"I am able to walk with no pain now," he said. "I am slowly progressing through it. Hopefully by this week I can make it back"
Jarvis Jones – Freshman linebacker Jarvis Jones didn't practice on Monday because of a sprained neck.
Nick Perry – Hurt his ankle during the Oregon game. His status is uncertain at this time.
Drew McAllister – Was off crutches on Monday but is still sidelined with a hip flexor injury.
- Carroll said he would have more details on the injuries after the players meet with team doctors on Tuesday night.
- Wide receiver Brandon Carswell received significant playing time this Saturday and was singled out for praise by Carroll.
"Carswell did a good job in his first chance to play quite a bit," Carroll said.
- Bouncing back from a lopsided loss is what the Trojans must do this week and the first order of business is having a strong week of practice, Carroll said.
"The first thing is to just gauge practice," he said. "We made a big deal about coming out here and doing things the way we know how to do it, and speeding around and everybody into it and all that.
"It was a very sharp day."
- After practice, Carroll said he has been very impressed with the quality of play in the Pac-10 this season, and believes the conference is as strong as it has ever been.
"I think the conference is as good as I have seen it," he said. "Across the board, the offensive line play is really good this year, quarterbacking is excellent in the conference, everybody has a good runner or two, there's good receivers on every team, defenses seem to be active and running, there is a lot of speed on defense.
"This conference is better than I thought it was going to be and I thought it was going to be pretty tough anyway."
Armond Armstead practiced with a cast on his broken wrist on Monday.
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