It's a bye week, so while USC has more problems to fix this week than usual, plenty of time will be spent evaluating the younger players in the program and taking an extended look at the progress that they have made.
"We had it designed to do that today and everyday this week. We are orchestrating it, so that we can do that in different sections in the practice and then also work on the stuff that we need to get better at," Carroll said.
This week, there will be a number of players moving around and playing with the first-team to get a chance to showcase their talents.
"We are experimenting with guys getting reps and moving guys," Carroll said.
After practice, Carroll singled out freshmen Jawanza Starling, T.J. McDonald and Kevin Graf as a few of the players that will receive more work with the first unit in an effort to gauge their progress and ability to pick up the scheme.
"Right now it is really important for us to assess where the young guys are," he said. "This is a really good opportunity to do that. I want to find out: What does Jawanza Starling know and what does T.J. McDonald know about what is going on in our scheme when they really have to play."
"I think it's really important in our program to present our guys with competitive situations as much as possible and give them an opportunity to show where they are, so they can learn, so we can learn and we can make progress right now."
"Besides a couple of plays, we looked good as an offense. We were 50 percent on third downs, scored in the red zone, and you know, we moved the ball. But besides for a couple of plays, which for the most part are my responsibility with those turnovers, just drive killer. If you turn the ball over it is never going to be good."
Would you like to throw down the field more?
"I think any quarterback would, but I am not complaining. We have when we needed to. It's not like in order to win we have to throw the ball down the field because we have proven that we don't have to to win. If it is in the game plan we will. We got that one with Brice and we tried to again and got sacked on another play. I am happy with the play calling."
Do you feel like you have consistently gotten better throughout the season?
"I say as an offense we were reaching a peak and for some reason just started to decline. I think I have progressed in different ways and kind of gotten sloppy in other ways, I wouldn't necessarily say decreased. I think I have gotten a lot better mentally in just with my reads, I have gotten a lot quicker."
Are you still shocked by the two blowout losses?
"Yeah. It's shocking for the most part because it is something that hasn't really happened to the program while Coach (Carroll) has been here, so it's something that we aren't used to. At the same time, it's a great challenge for us to see how we can respond to it. It definitely was a shock but there comes a point where you have to move on. It might sound cliché but it's true."
On the Bright Side
There were plenty of negatives to discuss, dissect and complain about after the Trojans gave up the most points in school history in Saturday's devastating 55-21 defeat at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal.
The defense didn't show up for the second time in two weeks, Matt Barkley and the offense turned the ball over four times and the coaches did seem to have any answers. But along with all the negativity, there were actually some positives from the game, like the play of wide receiver Brice Butler.
The redshirt freshman, who received his first start in place of the injured Damian Williams, made the most of his opportunity and looks like a player that is capable of taking on a bigger role in the offense in the coming weeks.
Butler stepped up during the week of preparation leading up to the Stanford game, and carried his impressive play from the practice field to the game.
Butler entered the game with just 10 receptions in 2009, but grabbed a career-high 6 catches for 96 yards and a touchdown and proved to be a steady No.2 option behind Ronald Johnson.
In his first career start, Butler set career-highs in catches (6), yards (96) and his 36-yard touchdown reception was also a career long.
- Williams will likely get the entire week off of practice to rest his sprained ankle.
"We will find out next week when we come back where he is," Carroll said.
- Bradford injured his foot during the Stanford game this past Saturday and said today that it was a bruised bone in his foot.
- Carroll said that this week is a chance for the Trojans to get back to work and start fixing their issues before next week's matchup with the rival UCLA Bruins.
"The expectations for today was to start the process of fixing issues. We need to be very intent on what we are getting done here to make sure that we are creating the changes that we have to create," he said. "The only guys that can fix it is us. That's what was happening today, guys were tuned in and we got really good serious work."
- Quarterback Matt Barkley said he realizes that he will be the vocal point of much of the criticism after losses because of the high profile of his position he plays.
"This position gets all the credit and it also gets all of the criticism and I knew that coming in. I'll take responsibility for it because it does start with the quarterback."
- Carroll said he was pleased with the spirit and enthusiasm that the players brought to the practice field on Tuesday.
"We aren't going to come out here and kick our lip around," he said. "That doesn't exist in this program."
Allen Bradford missed practice with an injured foot. (Jaime Rodriguez Photo)
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