(Rick McMahon | Bleacher Report)
The stage is set.
This Saturday is the time for young Trojan quarterback Cody Kessler to create his legacy in Trojan lore, and all it will take is a winning performance in South Bend against rival Notre Dame.
Piece of cake right?
Not really, but it is doable. If there really is a Trojan resurgence under new interim head coach Ed Orgeron, then it might even be a reality.
But it won’t happen unless the improving but beleaguered Kessler plays the game of his life.
(Garry Paskweitz | ESPN.com)
It’s not too often that a midseason report includes the impact of a coaching change but such is the reality for the 2013 Trojans.
USC entered the season under Lane Kiffin and went 3-2 –- including two losses in the Pac-12 — before athletic director Pat Haden decided it was time to make a change. Longtime defensive line coach Ed Orgeron was named as the interim coach, and he instantly set about putting his touches on the program, including the popular gesture of returning cookies to the USC training table.
(Brian Hamilton | Chicago Tribune)
However overwrought or hyperbolic the discussion about who is and isn’t a Notre Dame rival, this much is certain this week to the Irish:
USC is the rival on the schedule.
“We go through the season and so many weeks, it’s on the other side,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said during his weekly news conference Tuesday. “In other words, it’s other teams really calling it their rivalry game. Our players would be the first ones to admit that this is our rivalry game, one week that we look forward to.”
(Jake Davidson | Daily Trojan)
Though I have only been an avid follower of USC football since the Pete Carroll era, I am well-versed enough in Trojan lore to know that our lineage of tremendous running backs extends beyond Reggie Bush and LenDale White to Marcus Allen, Anthony Davis, Ricky Bell and Charles White. Before quarterbacks Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer, there were Pat Haden and Paul McDonald, and predating wide receivers Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett were Lynn Swann and J.K. McKay.
But the great Trojan teams of the past have always been identified by who the head coach was at the time. The correlation between a great team and an equally great leader seems implicit, and the last time USC hired a head coach whose ability was not up to par, the team suffered.