USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron chuckled when the reporter asked about the less-then-friendly atmosphere the Trojans will face in Corvallis on Friday. No doubt that chuckle was ironic given the Trojans’ road trouble this season and historically in games hosted in the pacific northwest.
“We’re going to address some of the mistakes we made on the road against Notre Dame,” Orgeron said after a light practice Monday. “Maybe the crowd affected us, maybe it didn’t, but I’m going to do a better job as a head coach of simulating some of that in practice.”
During Tuesday and Wednesday practices, Orgeron said he plans to incorporate crowd noise to get the players accustomed to the environment at Reser Stadium. His intention is to have the team acclimatized to road conditions early in the short week so that there won’t be a focus on it on Friday night.
USC has lost two of their three road games thus far, a blowout in Phoenix and a tough loss in South Bend.
The Trojans have a history in Oregon State’s neck of the woods specifically that has USC fans reaching for the brain bleach. The Beavers have a three game winning streak over the Trojans in Corvallis.
Two of those three losses knocked USC out of national title contention — A 33-31 2006 heartbreaker in which John David Booty’s furious comeback charge ended with a pass batted down on the game-tying two-point conversion attempt and a 27-21 shocker when the legendary 2008 defense allowed 21 points in the first half and another late-comeback attempt, this time from Mark Sanchez, fell short.
In those games, however, the Trojans were highly-ranked and heavily-favored. This time, the script has been flipped and USC is a five-point underdog to the Beavers, whose relationship with the national rankings falls under the old Ross and Rachel will-they-won’t-they category.
As for the odds, Orgeron kept it short, “We don’t pay attention to that.”