USC Morning Links: Tragedy Hits USC Water Polo and Other News


Tirebiter's Morning Byte of USC Trojans News

USC Water Polo Player Passes Away
(Darian Nourian | Conquest Chronicles)

Freshman Jon Walters, a member of the NCAA champion USC water polo team, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 19, the Orange County Register reported. His tragic death reportedly came as a result of a heart attack. In early December, Walters was part of the USC team that defeated the University of Pacific, 12-11 in overtime, in order to give the program its sixth consecutive national title.

Early Departures Will Test Steve Sarkisian in Year 1
(Kyle Kensing | Bleacher Report)

The lack of depth is a greater concern with fewer seasoned veterans accustomed to it, particularly given the style Sarkisian had success using while at Washington. He installed a hurry-up, no-huddle scheme there last season that reinvigorated the Huskies offense after a tumultuous 2012. Washington averaged 37.9 points per game and scored at least 38 points five times. An uptempo system only works with enough to cycle players in and out, or if the few playing are particularly well conditioned. Given the Trojans played just 13 defensive players in the win over Stanford, and early departing Uko and Bailey were two of the them, the pace of an uptempo may prove too rigorous for Sarksian to implement immediately.

Justin Wilcox’s Defense Will Bend but Not Break
(Mike Luca | Bleacher Report)

Wilcox has never been granted such illustrious talent in his young career, although the limitations in depth due to ongoing sanctions (albeit fading, according to B/R’s Kyle Kensing) are a foreign obstacle as well. Pendergast’s mastery of the situation superseded the feel-good story of Washington’s success to match USC’s preexisting draw of the media. Luckily, Wilcox is another esteemed recruiter in Sark’s army, something Pendergast hardly cared for. As two divergent strategies try to yield identical results as done in 2013, that’s one crucial difference you can rely on long term.

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