Mar 11, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian at spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Briefing: Sarkisian Wants the "Best Conditioned Team In the Country" and Other Bullets

Three & Out:

  1. “Best Conditioned Team In the County”: After practice on Saturday, Steve Sarkisian summation of the first week of USC’s spring camp included an interesting declaration — he plans to field the “best conditioned team in the country.” Considering the Trojans’ depth issues, it is an admirable goal. In 2013, an offense that seemed to run out of steam late in games completed 18 second half touchdown drives compared to 31 first half scores. On the other side of the ball, the anti-sub Trojan defense which limited opposing offenses to 13 first half touchdowns, allowed 21 in the second half. Needless to say, Sarkisian’s USC will need to show a great level of conditioning in order to succeed in running a new uptempo offense while also facing Pac-12 teams who will attempt to do the same.
  2. The Power Of Confidence: One of the great criticisms of Lane Kiffin in his final month as USC head coach revolved around his lack of trust in his players. Without belief permeating down from the top, the team played without confidence and it resulted in failure (ex. Washington State). Sarkisian gave a glimpse of his approach to that subject in his evaluation of junior cornerback Kevon Seymour: “For [Seymour] it’s really having that knowing and belief in himself that he’s going to make a lot of plays, so he’s not surprised when those plays present themselves for him to make.”
  3. Going DancingYesterday marked Selection Sunday for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, a day of complete irrelevance for fans of Trojan basketball for far too long. Luckily this year, USC isn’t completely out of the picture when it comes to March Madness, at least on the women’s side. Selection Monday tips off tonight with the women of Troy set to learn their seed. They earned a berth to the big dance with a Cinderella turn in the Pac-12 tournament. Now they get a chance to test the “Why Not Us?” slogan they adopted in an even more heightened setting. ESPNW’s Charlie Creme has the Trojans projected as an 11 seed and due to face Gonzaga in the first round in Seattle.

They said it:

“We need to get better at finishing practices after playing at that tempo because that’s the fourth quarter of the ball game. And we will well get better at it. We’ll take pride in our ability in the fourth quarter of being the best conditioned team in the country.”
– Steve Sarkisian on the team’s conditioning goals.

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Tags: Football USC Trojans Women's Basketball

  • Ron4usc

    Most of you aren’t old enough to remember John Wooden’s first national championship team in 1964. Among other things, Mr. Wooden made sure his team was the best conditioned in the country. They full court pressed the entire game and, get this, played only seven (7) players. They were undefeated.

    Granted basketball and football are different but Wooden didn’t baby his players because he lacked depth and it paid off. Sark is on the right track. I am so happy he is our coach!!

    • Michael Castillo

      Yeah, and the same could be said about USC’s defense last year, playing with 12 guys against Stanford. They could have thrown freshmen like Hutchings, Starr, Ruffin and Powell into the fire for the sake of resting starters and keeping them fresh, but Pendergast didn’t.

      • Matthew Moreno

        What I would question is how much of that was Kiffin? Not saying he was the sole reason behind those guys not playing, but maybe he had a role?

        Or maybe this is just another “blame Kiffin” moment (which really isn’t my intention).

  • Ron4usc

    Right you are Michael. That was very impressive.