1) External Distractions
There’s only one thing being talked about in regards to USC this week and it isn’t the Fresno State game on Saturday.
News of Josh Shaw’s heroic rescue and resulting ankle injuries broke on Monday through USC’s RipsIt Blog. Tuesday morning, the story blew up when Steve Sarkisian revealed questions had been raised about the validity of the tale. Tuesday afternoon brought reports of potential police involvement, complicating the matter.
By Wednesday, USC was in a “holding pattern” with regard to an investigation of Shaw’s claims.
The Trojans still have a football game to play, but this is definitely not the way Sarkisian would have preferred his first game week as the Trojan head coach to play out.
Sark said that USC put in too much work these past few weeks to let an hour or two or social media distract them from preparing for Fresno.
— Evan Budrovich (@evanbud) August 27, 2014
Defensive captains Hayes Pullard and Leonard Williams said all the right things Wednesday in terms of staying focused and not letting the off-field distractions get in the way of getting ready for the Bulldogs.
Still, the Shaw story will stay at the forefront until it gets resolved and the potential for distraction cannot be denied.
Given the circus that often follows USC football, Sarkisian has been given an early opportunity to prove he and his team can handle the media attention.
On the plus side, this group of players has a wealth of experience dealing with drama on and off the field already.
On a scale of the drum major stabbing the field controversy to Lane Kiffin being fired at an airport in September, this is a mostly manageable situation to handle.