Steve Sarkisian Must Cut the Coddling and More USC Football News

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Can’t get enough USC football? We’ve got your morning dose of all the best content from around the web concerning the men of Troy.

1st & 10:

First Take… Steve Sarkisian mused about the possibility that USC’s new athletics facilities might be coddling the players during an interview with Sirius XM’s College Sports Nation. (via Daily News)

“The challenge is — and it’s something I had to address this offseason — are we doing enough to develop them, or are we just coddling them?”

That may very well be a valid concern when it comes to the pampering of USC athletes, but there may have been another form of coddling going on in 2014 and it has nothing to do with facilities.

Rather, the root is depth.

Everyone knows the story, USC played last season severely depleted on that front because of scholarship reductions.

Sarkisian certainly had to navigate those waters and nine wins was a decent return given the circumstances. However, USC’s success could have been much greater.

Had the Trojans embraced an identity, they surely would have achieved more. No identity was forged though, partially because so much of what USC did under Sarkisian in year one was handcuffed by depth concerns.

Would unleashing a true hurry-up, no-huddle offense have put the defense at risk? Surely. But it might have also taken the pressure off by putting more points on the board, by killing the opposition’s spirit with offensive firepower the way Oregon has done for years.

And would an aggressive, attacking defense have left the Trojans vulnerable on occasion? Definitely. But it also would have given players like Su’a Cravens and Leonard Williams the chance to make game-changing plays. It would have meant fielding a team that sought victory instead of looking terrified of losing in the fourth quarter.

Depth will remain a concern in 2015, but Sarkisian must be wary of it becoming a crutch. Allowing it to become USC’s identity will leave the Trojans crippled once more.

And Ten USC Football Links…

  1. Fox Sports: Stewart Mandel absolutely obliterated the complaints of SEC coaches over everything from the supposed rigors of the SEC schedule to satellite camps. It’s not exactly USC related (though Mandel does reference the Trojans playing Oregon the same week Alabama plays Charleston Southern in late November) but it is a beautiful take down worth the read.
  2. Daily News: Is there nothing Adoree’ Jackson does not aspire to? The all-everything, all-way player was asked if he preferred a Heisman or an Olympic medal. His response? “I think both, actually
  3. OC Register: Doug Haller helps Michael Lev with his Arizona State preview for 2015, explaining how ASU’s aggressive defense is key and predicting a berth in the Pac-12 championship if Mike Bercovici delivers.
  4. ESPN: Though they concede that USC should have the best defense Justin Wilcox has ever coached, Ted Miller and the folks at ESPN ranked the Trojan defense fourth in the conference behind Utah, Oregon and UCLA, who leads the Pac.
  5. ESPN: No shock here, USC’s quarterback situation is in “Great Shape” according to the ongoing Pac-12 blog’s position previews. Though you could argue that the Trojans deserve their own category of “Ridiculously Great Shape.”
  6. Bleacher Report: Speaking of, USC’s offensive line and quarterbacks are among the 25 strongest college football positional units, as judged by Justin Ferguson.
  7. USCFootball.com: Connor Spears, or whichever tight end holds the top spot, features as the No. 22 key Trojan for the upcoming season.
  8. LA Times: Such is the nature of USC’s situation on the defensive line, Lindsey Thiry predicts that defensive tackle Jacob Daniel will work his way into playing time or sit out the season entirely as a redshirt.
  9. Reign of Troy: Evander Holyfield’s son will not be coming to USC in 2016 after the four-star running back named a top five of only SEC teams.
  10. Reign of Troy: Cody Kessler was named to yet another watch list, this time for the Manning Award, which goes to the quarterback of the year in college football. The first winner and last Trojan to win it? Matt Leinart in 2004.

Stat of the Day:

If Kessler wants to win the Manning Award he needs to lead his team to a season-ending victory. The award has only been given to two quarterbacks on the losing end of their final game — Colt McCoy, who was injured and unable to complete the 2019 BCS Championship game, and Marcus Mariota, who lost to Ohio State in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Five of the 11 winners won the national championship on their way to the trophy.

Tweets of the Day:

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