USC Football: Su’a Cravens, Cody Kessler Downplay Pressure


Su’a Cravens and Cody Kessler played down concerns about pressure stemming from high expectations for the coming USC football season at Pac-12 media days.

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Cravens said he loves pressure, but does not feel any in particular at USC when it comes to expectations.

“You go to USC and everybody wants to beat you regardless of what your ranking is,” Cravens said, addressing USC’s place as the favorite to win the Pac-12 this season.

Ultimately this is what Cravens expected when he chose to join the Trojans.

“You don’t come to this school to shy away from big games. You live to play in those great atmospheres and those great games that everybody is going to talk about,” Cravens said. “USC is one of the main places where you’ll get those.”

The reoccurring theme between USC’s representatives at media days was that the polls don’t matter.

USC was voted to win the conference in the Pac-12 media poll and checked in at No. 10 in the preseason Coaches Poll released on Thursday, but Kessler insisted there is no need to worry about being overhyped and disappointing the way the team did in 2012.

“Not to say anything negative about them, but that year, they enjoyed [the hype] more than they should have, and that’s something we can’t do,” Kessler said.

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Having to navigate the full effect of scholarship reductions and crippling depth concerns since then has made this Trojan team more well-equipped to handle expectations.

“We’ve gone through sanctions the last four years. Nothing is more humbling than that,” Kessler said. “There’s no way these guys are going to be overconfident or buy into all that.”

In the end, both Cravens and Kessler emphasized keeping the focus on the team rather than outside distractions.

“People can say whatever they want, and it’s going to be positive or negative and there’s ups and downs. But I couldn’t care less,” Kessler said. “I don’t care what people say outside, what the media says, it’s my team. Whatever happens on my team, whatever my team thinks, that’s all I care about.”