Weekly Musings – Utah Edition

I don’t know why I came into this weekend feeling so negative. I generally am never, ever negative, even when I should be. But the way many in the USC family responded to the Notre Dame loss and the way many insist on blaming Pat Haden for the sanctions (an automatic failure of any IQ test, if you ask me) had me down. The Notre Dame game which we so clearly should have won, the NCAA’s wrist-slap of Miami, and the overwhelming flow of injury reports just left me playing into the negativity.

No more.

The Pat Haden thing is what it is. There is no reason for me to let the haters upset me, as I frankly feel sorry for them. The perspective some have is so silly, so juvenille, and so bizarre, I am actually upset at myself for giving it any thought whatsoever. Pat Haden came into an impossible situation, in which the NCAA handed down the most unfair punishment in the history of their totally unnecessary organization. Pat was not here during the infractions, during the investigation, or during the adjudication. He appealed, he lost. And now I am told the whole thing is his fault. Well, whatever. Fight on, Pat, and thank you for being there.

I actually expected a much tougher contest this weekend, especially considering our injury status and lack of depth. Utah beat Stanford, and really should have beaten UCLA, yet they looked like they didn’t belong in our conference this weekend.

– The story of the first half was obviously the defense. Extraordinary ball pursuit and great takeaways; solid secondary play; aggressive and quick

– I can’t say enough about Tre Madden. I think the Trojan family is going to be stunned and what he means to our resurgence in the years ahead

– Besides having to settle for two field goals (the third one at the end of the half was obviously the right call), it would be hard to find much to criticize in the effort and the strategy of the first half. We ran well. Cody made some good throws. The defense was stellar. Multiple receivers made plays. The one thing I continue to be desperate about is our need to convert third downs offensively

– The 30 yard completion on 2nd at 22 by Flournoy where he got an extra 10-15 yards making moves and breaking tackles was the highlight of the half for me.

– But Su’a’s pick at the very end of the half and athletic run back was up there too. It is a play that I love seeing as a Trojan, but also makes me think some of our conference coaches are absolute morons

– The NO-call on 3rd and 6 at the beginning of the second half (blatant PI) brought back some bad memories from last week. That call is so easy to make, yet so rarely called when the offended player is wearing cardinal and gold

– As frustrating as our third down productivity is, the red zone offense is right there with it. We just can not have that many trips to the 15-yard line and that few touchdowns

– Can’t say enough about the game Rogers and Agholar played

– Heidari at 4-for-5 was the story of the game in a lot of ways

A trip around the country …

– I expect Florida State to beat Miami by 50 points, mainly because God must surely hate Miami, and God is a vengeful God

– If Florida State does not beat Miami, I want Jimbo fired on the field

– The Texas A&M whooping of Vanderbilt showed me one thing: You can recruit better at Vandy and you can for from awful to mediocre, but you can’t play against big-time athletes when you’re at Vandy, and A&M has some big-time athletes

– Highlight of the week: Duke beating Virginia Tech. I’m still smiling …

– Oregon’s fake punt in their own territory on first drive of the game down 7-0 for 66 yards was the single best fake punt I have ever seen

– I thought UCLA looked okay in the first half against Oregon. But I do tire of people not understanding that Oregon is a second half team. Got that Musberger?

– I still imagine Alabama is a better team than Oregon this year but I am not sure of that yet. I do know Oregon would beat every team Alabama has played so far this year, or will play this year. By a lot.

– Extraordinary comeback by the Gamecocks of South Carolina to beat (and shock) a very good Missouri team on the road!!

– How did Stanford lose to Utah? Seriously.

*****
People are so funny in their desire for a big name head coach. Big babies at UCLA were screaming when Jim Mora was hired, calling it the downfall of their university (frankly, they were lucky at that time HE was willing to take that job). Now, they act like he is Nick Saban. Many at USC did the same thing with Pete Carroll. He went on to coach the greatest dynasty in the history of college football. I don’t know who we’re going to hire, but I do know that the 28-year-old kids on chat boards screaming for some celebrity coach are douchebags. I actually doubt Pat would keep Ed as head coach even if he wins out from here, which would be a miracle. But this idea that “if we’re serious we’ll hire a guy everyone’s heard of for a salary no one will believe” is just moronic. Headline picks rarely work; talent and hard work and ambition do.

Off we go to Corvalis, Oregon, population 7 or 8. Few cities have given us more trouble in the last ten years than Corvalis. Fight on Trojans, and beat the Beavers!