Thursday, November 02, 2006

6-1: The Long and the Short of It

We can never say that a loss is ever a good thing, especially when that loss happens at Oregon State … Oregon State. But perhaps USC Football needed a wake up call.

Certainly, for the 2006 USC Trojans, last Saturday’s result was devastating. Our national championship prospects this season are now very slim. But what happened in Corvallis could be beneficial to the long term health of the Trojans as a program.

Reading the transcript of Pete Carroll’s stream of consciousness from this week’s pre-game press conference, we get the sense that he feels the same:
If we play well, the outcome will be fine. We have proven that, so I'm not worried about who we are playing or what the situation is. We need to perform well, and if we do that, we will win. We know that. […] I think as a competitor, I don't want to lower our standards and expectations. […] We are going to continue to expect to play great and do things right, see our players make great decisions and play with the intensity and other things that we built this program on. We are so close. We looked at the highlights of Saturday's game and we measured our effort as we do every week, our consistency was very good. It was just that the ball hit the ground a couple of times and we didn't come up with it. […] We gave them enough opportunities to beat us.

It's really clear in the three games that we have lost over the past few years. They are almost all the same. We couldn't get out of our own way when we needed to. There have been a lot of times when we struggled and had issues, but then we worked out of it and took over a game. We just started too late on Saturday […] We did it with two minutes left in the third quarter and that's just not enough time. This is life in sports, this is how it is. Stuff happens and you have to deal with it. […] This is an exciting challenge. We were faced with this challenge a few years ago and we went through a couple of years without it happening. Whether or not we can do it again, who knows? That's what we are shooting for and it starts with winning this game on Saturday and performing well. […] It's about today and I'm feeling good about our chances to do this.

We are a very young football team and there are a lot of lessons to be learned as well as taught. I'm really tuned into the fact that I have to do a really good job communicating with the kids because this is building for the future. This is a dramatic occurrence for us to grow from and I'm trying to be right on it. […] There's no question we will be better [next year] just because of the experience of it. There will be so many players coming back next year and new players emerging that are tapping into roles that will grow. I'm really excited about the future of our club. There are so many guys in key positions and such depth that with the new guys coming in next year, this is going to be a very deep football team. We will still be young, but with some experience. The future looks very bright.

In other words, as some self-help philosopher once said, “Saturday is the first game of the rest of our football program” or something like that. It’s time to let go of the loss to Oregon State … Oregon State … and move on. There is so much more to enjoy this season and those to come. It all starts Saturday.

Of course, today is Thursday


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