Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Midseason report: USC
By Garry Paskwietz
It’s not too often that a midseason report includes the impact of a coaching change but such is the reality for the 2013 Trojans.
USC entered the season under Lane Kiffin and went 3-2 –- including two losses in the Pac-12 -- before athletic director Pat Haden decided it was time to make a change. Longtime defensive line coach Ed Orgeron was named as the interim coach, and he instantly set about putting his touches on the program, including the popular gesture of returning cookies to the USC training table.
The Trojans won their opening game under Orgeron by holding on against Arizona, but now things get tougher with a road trip to South Bend to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and then a return home to play Utah, which just beat Stanford. Games against the Cardinal and UCLA also await down the road.
Look for Orgeron to continue developing the Trojans' run game behind a deep group of tailbacks that includes Tre Madden and Silas Redd. The big unknown right now for the offense is the status of Marqise Lee, the 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner who suffered a knee injury against Arizona State and has not returned. On defense, the front line has been a bright spot with Leonard Williams, Devon Kennard and Morgan Breslin but the secondary has struggled at times, particularly at the corner position.
Offensive MVP: Madden -- A former linebacker who sat out the 2012 season with a knee injury, all Madden did to open the season was rush for more than 100 yards in four of the Trojans' first five games.
Defensive MVP: Williams -- The Trojans are ranked among the top-20 defenses against the run and in sacks and tackles for loss. That starts up front with Williams, a dominant big man who is second on the team in tackles (36) and is tied for the team lead with 7.5 tackles for loss.