USC-Oregon: Trojans Rebuilding Not Reloading


There! It’s official. By the count of 47-20, the votes are in. USC is rebuilding this year not reloading like all of the media hype had suggested.

Surprised! I’m not. Back in late August I predicted that USC would lose two or three games this year. I thought Oregon would be one of them, but not by a 27-point margin.

The defense lost eight starters to the NFL; the offense lost a quarterback and a wideout. Not a great way to start the next season, especially when it lost all four of its linebackers (Clay Matthews, Jr. was the elephant defensive end-linebacker hybrid).

The staff lost its two coordinators, who also doubled as quarterbacks coach and defensive coach, along with the director of football operations. Head Coach Pete Carroll replaced them from within by promoting his wide receiver coach and defensive backs coach.

The leading candidate to fill the middle linebacker position, Chris Galippo, was having back surgery and had not completed a full season in his three years at USC. Not a very good sign.

After losing two top linebacking recruits on National Signing Day, USC picked up Frankie Telfort in the closing hours. He was the kind of recruit like Brian Cushing or Rey Muauluga who could come in right away and start.

But just as fall camp opened, he was diagnosed with a heart condition and had to give up football. It was a huge blow to the Trojan defense, but perhaps an even bigger blow to a kid like Frankie.

But USC still had a cohesive secondary. That is, until Shareece Wright was declared academically ineligible. More bad news.

But five-star recruit from St. Bonaventure, Patrick Hall, was coming aboard. He could probably step in somewhere down the line.

No, he didn’t get cleared in time to register and blew out his knee the first day he stepped onto the practice field.

That was the point when I predicted the Trojans would not win the Pac-10 and would lose at least two or three games. As far as I was concerned, that defense was in a rebuilding mode.

That was even before defensive linemen Averell Spicer and Armand Armstead went down with injuries. All USC fans could do at that point was be thankful that the Trojans opened against San Jose State and not Ohio State.

Things never really improved even though the team started winning. The injuries continued to mount on both sides of the ball. The reserves stepped up here and there, but none of them were really seasoned.

The USC defense was like a dam with a large crack in it. The pressure on the injured starters to return before they were healthy mounted. Then suddenly in the second half at Notre Dame, the dam burst, and a deluge ensued.

Of course, that deluge is nowhere near as great as the deluge of fans jumping off the bandwagon tonight.

I really don’t know which vehicle will spin out of control first, the bandwagon or the bus that fair-weather fans are throwing Pete Carroll, Chris Galippo, and Taylor Mays under.

I am astounded at the reaction on the USC boards and probably this one as well and not to mentioned the Los Angeles media tomorrow. They want Carroll to change his system, change his philosophy, change his staff. So far no one has demanded that he change his wife. But that will probably come on Monday.

That’s what happens when you haven’t had a rebuilding year in seven consecutive seasons. Two years ago, the Florida Gators had to rebuild. They lost four games that year including a non-BCS bowl game. After winning the National Title, LSU lost five games last year while rebuilding.

Let the walking wounded take some time off to heal. You cannot chase after a Jermiah Masoli or a LaMichael James or a Jacquizz Rogers if you’re still nursing a sprained knee or ankle.

Let some of the younger guys fill in for them and get some experience. So what if the Trojans lose another couple games? It’s called REBUILDING. Got it?

And relax. The sky isn’t falling. The Trojans will be back as strong as ever next season.