Apr 19, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California head coach Steve Sarkisian during the Southern California Spring Game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Can you hear that?
It’s the sound of a sleeping giant being awoken once again.
Over a week removed from the USC Football Spring Game and you can begin to feel the change. It started with bringing back Steve Sarkisian as the new head coach of the Trojans. Some wondered if he could have the same swagger that Pete Carroll, his mentor at USC, brought day in and day out.
The sleeping giant began stirring on National Signing Day. The Trojans snagged stud athletes Adoree Jackson, John “JuJu” Smith, Damien Mama and Bryce Dixon. It’s made even bigger moves by signing the number one ranked QB in the 2015 Class, Ricky Town and 4-star offensive lineman Chuma Edoga. (Can we stop and ponder just how beastly their o-line is going to be?)
But it wasn’t just the names that began the turn. It was the action. It was the action done by Sarkisian and his staff that brought all of these recruits to USC. It was the NCAA sanctions finally being lifted that let the light shine at the end of the tunnel. This was the beginning of a new reign.
One that would be sure to remind UCLA exactly who ruled Los Angeles.
Don’t get me wrong, UCLA has turned into a great team. They had managed to lure some recruits away from USC because of the bowl ban and the reduced scholarships. But all of that is gone now. With a limited number of scholarships, the Trojans managed to steal plenty of talent both from California and even out of state. It was a reminder of the past when USC got everyone it wanted.
This is how Sarkisian is changing the culture. There’s no more slow, pro-style offense that USC and its fans have been accustomed too. No, we are finally getting to see the cardinal and gold embrace the no-huddle uptempo offense that has taken over the country. Not to mention one that has burned USC in the past before. If you can’t beat them, join them.
They have the offense already. Cody Kessler will lead the offense with Nelson Algholor and the platoon of running backs. They have bolstered their o-line immensely for this season and years to come. Their defense, now running Justin Wilcox’s 3-4 scheme, will continue to be anchored by their monster front seven. And then when they plug in recruits like Jackson, Smith, Dixon and others? It’ll only get better. Let’s not forget, Jackson and Smith have been rumored for a while to be two-way players.
Now, I understand that it may seem skeptical to see that USC turns it around in just one season with Sarkisian. But, this isn’t just a one-year deal. No, this has been creeping in the background for the past few years. They’ve put up fights with Oregon. They beat Stanford. They’ve been competitive with UCLA. Sure, they’ve blown some games that they should’ve won, but lack of depth will do that to you. But the seeds were planted and now Sarkisian is here to bring in the harvest.
For years, USC has ruled LA. And now, we’re beginning to see this new reign come to fold. It’s been starting for a while now. It was demonstrated in recruits still choosing USC over UCLA. Wasn’t UCLA supposed to be the up and coming school that was going to rule the Pac-12 South? Wasn’t USC supposed to be on the decline because of the sanctions?
Last time I checked, it was USC having the number one recruiting class in the Pac-12, thanks to Tee Martin.
And now, as that sleeping giant rises from its slumber, it’ll come striking hard and fast with years of pent-up anger.