Is it more of the same?

It depends on whom you ask. Scott Wolf has an article today in the Daily News stating just that. The quick answer would be yes if you look at the teams record so far this season. But if you look a little more carefully some questions do jump out at you.

As SMQ stated in his preview of USC in April:

WHAT'S CHANGED: Several hundred pounds of hardware is gone en route to the NFL, most notably from the prolific backfield that got most of the attention during the team's 34-game win streak. Most teams suffer noticeably from the departure of a Heisman winner; the Trojans will be the first team ever to try to replace two, along with five other all-Americans. As usual after the kind of three-year run by Leinart, Bush and Co., this squad seems strictly partitioned from the awe-inspiring continuity of the past three, which really felt like the exact same team from year to year

Yes, USC has stockpiled talent like no other and that talent up to this point has shown what SC fans have been used to seeing the past few years, WINNING. The defense, with a tough year, last year, under their belt, has become one of the most effective units in all of college football. Even with injuries Pete Carroll and his staff have moved the pieces on the board to fill the holes that inevitably come up. But Coach Carroll is mindful that it can all come apart at any time.

There was a general impression last season that operating USC's offense was about as difficult as playing a video game, with coaches merely required to press the right buttons with two Heisman Trophy winners.

It's not an idea endorsed by USC coach Pete Carroll, who thinks the Trojans could fall apart just as easily as some of college football's other dynasties, the most recent example being Miami.

"Heck yeah, we could," Carroll said. "It's a finely tuned instrument. It's not just the players or coaches. It's both."


Enthusiastic...but mindful of what's at stake

The wins have not been as explosive as they were last year and that is to be expected. With a new QB, a bunch of new RB's and a rebuilt offensive line it's hard to imagine things picking up right where they left off last year. Some won't agree but I think that this year Kiffin and Sarkisian will be a little more under the microscope than they were last year because this is now essentially their offense. The Norm Chow influence is gone as are most of the players that he helped recruit and develop, the offensive schemes are theirs and with all that superstar talent gone it will be their responsibility to cultivate that new talent into something special. The comparisons, while not always fair, are inevitable and come with the territory. These guys know what they're doing but it's their show now so people want to see results.

"We're not proving ourselves to anyone," he said. "I don't think it was easier last year. It's different. There are different types of challenges.

"When you have veterans, you have to keep them focused. That's a challenge.

"Any time you have a new quarterback and a new tailback, that's a challenge, but that's coaching. This isn't the first time we've done it."

Well, again it depends on whom you ask.

Pete Carroll has done an excellent job at keeping focused on the here and now. He has put Jan. 4th In the past and he has kept a positive attitude that is infectious amongst his players and staff. With the high level of success that SC has achieved of late does it make it harder to continue the tradition with all the new faces on this team? Can you have too much of a good thing? At first glance it would seem so but again it depends on whom you ask. It is very difficult for teams like SC to stay at that upper echelon of success.

For those who think it's so easy just ask Miami.

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