Its hard to know just what USC team will show up today.
We have seen the offense progress nicely as a whole though miscues and missed opportunities to convert drive sustaining plays have reared their ugly head numerous times in the first five games. It hasn't been pretty to be sure but you can where progress is being made.
The obvious question is the defense.
There has been much written in the recent days about just how bad things are. Monte Kiffin's Tampa 2 defense seems to have stumped the secondary. Our linebackers have serious issues when it comes to tackling and covering in this scheme. The defensive line for all of its talent is not pressuring the opposing QB to the point of making mistakes.
Takeaways are almost non-existent...
It is not a pretty scene and obviously Monte and Lane have discussed the defenses performance...that could not have been a comfortable talk for Lane.
Five games into the season should not be the time for a program like USC to have trouble finding their identity, yet that is exactly where we are.
Make no mistake, Monte Kiffin could leave 'SC tomorrow and would be snatched by an NFL team in two seconds. His scheme works but only if the players take the time to learn it and with the NCAA time limitations on practice that is tough on college athletes.
So, that means the Kiffin's need to figure out how right the ship. There is a bond here that both men feel and they will find a way to make it work...
"Can you imagine leaving something you love to take care of your child, and then to feel like you've let him down?" Lane said. "I keep telling my father that it's about all of us, but he's not hearing that."
It's just hurting Monte, period, sometimes even costing the famed workaholic even the few hours of sleep that he gets in the downtown hotel where he stays during the week.
"Oh, golly gee yes, it bothers me, you feel like you are letting everyone down, and then add the fact that it's my son?" Monte said. "Yeah, it's tough."
Some of it is scheme, some of it is talent or lack there of.
As I have noted before we are now seeing the repercussions of the recruiting misses or lapses at the end of the Pete Carroll era.
I get it...Burfict was never getting into USC. Te'o obviously had everyone fooled and how could anyone foresee the career ending injury of Frankie Telfort and the possible career ending injury of Jarvis Jones.
I am not interested in blaming Carroll...that chapter is closed but there are some lingering affects.
Where we are is where we are and we have to play the hand we are dealt. This team needs to dig its way out of this hole. The depth issue isn't going to get any easier with the meat of the scholarship reductions hitting us next season. This program, players and staff as a whole, have to dig down deep to play better football.
So the dance continues, this time with the son telling the father that the defense needs to be tweaked, and quick.
"Yes, he has said something to me about that, we've discussed it, and I agree," Monte said. "We'll keep working. We'll get it right."
Does it need to be tweaked or completely revamped?
I know the Tampa 2 works but if the players aren't grasping it something needs to change...and it has to change fast. Playing Stanford is playing a more conventional offense. No gimmicky spread or fly sweep sets. Stanford is going to want to punch 'SC in the mouth and hard. So, 'SC has to man up and go toe to toe with Harbaugh's boys.
Do they have the mettle to overcome the poor performances we have seen over the past five weeks?
It only takes a couple of plays for things to click. We have seen some flashes of what might be but the flash hasn't been sustained enough to light a fire.
I do not put much stock in the revenge aspect of this game from last years beat down. These kids are just trying get through this season without having to worry about last season and all mess of the off season.