The starting unit got the day off in practice Thursday, giving backups an opportunity to showcase their skills at the Trojan Bowl in a cross-team scrimmage inspired from Coach Orgeron's experience with the University of Miami.
Players from up and down the depth chart received valuable reps in practice for game-like situations that came off rather game like. "I knew this week that I had to change, we did everything we could to change," said Coach Orgeron "I know our guys are in good spirits and I could feel the change."
"I hope that I coach with a lot of confidence, and relaxed as I can be with the guys that are gonna go out prepare well, and hopefully play well," Orgeron said about his demeanor through two practices as interim head coach.
During practice itself, the first and second stringers mostly served as assistant coaches leading walk-ons and injury-riddled contributors in a full-contact scrimmage. Captain Marcus Martin led the offense in a short-session scrimmage against the defense, which caps yet another fierce battle between these rivals, who were led by fellow captain and vocal leader Devon Kennard.
"They were calling plays," Orgeron said, describing the first-ever Trojan Bowl which hyped players up all week long in anticipation for the lighter day of practice. "Doing all kind of crazy stuff and really having fun. I thought it was excellent. Guys got fired up for it (at Miami) just like today and we always did it during an open date."
Today's practice was the funnest practice i have ever been apart of, Love it !! #FirstTrojanBowl— Dion Bailey (@dbailey_18) October 4, 2013
Now taking the reigns for his second-ever stint as head coach in the collegiate ranks, Orgeron wants to implement some policies he never could fathom trying out during his tenure with Ole Miss.
Favoring rest and some fun instead of another high-intensity practice, the team bonding exercise brought a fair share of excitement back to the practice field in the midst of a rather challenging week for the entire program.
"You got to role with the punches and nothing is permanent except this university," said Dion Bailey, assessing the Trojans 3-2 start to the regular season. "We gotta pick off where we left off, just everybody having great energy, a lot of want to and we are having a great bye week."
Players were packing the visors, coach gear and fun-loving attitude towards the Trojan Bowl. "Its the only opportunity we have all season to do this, and I think it just refreshes everybody spirits," said player-coach Devon Kennard.
Following practice, the Trojans were treated to yet another treat under the new regime devouring a fancy feast from Los Angeles favorite Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles.
This comes as yet another move by Orgeron and company to liven things up for the players. With the much-needed bye week coming to a close, this upcoming weekend will be time to strap up the laces and prepare for Arizona Game Week.
"Obviously things are gonna get serious, be we are heading into that direction," coach Orgeron said on Trojans Live, the USC-centered radio program on KFWB News 980 Los Angeles which also featured Leonard Williams, Justin Davis, Women's Basketball Center Cassie Harberts, JK McKay and former USC-star Shaun Cody.
That being said, this program will continue to work hard but it will all based with some good-old fun. "We are gonna have fun, just like we have been doing it before, Orgeron said, before commenting on the exciting future that lies ahead for a program that he says has been completely written off. "Expect fire and passion from the Coliseum."