When's the last time you saw a USC football player dance? I'm not talking a little shuffle; I'm talking real, genuine dancing. For me it has to be four years ago at Ohio State with Seven Nation Army blaring in the background.
Yet, here the Trojans were Friday night, dancing in the middle of the third quarter. Hayes Pullard and the defense bouncing around on the field, everyone else (coaches included) following suit on the sideline.
Maybe it's dumb to talk about Hayes Pullard, Leonard Williams and the rest of the Trojans dancing. Maybe you look at the box score after the Trojan victory over Oregon State and see two rushers go over 100 yards.
You look to an efficient Cody Kessler, a healthy Marqise Lee and a characteristically dominant defense and know exactly why USC ended its Corvallis losing streak.
But I'd rather talk about the dancing.
This may not be So You Think You Can Dance but the Trojans get a 10 on chemistry for this routine. Is there any chance we see the team dancing on the field five weeks ago?
Ed Orgeron has managed to change the culture of the team in four short weeks. They have gone from a group that look like they would rather lose than interact with one another to a group that is so excited to be playing football they're dancing.
Isn't that what this is all about? The players on this team love playing football for Ed Orgeron. They love playing football for him so much they have to dance because football doesn't adequately let them express their joy. They lift him on their shoulders after a Friday night game in Corvallis and parade him around like he's Marc Antony.
When Notre Dame beat USC a couple of weeks back the team sounded devastated. But to go back and read those quotes it wasn't because they lost to the Fighting Irish. It was because they couldn't get Coach O a win against the Irish.
Everything this team does tells Pat Haden they want coach O back. Every time Buck Allen runs for another touchdown or Silas Redd picks up an extra four yards he has no business gaining it's a testament to how much they love playing for their current coach. Every time the defense comes up with a difficult stop or a big time sack they're trying to show the world what Orgeron means to them.
Now, Silas Redd would be running hard and George Uko would be slicing through offensive lines regardless. But not with the attitude they are now and not with the ferocity.
These guys love Ed Orgeron and it's for reasons greater than the confections on the training table. It's because he offers affirmation as often as he does sweets.
How many times can we watch a seemingly unimportant game (on the national level) end with Coach O being drenched by Gatorade? How many times can we hear these players say they just want to win for Coach O before we start realizing how important he is to the team?
Everything these guys do is a message to Pat Haden that he has to give Coach O a real chance to lead this program. From the Gatorade to the obvious love to the lifting him up like a conquering general this team wants to keep playing for Coach O.
And how could they not? He has made playing football fun again for a group of young men who came to USC to win and have fun, not necessarily in that order.
My dad always told me a man should "dance with the one who brought you." Pat Haden may have failed that test but if he looks close enough at Friday night's sideline, he'll see Ed Orgeron bouncing around in the middle of it all; and he'll realize his team already picked his next dance partner for him.