USC football embracing challenge to overcome adversity

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Trojans most recent loss may have been one of the worst games to watch in recent memory, that does not mean the team failed to execute in all three phases of the game which can translate rather well moving forward.

Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but the Trojans truly recognize that change needs to take place this week and players are taking the bulk of the responsibility. Following the wrenching loss at the hands of the Cougars, many of the veteran players took to social media along with a players-only meeting rally the troops for the long journey ahead.

Back on the practice field working away at some of the major concerns in the passing game, coach Kiffin pointed out many of the positives that have been thrown under the bus due to the end result of wins and losses on the field.

"We got a running back that is running the ball very well, our defense is playing phenomenal. Strange as it may seem, things are going very well," Kiffin said about his teams outlook to this point in the season.

Despite not receiving the greatest calling of support in their home opener, players understand the aches and pains their fans suffer but also want to avoid all the distractions. "Fans being fans. They are on the outside not on the inside," Marqise Lee said about the echoes of boo birds that swarmed the Coliseum Saturday night. "Kiffin is going to be there, and we are going to continue to keep it going."

What light shines at the end of the tunnel on the inside? First and foremost, the physicality and toughness in practice has vastly translated over to the field on both sides of the ball. Last season, the Trojans were considered by many fans and opposing teams specifically, to be a rather finesse team that would get pushed around each and every snap.

Thanks to the addition of coach Pendergast along with a new-found commitment to the running game, the Trojans have certainly set the table in most aspects of their game. "One of the things that is going well is how physical we are playing at practice, as opposed to last season," Kiffin points out as a major positive throughout the early portion of the season.

While the poor performance on offense will certainly carry the major headlines for the remainder of the week (arguably so given its ramifications on the season), the team keeps it mind focused on one major aspect. "Just focus on ourselves, we are doing a lot of things really well. We gotta fix the things we are not and improve on those," Kiffin said Tuesday.

Players have moved on while accepting responsibility for their poor performance in the deep-passing game. And If life is going to change on the outside, the Trojans will need a breakout performance from the Trojans Biletnikoff Winner Marqise Lee, who Kiffin says has kind of gotten into his own way the past few weeks.

"He is just so competitive, he wants everybody to do well," Kiffin said about some of the struggles Marqise Lee has been facing this season. "Sometimes that gets him off balance a little bit from just doing his job."

Leaders like Marcus Martin believe the recovery process is evolving, but that his role on the team can help steer this ship. "It's just one of those things where you have to be a team motivator, if you are not looking out for the offense you are looking out for nobody," Martin, one of the two offensive captains said about improving his offense moving forward.

Moving forward, the margin for error will continue to shorten each and every week especially playing in front of the "road-like" atmosphere players and coaches recognized from their vividly upset crowd. Making each and every practice rather crucial in the midst of a substantial recovery process for an equally challenging schedule that lies ahead.

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