USC Football: What players are saying following loss

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

At a time where faith in the system is certainly fading, following a dissapointing upset loss to the Washington State Cougars, players across the gridiron remain confident in their abilities to win football games moving forward.

Lane Kiffin heard the crowd's derisive jeers throughout the game, and particularly at the end."It is what it is. I've got to coach better. We've got to play better. That's not a performance that anybody should have to pay to see," he said following the Trojans sixth loss in their last eight games and first loss to WSU since 2002.

That being said, players avoided the echoing distractions beckoning from their visibly frustrated home fan base."Its out of our control. We were worried about the game," according to captain Devon Kennard, who participated in the Trojan Marching Band Jock Rally Friday night, garnering support for the cause this weekend.

It all begins and ends with the quarterback position for the Trojans, and both Cody Kessler and Max Wittek took responsibility for their play."It did affect us," Wittek said of the poor performance on offense and the crowds less than positive response. "I have to watch the film, and see what I can improve."

"When your offense only passes for 50 yards, that’s just embarrassing," quarterback Cody Kessler said. The man who replaced him, throwing to the tune of 13 yards on three completions, Wittek was even tempered about moving forward."Taking good, taking bad and on offense, we need to collectively get back together," Wittek said post game.

As the Cougars were storming the field in celebratory fashion, the Trojans ran back through the Coliseum tunnel with despondent looks on their faces following one of the most dissapointing and lackluster performance in the Lane Kiffin era. "It's tough, I think everybody in the locker room feels it," according to Devon Kennard. "We have to go back to work on offense and defense and special teams and come back next week."

While most of the players looked rather despondent, along with visible frustration voiced from players in the locker room, the mood was certainly palpable around the locker room."Guys are hurting. You'd be upset if you didn't feel that way," according to captain Devon Kennard."It's a sign of a close group that's upset about a loss."

Following a rather one-dimensional performance, featuring over 80-percent of the offense stemming from one back, the Trojans leading contributor recognized the need for change on his side of the ball. "I think the offense as a whole, we need to come together and build off each other." Tre Madden said following his 156-yard rushing performance on the ground."We didn't have any sync or consistency and that falls on everybody."

For an entire team searching for true identity from their roster, most notably a strong effort from all three units for an entire 60 minutes, captain and play-making options like Marqise Lee break down the recents struggles."Man we have lots of freshman on this team, it take time to mature, but we need to improve," Marqise Lee poses as a major sign of concern following the three-point loss.

The conversation focused squarely upon the offense which only scored seven points in the game, fueled mainly by a fumble forced by the defense leading to prime field position for the Kessler lone four-yard scamper."We have faith in the offense. We definitely still believe in them and are going to continue to work," Defensive stalwart Devon Kennard said."We know they're getting better and better, and we need to improve,too."

With another upset-minded squad in Boston College heading to the Coliseum, the Trojans have big plans for some of the biggest and most scrutinized days to come."We need to come out and have high energy practices from the start," according to Max Wittek. "We can't let that performance carry into next week."

That sentiment was preached unanimously by defensive leaders Dion Bailey, Su'a Cravens and George Uko as they exited the Locker Room Saturday night. In conclusion, players are anxiously awaiting practice on Monday looking to address their early-season concerns on film before the true Pac-12 grind unfolds on the schedule.

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