The words of the late Johnny Unitas set the tone for me as the season approaches.
A guy who I work with went to Baylor and we were talking about the upcoming season. He wanted to know my thoughts about SC. This is the same guy who gave me a little trash talk about the Rose Bowl and predicted a Texas win so I knew he was up on his views about Texas.
I informed him that while there are some questions, SC has been in this position before in 2003. I noted that while his beloved Horns also have a lot of talent they are replacing the whole key to their winning the NC this year with a freshman. JDB may not have had a whole lot of game time in the past few years but he has some time to get comfortable with the concept of the offense.
A number of people made some comments to me that USC had a month to prepare and scheme against Vince Young but fell short in their loss to Texas. That's true, but with the amount of attention that SC had in 2005 they obviously responded very well in getting to the NC Game. Watch the second half closely and you will some courageous efforts in how SC was able to recover from a flat first half. Unfortunately, we witnessed one of the greatest performances in the history of CFB that kept USC from making history.
Quite simply I would take Pete Carroll any day of the week when it comes to preparation. His efforts consistently produce results. Coach Carroll knows this and motivates his players constantly. He's lost talented players before and has produced results.
There is no question that this is the guy I want running my team.
Photo Courtesy of ESPN U
From this past weekends Press-Enterprise:
"We know how to do this. That's what gives us the confidence we can do it again," Carroll said.
Ask any 2006 Trojan and he can repeat the mantra -- "Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer and Troy Polamalu and Justin Fargas and Kenechi Udeze left for the NFL, and all we did was win a national championship" -- that Carroll has hammered into their heads.
Of course this year he will have to do it with a lot of freshman but he's been in that situation before and we know how those results turned out.
Or after losing 11 players from last year's record-breaking bunch to the NFL.
"But we have been there with freshman running backs," Carroll said of the way Reggie Bush and LenDale White developed over the course of their freshman years in Carroll's first national championship season in 2003. "We know that that can work."
But there's another question, and Carroll doesn't hesitate to ask it.
"Can they do it?" Carroll asked last week. "Nobody knows."
He's not into predictions, Carroll said, just possibilities.
I think the pressures off this year not on. Some will want to see how this team responds after the disappointment on Jan. 4th but with all the attention on ND and tOSU this season Sc can focus on the games and not the hype that consumed this program last year. I think you will see the celebrity presence diminish but not the fans enthusiasm. I bet attendance will be up this year.
Even with all the questions on the offense, SC's defense is much improved with the front seven one of the best D-1 units this year. With the Rose Bowl loss and off field issues behind them this team will be more focused and be on a mission to prove that they're not done yet. It is important that someone step up and be the leader and face of this team as was discussed in this post by USCLink. Once that happens this team will gel quickly and should well on their way to another successful season.
Will they go undefeated? I don't know, most think that it's unlikely, but some of the other top teams in the preseason poll also have a lot of questions so it should be interesting as the season progresses. I for one can't wait; I think they will do well.
Who's Not Ready!