...so how will USC respond?
When I heard that Ty Willingham had been fired from the University of Washington the first thing that came to my mind was that Willigham's players are going to put a little extra effort into Saturday's game. This is typical human nature as the players, for the most part, are loyal to Willingham and will probably take his firing pesonally.
Seems like I am not the only one...
"I think it definitely adds some spice to the game," USC offensive guard Jeff Byers said. "Their guys are going to be out and ready to play. They'll play good football. There's no question they have good athletes.
"We're expecting them to come out and play really well."
Carroll met with the media Tuesday at his weekly luncheon, and he said the Huskies could react to the news one of two ways.
Either the team could have any life sucked out of it, or as the Trojans expect, the Huskies could rally around the coach they've played for over the past four seasons.
"I think with the leadership they have and the strength of Tyrone, the way he's always handled his teams and all, they're going to be tough," Carroll said. "They're going to bring their best…
"I know I'm sure they have a really strong feeling about representing and doing a great job for him."
Willingham's hoping the same thing, that his resignation will be a rallying point for a team that's struggled epically in six-of-seven games.
Yeap, the Huskies will be fired up in order to stand tall for their coach. I have seldom seen a team in these circumstances outright flop. There is always some spirited play even if the team does lose they usually put up a hell of a fight. Even without QB Jake Locker in the game Willingham's player will answer the call and give it all they can.
This is all about pride now. It is Willingham's fault that this team has underacheived this season but with the final card played on Monday expect the players to take it personally and play like their lives are on the line. Of course if they put up a stellar performance, regardless of outcome, the question will be asked where was this type of performance before Willinghame was fired that could have saved his job?
UW has a tough hill to climb but so did Stanford so once again USC has to be mindful not to over look the Huskies as they send Ty off on his swan song.
The other thing to watch is how SC responds after another lack luster offensive performance against Arizona last weekend. USC is heading into its "home stretch" part of the season...the month of November.
Seven seasons. Twenty-three games. Not a single loss.But his team, favored to win a national championship after pounding Ohio State in September, has looked less than invincible ever since. Saturday's performance prompted the question: Can the Trojans keep their slim title hopes alive with another perfect November?
Maybe that's why Carroll sounded so upbeat after a tough and occasionally ugly 17-10 victory over Arizona on Saturday night.
"We're getting this thing moving," he said. "It will only get stronger for us, I feel, as we go down the road."
"There's a lot of times we look like a championship team," receiver Damian Williams said, "and there's a lot of times we look like we haven't played football."
That's the truth...
I got an even bigger kick out of this.
In the locker room at Arizona, quarterback Mark Sanchez kept going back to a missed connection with receiver Patrick Turner early on, USC settling for a field goal. "I think if I hit the first pass of the game, it might change the complexion of it," he said.
It wasn't just one throw. Though they rank second among Pacific 10 Conference teams in yards and points per game, the Trojans have suffered flat spots.
"I don't know why," offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian said. "We have one good game and take a step back. Have another good game and take a step back."
Make something up, anything but don't say you don't know. I mean you're coaching him Steve, you mean to tell me you have no clue?
Is it the execution?
Is it the complexity of the plays?
Is it the personnel?
Please tell us you have some clue as to why Sanchez is lights out one week then then horrendous the next. We know Sanchez is emotional but what are you doing to keep those emotions in check. I never saw Palmer or Leinart hang on to a blown play the way Sanchez says he did on Saturday night. Maybe people are right Norm Chow really does know how to develop players both on the field and in their heads and while I wouldn't expect Sarkisian to be anywhere close to managing his players the way Chow would I would expect to see some progress instead of saying "I don't know".
Once again the stars are alinged for SC to fall with a motivated Huskie team and an offense that still seems like it's walking around blind without a cane with the up and down performances. It's easy to write UW off because of their record and the current state of their program But SC has been burned before so they once agin need to be mindful of the mine field ahead.