Remember when we were kids in high school and junior high and when we saw a substitute teacher walk into our respective classrooms?
The feeling that one would get when this happened was one of joy, excitement, and relief. This positive feeling of happiness is derived from one being able to break away from the status quo, or get a chance to, in the word's of the 'Mighty Ducks''s Gordon Bombay, "Change it up!"
A lot of times these substitute teachers are long-term subjects and through that time, they build a long standing relationship with students through their remarkably content and energetic persona, however, the students are struggling to perform well in their academia because their new teacher isn't focusing much on the material at hand.
Does all of the above sound familiar? Well...
Once upon a time, Principal Pat Haden walked into the USC football classroom after they performed poorly on a test and told the players, "Mr. Kiffin has been fired, and Mr. Orgeron here will take his place for the rest of the school year."
The players then shouted at the news in excitement, relieved to have Mr. Kiffin off of their backs and optimistic about a new chapter in USC football.
The man they called Mr. O, with a southern smile on his face, came into work the next day and let his students have fun again and this wasn't subtle. He let outsiders back into class, brought the team cookies, chicken and waffles, and even let them sing and dance again.
The students did not have a test that week so they enjoyed their time off, but they came back the next week pumped up for their first exam under the instruction of their new teacher. It was awkward timing for a test on a Thursday night at the Coliseum against Arizona, but Mr. Orgeron and his students narrowly passed.
However, they would not fare well the following week against their rivals in a test where students lacked discipline, made silly mistakes, missed simple concepts, and ultimately failed. Are these slips and blunders a result of the students not having a full-time head coach?
Putting the short story aside, the Trojans self-destructed in South Bend, committing 11 penalties for 95 yards. Junior kicker Andre Heidari also did not play well, missing field goals from 40 and 46 yards out that ultimately made the difference in the game. Finally, Orgeron made an interesting decision to forego a 43-yard field goal and go for it on 4th and 20.
These mistakes, along with nagging injuries, cost the the team a huge rivalry win that would have given the Trojans a big momentum boost heading into the rest of Pac-12 play.
Although the team is now having fun in practice, Orgeron needs to instill some form of discipline into his players in order to cut out these errors and faults that cost them the game on Saturday.
The Notre Dame game not only served as a learning experience for USC players, but also for Orgeron as a 'teacher' on the sidelines again.