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USC Football: Pieces Finally Falling Into Place For Thursday Night

Less than 48 hours until the opening kickoff of the Ed Orgeron era, the program looks truly ready to embrace the challenge of climbing out of its horrendous 0-2 start in Pac-12 play one play at a time.

Bleacher Report

In what seems like a fortnight of narrative with the excitement and positive vibes surround the program, interim head coach Ed Orgeron spent his final hours giving USC fans a brief taste of what to expect.

"Come Thursday, I'm gonna be a little fired up," Orgeron said, following a lighter practice on Tuesday. "We've planted the seed all week and most of the talk has been done."

Going through the bumps and bruises of yet another high-tempo practice in preparation for game day, players and even coaches alike seem ready to embrace the hype and take the field in grand fashion.

Sentiments that have been stressed from no other than USC alum, Heisman Trophy Winner and NFL Hall of Famer Marcus Allen, who returned once again to campus (ran through tunnel vs. Boston College) Tuesday to inspire his Trojans.

"We have set the bar high, but we're not going to lower it for anybody. It is up to you guys to not only reach it, go beyond it. Set a new standard," Allen told the USC Blog RIPSIT, talking about his pre-practice motivational speech.

Mired as a good friend and important mentor for the players, Coach Orgeron stressed the importance of incorporating legends back into the program throughout the rest of the season. "I think it's really important. We have a great tradition here. We need to lean on these guys, and these guys teach the younger guys how they did it."

All that being said, the Trojans suit up for the first time since September 21st looking to wash away horrendous memories capped by a 28-0 run in the third quarter, effectively placing the nail in former coach Lane Kiffin's coffin.

What seems now distant memories, Coach Orgeron plans to spice things up on the sideline, by truly being himself from the opening kickoff. "Im gonna be there to encourage, to show enthusiasm and keep things going along," Orgeron profoundly stated, amongst many of the changes fans should expect Thursday night.

Best known for his post-game jobs back from the Coliseum grounds to his office in the McKay Center, coach Orgeron lives and breathes Trojan football on game day expecting nothing less from his players. While injury concerns continue to surface heading into the third Pac-12 game, "Coach O" continues to remain positive in a classically intense fashion.

"We've been prepared for this all week and come Thursday night they are going to the Coliseum and they're gonna be ready to go," Orgeron declared Tuesday night, adding that "you should be playing good sound fundamental football and that's where we want to get to, but that's not where we are necessarily at."

The offense will be completely handed over to Coach Clay Helton, who will also be joining forces with his players on the sideline; a move that both he and Orgeron think will vastly benefit the players. That means graduate assistant coach Ross Cummings, who played three seasons at USC from 2008-2010, will reign the sidelines as defensive line coach.

"I think its really gonna help having Clay Helton on the sideline," said Orgeron, who will also be roaming around the sideline helping out the team the way he knows best. "I'm gonna coach toughness, style and energy the whole game with the whole team."

As the Trojans now prepare for the final pep rally and subsequent practice on Wednesday, the program firmly understands the need to balance added excitement with intense preparation as the 3-1 Arizona Wildcats enter the Coliseum with their own motivation following a close road loss at Washington leading into their bye week.

"We don't want to trick people, we want to come out and dominate people," Orgeron says, before cementing his final message hours before the first non-holiday Thursday home game in USC Football history. "Lets see what we do Thursday night, I want to them to fight and compete and see them put energy into the game."