The talk of the town surrounding the football over the past few days has centered on the miss communication about a players-only meeting, that turned out to be way less formal than what we all thought from the start.
Taking his first hacks at the explanation was USC coach Lane Kiffin, who addressed the controversy of why Marqise Lee said there was a players-only meeting yesterday."I don't know why Marqise said (there was a meeting)," Kiffin said. "He said he got flustered talking to you guys. There was no players-only meeting."
Following another physical day of practice in full pads in amongst preparation for the Boston College rushing attack, captain Hayes Pullard firmly settled what was behind the meeting of the minds Sunday. "It wasn't like a full-out meeting," Pullard said, before adding thoughts about the direction of the team. "We talked about turning it around and keeping it positive. It was a (smaller) group and a lot of texts were flying around."
The next challenge on the schedule comes from the Eagles (2-0) physical rushing attack led by Andre Williams who has accumulated 318 yards rushing in two games this season. The Trojans have done their part against the run, leading the nation in average yards rushing per carry, and will not be surprised by what comes their way Saturday.
"(Ya) We face our offense every day, they always run the ball," Pullard said about whether his unit can adjust from pass-happy to run-oriented schemes." In the midst of a major refocusing measure, looking to avenge a difficult loss at the hands of the Cougars, USC's top-notch defense wants to set the tone from the opening snap.
The mastermind behind it all took center stage after practice. The Trojans new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast discussed some of his best performers including improved cornerback Torin Harris. "For a long period of time, that was the best he played," referring to Harris' play against Washington State last week.
Not only do the Trojan player recognize the stiff challenge presented their way, the Stanford-like ground attack according to Kiffin should be a great barometer for what this defense can accomplish in Pac-12 play. "He's a very physical runner," said defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast referring to Williams. "We're going to need all hands on deck to control him. He's very impressive and he gets better as the game goes on."
While also commenting on many of his other players, Pendergast took a shine to the Harris recovery project that has truly tested the tenured head coach. "Thats the challenge as a coach, you are here to develop players," Pendergast adds about installing the new-look "52" defense. "Whether its at the NFL or in College, I take in pride in developing my players. He has the chance to be a really good corner."
The Trojans will certainly need plenty of contributions from their top-flight defense if they are to regain any confidence, desperately looking to erase negative thoughts from last weekend's letdown. Let it be known folks, this team continues to sound like a group practicing with a major chip on their shoulder on both sides of the ball.