In the midst of one of few off-weeks during the season, the Trojans went through multiple practices battling a new, but equally formidable adversary, and that monster can be named -- Beat The Heat Wave in Los Angeles.
Many players who were handling nagging injuries, like Leonard Williams, Randall Telfer and Damien Mama, were given a smaller workload during practice.
In terms of handling the heat, which tipped the barometer as the practice continued to fire through on Cromwell Field, players recognized the value of top-class conditioning. "It's very important," cornerback Chris Hawkins said.
Practicing on the turf, something that USC does not regularly go through during the season, can present its own set of challenges. Trying to break down tape of a brutal floodgates that ensued against Boston College, the Trojans' defense went right back to work battling against the first-team offense.
"We as players ourselves take responsibility for everything and anything that happens on the field," said defensive lineman Cody Temple, who was one of the Trojans' used to obscene heat, being a Bakersfield native.
As the seasons shift from fall to winter, a time filled with tougher conference games and exemplary responsibility to perform against the best competition, the burning sense on Cromwell Field was that the heat is merely another obstacle.
"We go to Arizona in two weeks and it's like 100 degrees out there as well. It's something you have to get accustomed to like somebody like Washington State, who always has the disadvantage because they aren't adjusted to the heat," Chris Hawkins laments. "We have an advantage, from California being in the heat, we just gotta go out and play."
For the players who spend most of their time in the trenches, a battle ground for hot, sweaty clashes of fury -- even during a bye week from practice -- the intensity remains solely focused on beating the heat, so to speak.
"You don’t really think about it, as an athlete," Cody Temple said. "You really block out the outside noise. It can be with negative talk, opponents, trying to blow people up, knock them down. It really doesn’t matter."
Head coach Steve Sarkisian has emphasized the importance of conditioning, utilizing a variety of players at different positions from his first day on the job. Whether that be placing Adoree' Jackson on both sides of the ball, rolling Su'a Cravens up at the Dollar or even rotating two waves of offensive lineman in on the first team, USC's going to be flexible.
Despite the near-record heat, both on the coaching staff and Los Angeles in general, USC football has quite the reputation for sweating profusely over on Cromwell Field.