Sorry for not having this up sooner. Its been a really bad week for me.
In this week's installment of five questions, we trade five with our USC affiliate Conquest Chronicles. You can view my responses to their questions over at that site. Many thanks to Conquest Chronicles for joining us, here goes:
ADQ:The Beavers? Really? What went wrong, and how are Trojan fans dealing with the loss?
CC:It's obvious that most SC fans were extremely disappointed with loss. You can look at this game in a number of ways. I think that this young team has been playing with fire since the Arizona game. I think at times that they have been living off the ghosts of last season and at times they seem to have bought a little too much into their own hype. I also think that with the tremendous run that SC has put together over the years opposing teams will tend to get up more for their game against SC than other games. With SC coming back to the pack, so-to-speak, opposing teams want to exact a little revenge for past beat downs. The loss to the Beavers is exactly what this team needed, a kick to the teeth. I think this team got the message and will now respond.
ADQ: What is your opinion of the play of John David Booty? I hear that many Trojans fans are not sold on him.
CC: I think Booty has played well this year, though at times you can see he forces it just a bit. I think he is still feeling his way around the offense. He has not benefited from having consistent play from his wide receivers so at times his game has looked sloppy to some. Many SC fans often compare Booty to Leinart, which is not fair. They are 2 different QB's who had different weapons to choose from. I think he has done well with making do with the talent that he has around him but now I think he needs to take charge of this team and start cracking heads if sees players not stepping up.
Another thing that I think gets over looked is that this is now Kiffin and Sarkisian's offense, this their show and I think they are still feeling their way through, especially with all the se young players. They may have had last season to get things up and running but they did it with some best players college football has ever seen but now they are doing it with a lot of unknowns. There is no more residue of the Norm Chow era.
ADQ: Why has this team had so much trouble putting teams away?
CC: I think it goes back to the age and experience factor. There was a lot of talk about the defense this year was more experienced than last year, but savvy QB's like Matt Moore and Alex Brink have found ways to pick the defense apart and use that inexperience to keep games close or in Moore's case outright win. On the offense, our play has been inconsistent and obviously injuries have played a big part by thrusting these young players into prominent roles but you have to play the hand you are dealt and sometimes the only way you learn is trial by fire.
ADQ: Can we get an update on Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith? Are they finally healthy?
CC: It looks like both Jarrett and Smith are good to go. I think Steve Smith has really stood out this year and made a strong impression in regards to his future after he leaves the college ranks. Jarrett's injury issues have also made some speculate that he may be thinking more about the future than the here and now. I don't think that's true but this is not the same Jarrett that we have seen over the past couple of seasons. Regardless of injuries champions find a way to play through it. I think they will both contribute solidly in this game.
ADQ: Unless some kind of miracle happens, USC will not be going to the national title game. Is this season seen as a failure?
CC: Maybe to the irrational fan, but to most fans it will be seen as a disappointment but not a failure. You can't go to the title game every year and SC has been fortunate to have been to the last two title games, though it should have been the last three, so that kind of success tends to get some fans to expect to be there every season. I have been going to games since the early 70's with my dad and I remember the lean years so if we don't get there this year yes I will be disappointed but I also know that we will be set pretty good for next year.
And a bonus question:
ADQ: What is the key to a Duck victory in the Coliseum?
CC: Defense will be the key. Keeping the ball out of Jarrett and Smith's hands will force SC to run the ball and we have been a little inconsistent in that department. On the other hand SC's defense will have its hands full with the UO running game and a mobile Dennis Dixon.
Side Note: Watching this team over the years has been an absolute joy. Pete Carroll has been masterful in his recruiting and positive attitude. He has always found a way to get his players up for a game and they have responded. While this year has been a little different than the last three there is not another team in the country that wouldn't trade places with us in a New York minute! Yes, we have had some issues both on and off the field but you have to take the good with the bad that's part of being a fan but I wouldn't trade what we have experienced over the past few seasons with any other program.