One would think that after two-year bowl ban, you, your staff and your players would be thankful to be playing in any bowl game. Again, we know full well that the Sun Bowl isn't where we had hoped to see our Trojans at season's end, but it could have been worse.
Still, if you want to improve our team's lot in life, maybe the focus should be more on winning regular-season games than taking out our frustrations on the good people of El Paso—who had nothing but respect for us, at least before our constant derision of them.
Of course, in order to win more games during the regular season, something needs to change.
Try as we might, USC isn't going to be able to skate by on reputation alone any more. After our embarrassment in the wake of Pete Carroll and “No. 5,” the rest of the conference has had time to catch up. Oregon, already nipping at our heels, is now a bona fide national power. Heck, even Stanford is beating us year after year.
If all of that wasn't bad enough, the kids across town in their cute blue uniforms beat us!
It seems all of the problems the team had last season could be summed up in one game: the season finale against Notre Dame. You had plenty of opportunities to change the momentum of the game, particularly late. With just under six minutes left, down by nine, it looked as if we might finally capture a little momentum with a spectacular completion by Max Wittek to Marqise Lee for 53 yards all the way to the Notre Dame two-yard line.
Two yards, seven points and a two-point game. A false start moved us back to the seven, but the Irish bailed you out with two pass interference calls in the end zone. It was 1st-and-goal from the one. Cake.
Four plays to gain just three feet. The result? Zero points.
Afterward, you said, “You gotta make those plays. You'd like to think with that many snaps, you could score a touchdown.”
No kidding. And there's something to be said about executing plays, but you really weren't blaming the players, were you? And what about the plays called? Did you really not see any game tape on Notre Dame before hand? You can't honestly tell us that you didn't know the Fighting Irish were capable of that kind of goal-line stand, especially after what they had been doing to teams—including Stanford—all season long.
Again, while execution is critical, perhaps we also need to look at which plays the players are being asked to execute.