Two simple words, but ones that reflect a new mindset for the Trojans in 2013.
After 2012 brought a boatload of disappointment in the form of a 7-6 record, the coaching staff and the players themselves realized that if things were to change for the better this year, it would have to come about as a result of a new philosophy—one that eliminated the mistakes that haunted the Trojans last year.
It was with this in mind that Lane Kiffin and his staff looked within, and in doing so, may have found the key to success for USC in 2013.
You see, if one was to review the problems that manifested in last year's debacle, there were three primary issues that could be blamed. In no particular order, turnovers, penalties and injuries were the primary culprits for last year's face plant.
Which brings us back to those two words: "assignment perfect."
This is the new rallying cry for the staff and players, and it boils down to coaching and executing. While this may not help with injuries, having players perform their assignments correctly will certainly help with the turnovers and penalties.
The notion here is that if the players take care of their responsibilities each and every play, USC will be just fine this year.
And the players are certainly buying in as well.
Tight end Randall Telfer was interviewed by Scout.com's Kristen Rodgers (paid link) about the new coaching philosophy, and she quotes Telfer saying the team is focusing on being assignment perfect, a reoccurring motif that the coaches are instilling in the Trojans.
"That's a term (assignment perfect) we throw around a lot," said Telfer. "Our special teams coach preaches that a lot, being a technician and a master of our craft."
But the term carries meaning for more than Telfer.
True freshman Kenny Bigelow is also preaching this new mantra.
In another article by Rodgers (paid link), the big defensive tackle had this to say about the emphasis on getting the job done individually each and every play:
"Right now everybody wants to be assignment perfect," he said . "That's something we preach in our special teams meetings and something we talk about in our individual team meetings all the time. We want to be assignment perfect all the times, so we just drill ourselves."
It sounds like the coaching staff is working hard to eliminate the mistakes that ruined USC's season last year.
And while "assignment perfect" may not have a catchy ring to it, it sure as hell beats the slogan USC fans were singing after 2012:
"Wait until next year."