On a beautiful early-autumn Wednesday afternoon, the Ed Orgeron era officially began for USC. If the first practice is any indication, we just might be in for a return to the good ol' days of USC football.
The Trojans took to Twitter to express their elation about the new regime:
First practice with coach O was LIVE!!— Devon Kennard (@DevonKennard42) October 3, 2013
Awesome first practice! Coach O is the man— Scott Starr (@SS47ERA) October 3, 2013
It wasn't just the players who noticed the difference in the feel of practice, either.
Many USC beat writers tweeted candidly about their first day behind the gates of Howard Jones Field in over five weeks.
Way, way, way more laughing during Orgeron's media scrum. #USC— Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy) October 3, 2013
Orgeron joked he missed the media as to why he opened practices. Wanted to get back to what it was like under Pete Carroll. #USC— Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy) October 3, 2013
Coach Orgeron himself even got in on the fun, speaking jovially with the media and even cracking a few jokes, per Rich Hammond of The Orange County Register.
Orgeron, on restoring sweets to training-table meals: “Feed a lineman a cookie, he’s happy.”— Rich Hammond (@RegisterUSC) October 3, 2013
And that's exactly what this first day back during the bye week was for the Trojans: fun.
"It was a lot of fun," senior tight end Randall Telfer said. "There was a lot of emphasis on competition."
Telfer said that Orgeron is very engaging and energetic on the sideline, really motivating the players to work harder.
It's only been one practice, but already Telfer notices a significant change of pace. "Our offense especially will be more aggressive," he said of what the Trojans can expect under Coach Orgeron.
Yes, he, too, is excited about the cookies. "As little as it is, we've been missing out on them for three years!" he said.
The interim head coach said he planned to bring a little fun back to Troy, and so far, he's delivering on his word. For the Trojans, it means they can move away from the uptight style of the Lane Kiffin era and let their hair down under Orgeron.
With offensive coordinator Clay Helton now calling the plays, we can also expect more members of the offense to be engaged on a regular basis. In this practice, the tight ends in particular got a lot more looks than they previously did under Kiffin, according to LA Daily News' Scott Wolf.
Unlike former head coach Lane Kiffin, Orgeron had no problem disclosing injury updates to the media. Per USC's Twitter feed, Silas Redd will make his season debut against Arizona, having missed the first five weeks due to a knee injury.
USC has a bye week, and the timing for transition could not have been more ideal. It has a week-and-a-half to recenter and adjust to Coach Orgeron's style of leadership, and to go into its home tilt with the Arizona Wildcats at its highest level of competition.
While USC still has much to prove—and not a whole lot of healthy players to do it with, per Hammond—Coach Orgeron is already off to a good start. The players openly express their fondness of him and seem eager to start over with a new mentality.
And hey, we just might get lucky and see classic Coach Orgeron, where he rips off his shirt in a fit of inspiring rage. Then again, we could get lucky and see none of that at all.
All quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise stated.