Where's USC's Swagger? Where's the Desire? Where's the Defense?

Robert GardnerSenior Analyst IOctober 31, 2009

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 31: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans is not happy after missing an open receiver in the second quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on October 31, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Oh how the mighty have fallen. The once feared Trojans of USC have been decimated by both the NFL Draft and injuries. The Men of Troy entered into the 2009 season at their most vulnerable since Pete Carroll first year as head coach, but that is not what lead to the embarrassing loss tonight in Eugene, Oregon.

Regardless of the youth and the injuries this Trojan team was still among the most talented in the country. But tonight the Trojans ran into a buzz saw in a hostile environment.

I do not want to take anything away from the Ducks because they played a nearly flawless game and took it to the Trojans in every aspect. The Ducks were the better team tonight and as much as it pains me to say this, they wanted it more.

Therein lies the problem. The Trojans did not lose this game because they did not have the talent or the tools. The Trojans lost tonight because they did not want it as much as the Ducks from Eugene.

If there has been one constant in the Pete Carroll era it has to be the swagger that the Trojans play with. That swagger was completely missing from this team tonight. There was no confidence in the play on the field especially from the defense.

It's more than just the lack of swagger however, the Trojans showed no desire to win the game. It seemed that once the Ducks took the lead for the first time the Trojans knew that they would not be pulling this one out. Once down USC lacked the desire to fight their way back and steal this game inside Autzen Stadium.

Tonight the Trojans proved that it is not talent alone that will win games and championships but rather heart and passion. Heart and passion are what the Ducks brought to the table tonight, and they now have an inside track to the Pac-10 title.

What do the Trojans do now?

It’s simple; they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and do what Trojans do...Fight On!

This season is far from over and there are many improvements that can be made. This team needs to get back to basics and find the fire and swagger that they have lost somewhere along the way.