BMW

USC 28, UCLA 14

| 4 Comments

10 final looks into the '10 season finale...

  • As Lane Kiffin said to the team and the media after the game (click here for his post-game presser), 119 out of 120 college football teams had the carrot of a bowl game this season.  The Trojans were the only Division-1 or FCS team without postseason motivations.  How much of a factor did that play in the season?  Kiffin does not know nor do I.  While this team has been oft criticized, it's worth remembering that they had nothing to do with the sanctions and the resulting transfers.  They played for nothing but Trojan pride this season and in the end, they achieved that goal.
  • Allen Bradford served as a metaphor for this team.  Perseverance won out over inconsistency.  After five years of waiting patiently for his moment, Bradford found himself taking center stage on the biggest night of the season.  "I just thought if we were going to go down, let's go down with our guy who has been here a long time, who has done a lot of good things for us," Kiffin explained his decision to start Bradford, who he had basically benched for ball-security issues.  USC did not go down.  Instead, A.B. accounted for 259 yards and 2 TDs in an emphatic victory.
  • In the post-game locker room, Kiffin introduced Malcolm Smith as "the UCLA killer."  After a messy fake field goal attempt, the Trojans were on their heels in a 7-7 game with the Bruins driving.  Just like last year, the game turned on a Smith defensive touchdown.  The opportunistic senior scored three times in the final 13 games of his career.
  • Once ahead, the defensive line was able to close it out.  Starting in camp, Kiffin praised the front four as the best unit on the team, but they were never really healthy enough to control games as the coach had hoped.  However, they bossed the show tonight led by Armond Armstead who had two sacks and batted down two passes.  "We knew it was going to be physical going in, but we didn't know we were going to dominate like we did," Armstead said.  "We played really well."
  • In the back of the defense, Nickell Robey has slipped under the radar for the last month or so.  After struggling to find his feet early in the season, the true freshman was the most consistent corner down the stretch highlighted by tonight's performance, which included an interception and a forced fumble.  "I just really wanted to play hard for the seniors because they did not have an opportunity to play for a bowl game," Robey said.   "It's a great feeling knowing that I have come along way from the beginning of the season to now and improved so much."
  • Statistically, Matt Barkley was not good tonight.  The 2011 Heisman candidate (never too early to start the hype!) was just 15/26 for 198 yards with 2 interceptions, but he showed his leadership and guts by playing through a painful injury.  "That sack really got me," Barkley said referring to a first half play, which reaggravated the high ankle sprain.  "I needed to be out there.  The guys needed me and I wanted to be out there with everything in me."
  • Ronald Johnson had to leap some mental hurdles tonight after the crushing drop against Notre Dame.  The senior stayed in the locker room during warm-ups per coach's orders because he expends so much energy before the game.  A well rested RoJo contributed a team-high five catches, but most importantly, he rewrote the ending to his USC career.  "It feels great to come out with a victory in my last game," Johnson said.  "It has definitely been a pleasure to play at USC."
  • What is going on at UCLA?  In a bizarre scene after the game, Rick Neuheisel took the microphone to speak to the fans who had not yet filed out of the Rose Bowl.  The remaining crowd mostly booed the Bruins head coach, who promised to do better next year.  They have a lot of good looking athletes, but they are headed in the wrong direction finishing 4-8 after last year's bowl victory.
  • We'll talk more in the coming weeks about the future of the USC program, but I found this Kiffin post-game quote interesting.  "In a weird way, there is some sense of relief," he said about finishing his first season in charge.  "We can go on to year two now.  We can address our needs in recruiting and build this thing back.  We don't ever want to have this feeling again.  This isn't what USC football is about." 
  • Obviously, the coach is disappointed by an 8-5 record, but given the inherited circumstances, finishing third in the Pac-10 is hardly embarrassing.  Now, this staff can show off their real prowess in recruiting.  As much as getting blue-chip prospects like Robert Woods and Robey, Kiffin wants to fill the reserve ranks with quality depth, which was missing from this depleted roster.
  • I will miss this senior class.  Despite their relative youth, they had wisdom and perspective that made for great interviews and conversations.  Allen Bradford is a shining example of character and class.  Just see for yourself...





4 Comments

I'm really starting to miss Pete. All we can look forward to next year is the constant Kiffen criticism and the downfall of Matt Barkley 5 games into the season.

Lane Kiffin is a class act who with the other coaches will rebuilt the program to past glories. We can not imagine the many obstacles thrown in his way these past months. Those challenges will make him a better coach and person. His patience and self control are admirable. I'm pleased to see his humor slowing creeping into his public persona. Support him. Fight on!

The schedules I got of the bus are constantly wrong with the 1 I can see within the bus stations. Made me had to wait inside the stations for hours.

Even if you have never worked in hospitality, with the right attitude and abilities, you are able to embark on a rewarding career.

Leave a comment