Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor
Today was all about letting loose and having a little fun as interim head coach Ed Orgeron implemented the first annual Trojan Bowl, a scrimmage involving the walk-on players and redshirt freshman coached by team leaders Cody Kessler and Devon Kennard.
- After a long week, the main focus of today's Trojan Bowl was to let some of the younger guys get reps while the entire team blew off some steam on the last day of the bye week. Elected defensive head coach Devon Kennard said, "It's the only opportunity we have all season to do something like this and it just refreshes everybody's spirits. Tomorrow, we will have a fresh mind and be ready to go."
- The bye week has proven to be exactly what the team needed as it has allowed the team the opportunity to "step back and look at what this year has really been like so far" according to Kennard. He said, "We're really emphasizing that this is a new start, a new season for us. Our goal is to go 8-0 but you've got to take it one game at a time and that starts with [Arizona] Thursday."
- Now that the defense has had some time to reflect on Saturday's game against Arizona State, they were all frustrated with their performance. Kennard said the defense will be "playing with a chip on their shoulder" against Arizona while Hayes Pullard credited Saturday's poor performance to minor mistakes. He added, "We played a great offense and if you make a minor mistake, they will take advantage of it and that's what they did."
- News came out today that USC offered a coaching job to ex-Cal coach Jeff Tedford as an offensive consultant and recruiter. Coach O confirmed this report saying, "I did call him to see if he was interested at some capacity. He was very complimentary of USC and very supportive of what we wanted to do but he just had other things he had in mind. I did not call anyone else."
- Coach O has been very impressed with the team leaders like senior Devon Kennard saying, "The leadership has been great...They are walking around like they want to be here and I think they are really talking to the younger guys saying this is our season. They control their own destiny."
- Devon Kennard and the rest of the defensive line are equally as impressed with Coach O's performance as interim head coach. Kennard spoke of Coach O's coaching style saying, "For us D-linemen it's nothing new. It's the same energy and same stuff we bring every day. It's just crazy to see it on a whole team scale...At out practice yesterday he was yelling at some of the offensive guys and they were responding really well because they weren't used to having him in the offensive huddle yelling at them."
- Next Thursday marks the first Thursday night game in the history of the Coliseum as the Trojans face the Arizona Wildcats. Coach O said, "My stomach's going to be turning but I hope that I coach with a lot of confidence."
- In terms of preparation, he said they are focusing on "doing the right things, playing like we say we are going to play, taking care of the ball, being physical, playing good defense, and playing as a team." He added, "We need to put it all together. I want these guys to feel good about themselves."
- Finally, when asked about whether the lack of depth and amount of injuries will impact the physicality of the game, Coach O emphatically responded, "Not at all."
Here is head coach Ed Orgeron after today's first annual Trojan Bowl...