Besieged USC football team finds hard-to-find answers – San Bernardino Sun

Donte Williams wanted some time to assess. The interim USC head coach felt like he figured out what was wrong with the Trojans’ 31-16 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday, but wanted to watch the movie to make sure the players made the same mistakes as in previous weeks, or schematic mistakes of the coaches.

After examining the tape, it turns out it was a combination of the two, which has really been the story of USC Season 3-4 to date.

There were some self-inflicted errors, like the nine penalties that gave Notre Dame four first downs on Saturday. Williams has given some of the young players on the squad a bit of slack for this, noting that some of the mistakes may come from not being strong enough yet or not catching up to the speed of the game. .

But there are also those Williams described as “repeat offenders.” He didn’t name any names, but think of the false starts of offensive lineman Jalen McKenzie, or the trio of costly Xavion Alford safety penalties against the Irish.

“Got a guy who bites about once, you better believe he’s going to bite your hand again.” They are repeat offenders, ”said Williams. “So we have to find someone else to go out there to do these things.”

But there are also the training shortcomings, which don’t put USC in a position to succeed or prepare them for the best team on their calendar.

When asked on Saturday night why his team made so many costly mistakes with an extra week to prepare for this game, Williams said more time to prepare does not necessarily mean a team will play football. cleaner.

But during his Sunday Zoom call with reports, Williams was asked why Notre Dame’s mid-offense is able to muster four discs of 70 yards or more.

“The reason Notre Dame probably didn’t have some of these readers [in previous weeks] it’s because they have a young offensive line, ”Williams began. “And you give them two extra weeks to prepare for an opponent, because they were goodbye as well. So their guys got into a bit of a groove as well. “

As to where USC will go next with five games to play this year, that remains to be seen. A 0-7 home game against Arizona should be an easy way for the Trojans back to the winning column, but it won’t solve everything that plagues this team.

Williams has talked about removing some of those repeat offenders from the rotation and giving other guys a chance to prove they can do a better job. It’s a good idea, but given the lack of depth and experience of this team, it could backfire on us.

So where the answers come from as USC tries to find a path to three more wins and bowl eligibility remains to be seen. But despite the obvious frustration, the team did not turn on each other.

“I trust these guys, these guys are my brothers so I think I wouldn’t want to be in the trenches or in that situation with someone else,” quarterback Kedon Slovis said. I have a lot of confidence, it did not go that far but we will find it.


Nickel full-back Greg Johnson did not dress to play against Notre Dame due to a knee injury he suffered, Williams said at his press conference on Sunday.

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