Whoa! That was fast! One loss and suddenly Steve Sarkisian is already defending his dual role of being playcaller/head coach.
“I have a firm belief in my own capability to execute those duties, as the head coach and the playcaller,” Sarkisian said. “I’ve had worse games than scoring 31 points..”
If Sarkisian needs to give up playcalling, what should defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox do? Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been critical of the conservative playcalling and poor usage of Juju Smith and Adoree Jackson.
I also favored bigger-named candidates to replace Lane Kiffin. But USC hired Sarkisian and part of his package was calling plays. So it’s a little too early to go to panic stations.
Now that USC lost to Boston College, the latest line is that it does not affect winning the Pac-12 South or ultimately, the Pac-12 title. Do I think USC can win the Pac-12 South? Yes.
But the loss to Boston College does make it less likely because it exposed shortcomings that may or may not be fixed. Good teams find ways to win games. USC did that against Stanford. But it reverted to the Kiffin era against BC.
That means it might lay another egg. Which means it can still win the Pac-12 South but people should not be acting like it’s simply time to move on and not worry about nonconference games.
The 2015 schedule includes a tough stretch where USC hosts Stanford (Sept. 19), goes to Arizona State (Sept. 26), hosts Washington (Thursday, Oct. 8) and then travels to Notre Dame (Oct. 17).
But a challenging portion of the schedule is the least that can happen when you look at that embarrassing start hosting Arkansas State and Idaho. Those teams are a combined 1-4 right now with the victory over Montana State.
Just how those games prepares USC for the rest of the year is debatable. One cupcake is OK but two? I’ve heard some fans suddenly pump up Boston College this week into a powerhouse. Well, they should be thrilled to see USC at 2-0 next year.
But how hard will it be to make the adjustment to Stanford and Arizona State right after that?
USC’s got a pretty experienced defense with Leonard Williams, Antwaun Woods, Hayes Pullard, Anthony Sarao, Su’a Cravens and Kevon Seymour. But the defense is ranked 84th in the nation today, allowing 412 yards per game.
This is surprising because USC’s played two teams (Fresno State, Boston College) that were not considered offensive juggernauts. And defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox enjoys a good reputation but he clearly was not getting his message across to the team because the players complained about communication problems.
Is it just the fact Wilcox has not coached the team more than a few games? Or something more? If you want a positive answer, do not consult a Washington fan.