Trojans only missing leadership

first_imgLeader of the Pac · Sophomore wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Pac-12’s leading receiver, had eight catches for 143 yards against Utah. – Tal Volk | Daily TrojanUSC is the most frustrating football team in the country. Saturday’s dominant win against Utah further reinforced that notion. A 42-24 blowout over the No. 3 team in the country shows just how good the Trojans are but is also a painful reminder of what could have been.USC left everything out on the field on Saturday, and everyone played to his potential. This was a huge contrast to the last time the Trojans were in the Coliseum when they suffered a loss to unranked Washington.These two games best represent the Trojans and why they’re a 4-3 team instead of the 7-0 or 6-1 team they’re capable of being. There seems to be no in-between for USC. Either everybody struggles and commits a handful of mistakes, or the team as a whole plays each position flawlessly and is capable of beating nearly any team in the country.Against Washington, senior quarterback Cody Kessler, who is typically poised and controlled, threw two interceptions and no touchdowns. The blame can’t be placed entirely on Kessler, however, as all seven of his receivers, including Pac-12 leader sophomore JuJu Smith-Schuster, combined for a total of only 156 yards.The run game seemed to be the only thing that Washington couldn’t stop, but the stalled offense reached all the way up to the coaches, as the play-calling kept revolving around passing, despite the fact that Kessler had been picked off multiple times, and the rushing game looked unstoppable.Against Utah, it seemed the Trojans could do no wrong. Kessler threw for a touchdown and even kept the ball on a fourth down to dive into the end zone. Smith-Schuster had a phenomenal game, tallying 143 yards and a touchdown, not to mention a stiff arm that electrified the Coliseum as he picked up more yards after the catch.The defense looked strong through all four quarters, something it has struggled to do this season. Freshman linebacker Cam Smith picked off Utah quarterback Travis Wilson three times, the most interceptions by a USC player since 1991. From the first score of the game, there was nothing the No. 3 Utes could do to stop the Trojans.In the losses to Stanford and Notre Dame, the Trojans were certainly outplayed. The Cardinal and the Irish were the better teams that night. I don’t think Stanford or even Notre Dame has more talent than USC, however. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a roster with more talent than USC’s.So if the problem is not a shortage of talent, it has to be tied back to leadership. The only thing standing between USC and a national title is a solid head coach.Interim head coach Clay Helton has obviously revitalized the Trojans after a sluggish start to the season under former head coach Steve Sarkisian and has said he hopes to be the next head coach at USC. However, Athletic Director Pat Haden’s job is likely riding on the next coaching hire, and Helton might not be a big enough name to satisfy Haden’s critics. Helton would likely have to win out in dramatic style to earn the job.Kyle Whittingham, Mark Dantonio and Kevin Sumlin are all names that keep coming up, but whoever Haden gives the reins to is the only thing stopping USC from winning a national title.Regan Estes is a junior majoring in public relations and Spanish. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Wild Wild Westes,” runs Tuesdays.last_img

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