1.) Coach better
This might seem like a joke. But USC needs to up its game from the sideline. It would be stunning to hear USC had the dreaded “ocho package” for wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and failed to get him the ball, but remember a couple years ago how the USC coaches were unable to get the ball to JuJu Smith-Schuster against Alabama (and quite a few other teams)?
Where is Plan B to combat this?
2.) Protect the quarterback
The way JT Daniels hates to get hit and locks on to a wide receiver, he needs all the time he can get. Texas will blitz after watching the Stanford game.
Can offensive line coach Neil Callaway come up with something to improve the pass protection? Probably not.
3.) Find the athletic director
Is Lynn Swann just a figurehead?
The football program needs supervision and his only move is to give new contracts to Clay Helton, Tee Martin and Clancy Pendergast. Was that Swann’s doing or was he ordered to do it? It’s tough to tell what he is doing.
4.) Commit to the run
USC moved the ball against Stanford but never just pounded the Stanford defense since it seems in love with Daniels passing the ball.
5.) Commit to a running back
Everyone thinks Stephen Carr is the best tailback on the team and he gets 10 carries a game. How does he get a rhythm when he plays a series then goes to the bench for two series. And why doesn’t USC throw to him? Remember how he made the big reception to beat Stanford last season? USC coaches apparently forgot.
6.) Stop shuffling the secondary
Talanoa Hufanga and C.J. Pollard will rotate at safety to replace the injured Isaiah Pola-Mao. Before that, Bubba Bolden and Ykili Ross were playing safety. That means Marvell Tell has had five guys play opposite him at safety.
At cornerback, Greg Johnson and Isaiah Langley split time. The secondary needs to be cohesive unit and it does not help with constant shuffling.
7.) Wake up the bench
Several people told me the USC sideline was dead during the Stanford game. Were the Trojans shell-shocked? Wondering where Sam Darnold was? Looking for some fire from Clay Helton?
Whatever the reason, Texas will be about 100 times louder than Stanford Stadium and if USC shows up without any energy, it could get ugly
8.) Pressure the quarterback
USC doesn’t protect Daniels or rush the opposing quarterback well. K.J. Costello looked like he had all day to pass last week. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger isn’t the greatest quarterback but he will look better if there is no pass rush.
9.) Receivers must get better
Tight end Tyler Petite dropped passes while wide receivers Tyler Vaughns and Michael Pittman do not look anything like last year at the moment. What happened to tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe? If his hip still bothers him, USC should send him to a new doctor.
10.) Stars need to shine
If we learned one thing from the Helton Era, it is that individual performances must overcome poor coaching.
So that means Porter Gustin needs to make more plays. Ditto Cameron Smith and Marvell Tell. That just covers the defense. I don’t have the patience to mention the offense.