This is such a weird season I forgot to bring back this list for the first three games. It doesn’t matter because the things to fix never seem to change for USC.
1.) Stay healthy
USC officials are optimistic they will play this week. They just need to avoid positive COVID-19 tests. Or false positives. Or false negatives. And the same goes for Washington State
2.) Fix Kedon Slovis
I think the coaches know Kedon Slovis has a problem . . . and know there’s not much they can do about it in this truncated season. So the company line is nothing’s wrong for another month.
3.) Pick a running back
This tailback-by-committee approach is great for keeping the backs fresh. But when does anyone develop a rhythm? The answer is never. Do tailback recruits notice this?
4.) Blitz less
I like an aggressive defense as much as anyone. But Todd Orlando has two modes: Blitz and blitz more. That’s great vs. Arizona and Utah. But what if you play a good team? USC won’t have to worry about that.
5.) Re-discover Drake London
We all know Drake London is a great prospect and most athletic receiver on the team. So throw him the ball! He has seven receptions in the past two games. When I watch USC, I feel like they want some certain receivers to get their catches even if it is at the expense of others.
6.) Improve on third down
The Air Raid is so great that USC is 10 for 26 on third down the past two games. That’s a whopping 38 percent. Remember that when some TV analyst tells you Slovis is completing 71 percent of his passes.
7.) Watch out for the forward pass
Utah had not mastered the art of completing a forward pass two weeks ago, which explained why USC suddenly stopped getting pass interference penalties. Presumably, Washington State won’t have the same problem.
8.) Remember you are the show
The Pac-12 media-industrial complex told me me how wonderful it was that USC played a 9 a.m. game. And then a coveted Fox daytime slot vs. Arizona. But it doesn’t help if you look sloppy in those games.
USC will be the only college football in the country Sunday afternoon (I think), so make sure the product is good so you don’t drop again in the CFP rankings.
9.) Don’t get outcoached
Hey, this isn’t easy. Washington State has an array of three-star players but Nick Rolovich will probably get more out of his team than Clay Helton unless COVID-19 hits the roster again. I mean look what Kevin Sumlin did vs. USC and what he did since?
10.) Make a good hype video
I sense a lot less bragging from the athletic dept. than was expected before the season from the much-ballyhoed hype videos. The last one, which featured The Mandalorian, was a dud for fans of that show. And they still haven’t gotten out of the hole from the first one that got deleted from the Internet.