Extra Innings: Football is survival of the fittest and USC hasn’t adapted

first_imgUSC has five games left in the 2018 season, and through the first seven games, one thing has become abundantly clear: USC does not deserve to play in a big game this year. Nearly every one of the Trojans’ wins has been a nail-biter because this USC team does not know how to adapt to any situation.As Floyd Mayweather once said, “A true champion can adapt to anything.” The USC football team is not a true champion. The best coaches are able to recognize not only what their team is doing wrong, but also identify how the opposing team is succeeding in order to respond effectively. Last week in Salt Lake City, there was a glaring lack of adequate mid-game coaching. The Trojans spent the full 60 minutes with the same offensive approach they entered the game with. Utah’s defense is well-coached, and like any well-coached defense, they anticipated USC’s offensive approach and were ready to adapt to any game-time changes.“Tonight was a night where another team again comes in and totally changes their character to defeat what they felt was the strength of our offense,” offensive coordinator Tee Martin said after the Utah game.It was extremely frustrating to hear the responses from the USC coaching staff following the Utah game as a sports journalist. I thought to myself, “How do you not change your game plan when you realize it isn’t working?”  “I thought they did a nice job with their defensive front, played a lot more cover two than I thought they would play tonight,” head coach Clay Helton said. “Their front played extremely well tonight. We did not run the ball to our capability and that’s on me.” Also take Martin’s roundabout response to my question regarding the failure to convert on third down.“We weren’t converting,” Martin said. “Different things, I have to look at the tape.”Reviewing film is important because a lot is missed in the action of the game. However, that excuse is quickly getting old. The USC coaching staff needs to learn to adapt mid-game. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results.If the coaching staff doesn’t start making mid-game changes soon, I will be compelled to officially deem this coaching staff insane because every game, the same offensive scheme is run play after play, after play.It is absolutely ridiculous that it is still probable, let alone possible, for the Trojans to make a Pac-12 Championship because they definitely don’t deserve to play in a big game. My projection: USC is going to be able to beat the final four Pac-12 teams they play, ending with a 7-2 conference record, while Utah will lose a conference game to either Colorado or Oregon, which will grant USC sole control of the Pac-12 South.USC is most likely going to play at Levi’s Stadium at the end of November. When they do, they will be demolished by the superior competition from the North. None of USC’s Pac-12 victories have been convincing. If there had been an extra 15 minutes of play in each of USC’s wins, I would predict that USC would hold an 0-5 Pac-12 record — a testament to the teams inability to adapt. The Trojans are very fortunate that the remainder of their conference schedule features three teams with losing records because right now I have less than zero trust in the USC coaching staff to beat any team that knows how to adapt to an opponent’s strengths. Sam Arslanian is a sophomore majoring in journalism. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Extra Innings,” runs Fridays.last_img

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