A Big Helping Of Culture Change
Looking back at the history of USC Trojan football one thing stood out about the great runs the program experienced. Their culture was never questioned. We witnessed their culture every Saturday and during the press conferences, we heard it when the head coach spoke. The culture was physical football and weekly competition to get on the grass or turf come game day. No one talked about it because we all saw it. It wasn't something you had to ask about and those who played the Trojans under those coaches, McKay, Robinson, and Carroll to name a few came into those games knowing they were in for a physical beating.
The past 9 years have had the topic of what's wrong with the culture at USC more often than at any other time. From the fans to the media and players there just wasn't that feeling of competitive football and the need to earn your starting job each week. Just show up and you were going to play. More like the old AYSO soccer league of yesteryear where everyone who signed up got. a participation trophy. The past nine years provided an example of what happens when you hire someone who will be building that airplane in flight. No clue about how to manage a blue blood program or how to take it to the next level. But we all heard him every year talk about how close the program was to the playoff run.
The move that Mike Bohn made as AD in 2021 to rid the program of Helton was step one. It was long overdue but it was done. Hiring a top-flight winner in Lincoln Riley who had won 55 games in five years with Oklahoma was just step one. The attraction of key staff that Riley trusted was step two and then the games began with the Transfer Portal and a sharp albeit small 2022 recruiting class with top-notch talent. Good players attract good players and now have the right head coach who creates that law of attraction to the program and school is a big step n the right direction.
The culture will take time to move the needle. The culture will be tested in the media and with the fan base. There will be anxious moments throughout 2022 and beyond. What this program delivers each week will begin to right the ship and get this team back in the discussion but that's all it will be for the first two years. It's not an overnight switch. There will be many in the media who will try to bring it all down and talk about how it's failing when early results are not there. But lean in and watch as this staff begins to get the right stuff ready for gameday.