Every program over time has had its runs. Every program will look invincible at times and then suddenly go skidding to the cheap seat where the media chooses to embarrass the program with the negativity of a program in a death spiral. Bad news sells when an elite high-performance program is not performing at the highest of levels and meets all expectations. We all witnessed this following the great run of Pete Carroll and then the Lane, Steve, and eventually the Clay clown show. In all honesty, I do believe that Lane and Steve were not ready for this level of the game. They are getting there now and with Lane, I would say he is there and has turned his coaching career into a strong position. The jury is still out on Steve. With Clay, it was a clown show. The alumni gave him and his staff the goodbye sign and watched the administration do nothing and seemingly not care about the years gone by for football at USC.
Then along came Riley. Strong been there done that coaching record. A coach who has been to the mountain and has been under the type of pressure that a Notre Dame, USC, Ohio State, Texas, Alabama, etc desire to lead their program back to the top. It doesn't happen overnight as we all know. But the first and probably critical path to getting there is exactly what we hear from Coach Riley over and over again. Stop the talent leaving California today. Stop it and show them a reason to stay home. Allow their friends and family to go to every game without having to travel. There is a message there and family is key.
USC is clearly turning the corner from the disaster of Pat Haden's decision to upgrade the program by being lazy and choosing a resume that was convenient at a time the school was under siege from the media and recovering through the weight of the NCAA decisions that froze the ability to compete. The past week we watched the LA Rams win the Super Bowl and several USC Trojans were supporting not just the LA Rams but the USC Football program. In the public eye. This is turning the corner. It's still a work in progress as the roster is not where it needs to be and is reliant on the Transfer Portal which is no guarantee of success but my oh my have the visits changed for Heritage Hall out of towners and local families kicking the tires and seeing for themselves that this program is serious.
Turning the corner is not just the hiring of Coach Riley. We never would have seen Lincoln Riley getting off a private jet signing his contract to leave a blue blood program for USC. It took the hiring of AD Bohn to begin the real work and break it apart and hire the right leadership to be inclusive to the commitment to success with Football. AD Bohn is the key to all of this and his chief of staff, Sosna has been an amazing addition to the one-two punch when it comes to Strategizing and Executing the future of the program. The combination of both of their talents has been visible from their arrival. Early on they took enormous heat for not immediately removing Helton but they stayed the course under all of that heat to then do what is probably the hardest thing you can do and fire a sitting head coach taken out in the first three weeks of a season. They did exactly this and never looked back. Never apologized. Then quietly began the internal process of defining who they wanted to do what hadn't been done in 10 years. Compete at the highest level of college football today.
While Camelot feels like it is setting in on Heritage Hall there will be bumps. Relying on the Transfer Portal is very risky. It can work against you as well as for you as it's 24 hours a day on constant alert. Will they get the offensive and defensive lines built with quality depth? Will the develop the incoming and current rostered players with that next level of physicality and the honing of their skills to allow them to win every Saturday or Friday if you follow the PAC-12.
The next few months will be exciting. Time will tell. All of Norman Oklahoma can't let go and have become the rising followers of USC Football.
Fight On Trojan Family