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November 3, 2009

Carroll, Trojans dealing with weird week

Pete Carroll opened his weekly press conference by saying what everyone who follows USC football was thinking.

"This is an unusual week."

Coming off of the worst loss for USC in 12 years, you could reasonably expect the team to be in a state of dysfunction. But if Saturday taught USC fans anything, the unexpected can happen at any time.

While there's a weird feeling floating around inside the walls of Heritage Hall, inside the locker room and inside the players' heads, the approach is business as usual.

"It can't be any different," Jeff Byers said. "It is weird, but it's not like you take your approach any different...

"We're not going to try harder. That's not Coach Carroll's philosophy."

While it might not sound right that USC isn't planning on "trying" harder after getting viciously dismantled last Saturday in Eugene, Ore., it's really the only approach. Deviating from the plans and philosophies that have gotten USC this far would be a rash decision that could have dire consequences.

There are two potential pitfalls looming this week for the Trojans.

One, USC could do nothing and not adjust to what happened. The Trojans could stand pat with what got them this far. They could cease to evolve. Or, two, USC could panic and make widespread changes on defense. That means moving Taylor Mays to linebacker and changing to a 3-4 and switching up the defensive line rotations.

Neither of those options seems prudent. No, instead, USC should continue to make tweaks to what its doing and c0ontinue on the same path.

Granted, this was a horrific loss, but ultimately, it was just one loss.

""This is a different impact, but when you lose you lose," Carroll said. "When you get beat, you beat. If we want to get into style points and all that, it tasted a little different."

As USC prepares for Arizona State, it's important to keep the memory of that foul taste in their mouths. But, the Trojans can't let it overwhelm them as they try to move forwards in the season.

"I think it's the same, right? When you lose and you under perform, it's all about just going back to the basics," Byers said. "You play football because it's fun. You love to go out, run around and hit people. That's what we've got to remember."

Certainly, USC wasn't having much fun last Saturday. And if the Trojans want to get back on the right side of celebrations, their attitude during this "unusual week" will be the key.



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