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Injuries Will Make for Rough Debut for Ed Orgeron and USC Trojans





As Ed Orgeron steps in as the interim head coach of the USC Trojans, he’s tasked with turning around a program that came into the season with conference title aspirations. At 0-2 in conference play, however, they’ve already backed themselves into a corner and another loss against a Pac 12 opponent could spell doom for USC’s chances of winning the Pac 12 South this season. That puts the pressure on Orgeron to be perfect down the stretch which would be a difficult task under normal circumstances.

Orgeron’s challenge gets started on Thursday night against the Arizona Wildcats. Last season, the Wildcats beat USC in a wild shootout in Tucson and sent the Trojans into a tailspin as the team lost four of their next five games. That’s not a performance USC would like to see repeated this season and Orgeron will be using all the tricks in his arsenal to get the Trojans’ playing their best for this one.

Making things even more difficult, however, will be the absence of his best receiver, Marqise Lee, and best defensive player, Morgan Breslin. Lee remains doubtful for the game following a sprained knee suffered in the loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils that got Lane Kiffin fired. Breslin has been battling injuries all season, missing chunks of two games already with a hip injury, but has been one of the most productive pass rushers in the Pac 12 with four sacks.

Without his offensive and defensive leaders on the field, Orgeron is going to have to get some major production from elsewhere on the roster. Perhaps the offense features Tre Madden and the running game a bit more or maybe Nelson Agholor finally breaks a game open. Defensively, USC has to contain the explosive Arizona running game led by Ka’Deem Carey by controlling the line of scrimmage and forcing B.J. Denker to beat them with his arm.

Taking over a team that is reeling after two confidence-draining losses is a difficult task to begin with. For Ed Orgeron to do it with the injuries plaguing the USC roster, though, is going to make for a rough debut in the Coliseum on Thursday.

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How Much Damage did Lane Kiffin do to USC Trojans?





The Lane Kiffin era has finally come to an end as the USC Trojans have parted ways with the embattled head coach following a disastrous trip to Tempe. For many, the move was long overdue as the USC program has been on a downward trend under Kiffin for years and the Trojans have fallen into the middle of the pack in terms of the Pac 12 conference. For a team with the tradition and talent of the Trojans, this eventually became unacceptable. But how quickly can USC repair the damage done by Kiffin?

The good news is that many of the wounds inflicted by Kiffin appear to be cosmetic. At its core, USC is still one of the best jobs in college football with great facilities, excellent recruiting bases and a roster that is chock full of elite talent. There are depth issues across the board, however, as Kiffin focused on the flashy recruits that boosted his class rankings but wasn’t able to fill out the team with much needed grinders, particularly in the trenches. Part of that problem was the scholarship limits placed on the school by NCAA sanctions but those should become less of an issue for the next head coach.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the transition won’t be rough. It’s going to take some time to replenish the ranks and fill out the depth of the roster again, so whoever takes over at USC will need to be ready to take some lumps early. The rest of the Pac 12 has gotten stronger as USC has slipped during the reign of Kiffin and the next head coach will have some ground to make up. They’ll likely have to do it without the services of All-American wide receiver Marqise Lee as well, who is more than likely gone to the NFL after this season.

But the cupboard is far from bare at USC. There is talent up and down the roster that should be the foundation for one of the best teams in the Pac 12 right now. Lane Kiffin couldn’t handle this roster or the job of head coach of the Trojans and mismanaged them into a free-fall over the last two seasons. Luckily for Trojans’ fans and whoever steps in as the next head coach of the team, his negligence at the helm won’t keep the Trojans down for long.

You can follow me on Twitter @Teeblerone, on Facebook and on Google

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Tre Madden Major Bright Spot in Dismal Offensive Start for USC Trojans

This isn’t the USC Trojans that people expected to see. With a returning Biletnikoff Award winner in Marqise Lee and highly touted quarterbacks vying for the starting job, USC was expected to be an offensive machine in 2013. That has been far from the case through four games with the passing game stunted and scoring proving to be difficult for this USC squad. Lane Kiffin does have one thing to like about his offense, however, and that’s the play of running back Tre Madden.

In the first four games of the season, Madden has accounted for 38.5 percent of the entire USC offensive production. He’s carried the ball in the absence of Silas Redd 90 times, averaging 5.1 yards per carry for 455 yards and a pair of touchdowns. On top of that, he’s shown he can be a weapon in the passing game as well, catching nine passes for 69 yards with a touchdown. The sophomore saw an opportunity this fall and has kicked the door down while taking it.

Madden made his case for the starting running back job almost immediately this season when he carried the ball 18 times for 108 yards in the season opener against the Hawaii Warriors. It was the first game action Madden had seen since coming to USC and he proved it wasn’t a fluke in the very next game when he constituted most of the Trojans offense against the Washington State Cougars. He finished the day with 151 yards (of USC’s 193 total yards on the day) on 32 carries.

Even on Saturday, when the Utah State Aggies played him tough, Madden showed he can be a grinder. While being held to just 3.9 yards per carry with a long of 13 yards, Madden showed patience and kept pounding away, finishing the day with 93 yards and a touchdown. He has a combination of flash and substance that is making him a very compelling candidate to be the every down back the rest of the way, even after Redd returns from injury.

While the USC offense as a whole has been a major disappointment so far this season, Tre Madden is showing that he is a legitimate star out of the backfield. Will he be able to spark the rest of the offense to get to his level or will he continue to be a one-man wrecking crew all season long?

You can follow me on Twitter @Teeblerone, on Facebook and on Google

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