MINNEAPOLIS -- A week ago, following USC's disappointing 17-14 win over Virginia at the Coliseum, running back Marc Tyler was very candid in saying what he thought were the reasons behind the Trojans' relative demise against the visiting Cavaliers.
"We were real tense," Tyler said. "Guys were out there playing too tight. And sometimes we got out of it, then we'd go right back to being tight."
In other words, the Trojans were nervous. And as soon as they came out and had an ugly three-and-out to begin the game, that got even worse.
Plus, there's the whole fact that USC didn't practice well all week prior to that game.
"As an offense, I don't feel like we did," Tyler said last Saturday. "I mean, Coach [Lane Kiffin] said it after the game. We didn't really practice as well this week as we should have."
So, what about this week?
First, a solid first drive could propel USC to a much better offensive performance against the Gophers, but there's still the matter of the week of practice leading up to the game.
It didn't look much better this time around, but I asked Tyler after Thursday's abbreviated practice if he felt the team had a better week.
"We did pretty good," he said said. "Obviously we had a lot of turnovers [Thursday], but Stanley [Havili] called us up together at the end and we all got in there.
"The offense is gonna be ready."
We'll see what that means come 12:30 PST here at TCF Bank Stadium. Follow the CoveritLive on the USC Blog for live updates, and check back after the game for postgame thoughts.
In the meantime, see what else Tyler had to say after practice on Thursday, including his comments on his personal preparation: