Kevin O'Neill and his Trojans held a two-hour practice lasting past 10 p.m. Monday night in an attempt to switch things up after a disappointing effort in Saturday's loss to Arizona.
It looked like it worked, with the team appearing a lot more energized than usual and O'Neill appearing a lot more pleased. The practice also served to get USC acclimated to Wednesday's late start (8 p.m.) at UCLA. The team usually begins practice in the 8 o'clock hour on Monday mornings to accommodate class schedules and the like.
Forced to work with only two days of practice in between games this week, O'Neill split up offensive and defensive issues. Monday, the team studied film of their defensive mistakes against the Wildcats -- and there were a lot of them, O'Neill said -- and worked to fix those. Tuesday, the team will watch what went wrong on offense and focus on that in a 3 p.m. practice.
So what did go wrong against Derrick Williams, Lamont 'Momo' Jones and Arizona? The Trojans simply didn't make the necessary rotations to defend against the Wildcats' fast-moving offense. When they didn't make them, Arizona scored, almost without fail. When they did make them, Arizona didn't score, almost without fail.
Easy enough, I suppose. UCLA struggled very similarly against Arizona two days earlier, and the Bruins don't have a Williams-type scorer. It's important to note that the Trojans weren't great on offense in the first meeting between USC and UCLA last month and won primarily because they held UCLA to a season-low in points.
That means the Trojans will need a top-notch defensive performance Wednesday -- not one of the Arizona variety. We'll have a report from Tuesday's practice and a preview in advance of Wednesday's game.