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Wolf: Here are 10 things USC needs to fix to beat Stanford

By in Press Enterprise on November 30, 2017

By Scott Wolf

USC did not play a game last week so it had extra time to prepare for Stanford and address its shortcomings against UCLA.

The easy part was identifying the problems because the Trojans made enough mistakes that fans refrained from cheering when the UCLA game ended. So here are 10 things for USC to fix against the Cardinal:

1. Ignore distractions: Here it is the week of the Pac-12 title game and what is a popular topic around the program? Whether there will be changes to the coaching staff after the season. And this refers to forced changes, not coaches getting hired at other schools.

Will it affect the coaches’ mindset at the game?

2. Pray for the cornerbacks: Perhaps the week off allowed cornerback Jack Jones time to reflect on a rough November. Iman Marshall returned from an injury to play against UCLA. He escaped scrutiny because Jones gave up two touchdowns and a 41-yard completion.

David Shaw obviously wants to rely on Heisman Trophy candidate Bryce Love, but he has to see if quarterback K.J. Costello can burn a USC secondary that seemed in a free fall before getting a bye.

Some of it also appears to be coaching. “It looks like they are changing their technique on every play,” said a Pac-12 assistant coach, who did not wish to be identified.

Not having a consistent philosophy certainly makes things tougher.

3. Don’t get a delay of game penalty on a punt: USC finds all kinds of ways to commit penalties but against UCLA it got a delay of game on a punt. The only explanation is being disorganized.

4. Make sure the offensive line plays like it did in the first Stanford game: The high point of the season for the offensive line occurred in Game 2. That is quite an indictment today, but if USC […]    

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