Was there anything encouraging to take from this week's performance? Are the Trojans improving in any particular areas?
Trevor Wong, Conquest Chronicles: As a team, there wasn't anything particularly encouraging. The same old stuff the Trojans needed to fix was clearly problematic all game long. Individually, it was, of course, the play of Marqise Lee with his 345 receiving yards and two touchdowns. From the beginning of the season until now, I haven't seen notable improvement in any particular areas. Eight games into the season, the team should be getting better each week. There have been some bright spots from week to week, but collectively, the team hasn't made much progress. USC has yet to beat a team with a winning record yet, which says a lot considering they do have six wins.
Michael Castillo, Reign Of Troy: Matt Barkley appears to finally be able to throw the deep ball effectively, which is something he did so well last year down the stretch. He hit Lee for a couple of 50-yard bombs that weren't just a bunch of YAC yards, although Lee's legs surely allowed Barkley to set the single game passing record. If the Trojans can keep improving in the passing game and if Barkley can pickup defenders as defenders and not receivers, USC has a chance to win out because the passing attack is so talented. But again, it comes down to Barkley not making mistakes and Lane Kiffin calling the passing game effectively and not shying away from it like he did against Arizona. That's a lot to ask for.
Josh Webb, Reign Of Troy: USC's performance against Arizona was not the awful, awful scenario people are creating in the media. First, the Trojans moved the ball with relative easy. Now, I realize that the majority of that offense came from one man, but that's also his job. Lee was brought to USC and given the attention he has been given because he is supposed to do exactly what he did. Now, USC can't count on 300+ yards a game from a wide receiver. That would be ridiculous. They should be able to count on Lee & Woods being able to create plays once they have the ball in their hands.
Additionally, penalties and discipline are all correctable things. Nothing that's happened to USC in 2012, other than injuries, is an impossible fix. I'm not going to sit here and complain about every, little thing the Trojans have done. The majority of complaints that I have seen are often rooted in how people viewed the Trojans should function as a team. Their own preconceived notions of what a USC team should and shouldn't be doing, if you will. Discipline and execution are fixable. This team certainly possesses the talent & abilities to win out the rest of their games.