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USC Trojans return to work against Arizona

We chat with Conquest Chronicles to learn more about the Trojans on the recruiting side and what to look for as they take the field against Arizona.

Christian Petersen

If you were USC, where would your focus be on the recruiting front to help improve the Wildcats?

Michael Luca, Conquest Chronicles: I would extend pipelines to Canada and Mexico...unless this was a typo intended to mean "improve the Trojans". If that's the case, then the quality of our scholarship recipients isn't the problem. It is the quantity, so have Pat Haden continue to nag the NCAA until sanctions are miraculously reduced or until they eat him. Though not an excuse, the lessened depth due to injury is one of our major concerns. That being said, we need our next USC quarterback, even if he is currently in Canada or Mexico.

Will Laws, Conquest Chronicles: This season, USC fans have learned about the importance of a formidable O-line. USC's inexperienced front, which was led by standouts like Matt Kalil and Khaled Holmes the past few years, has struggled to protect whichever quarterback drops back in the pocket. Stanford essentially built a program by recruiting the best offensive lineman (and Andrew Luck). The Trojans will get their usual slew of skill players from SoCal, but they need to get a few linemen with the potential to fill out and overpower Pac-12 defensive fronts.

What are the keys to victory against Arizona? How do the Trojans pull off a win in what figures to be an emotional environment in Los Angeles?

Michael Luca, Conquest Chronicles: The same intangible keys to victory that should be stressed every single week: have fun! Ignore the names of coaches, players, and ancestry. Just play football regardless of expectations or media cooler talk. Simplify the game plan since we essentially have nothing left to lose this season. Run the ball, taking advantage of Silas Redd's return in addition to the stellar performances of the younger backs thus far. Conversely, air the ball out to the ghosts of our remaining receiving corp - why the hell not?! Eradicate surrendering 62 points from our scarred memories and remember how this defense confidently (though not arrogantly) hadn't given in to any opposing offense's scheme and merely attacked from the 5-2. Above all, feed off of the emotional environment, as there is still a home-field advantage to boast about from the Coliseum, especially on a Thursday evening that is providing students with an reason to skip class Monday-Wednesday.

Will Laws, Conquest Chronicles: With a Thursday night kickoff possibly causing a lackluster Coliseum, USC will have to come out of the gates strong against Arizona to keep the Trojan faithful positively involved. If Arizona jumps out to a double-digit lead before the end of the first quarter, things could get ugly quickly. USC should give a healthy dose of touches to Nelson Agholor, who has all the skills to break out against the Wildcats as Marqise Lee did a season ago. But with Lee likely sidelined and Justin Davis nursing a sprained ankle, the Trojans will truly have to rely on Tre Madden to act as a workhorse once again.